400th Anniversary Events
2024 marks a hugely important milestone for the Latymer Foundation – its 400th anniversary!
Our Foundation, one of the oldest in West London, has survived seventeen monarchs over 400 years, along with various political upheavals including civil war (one battle of which took place a mere mile or so from the Foundation’s classrooms), three schoolhouse relocations – and a few financial crises along the way.
The Latymer Foundation has been responsible for offering a life-changing education to thousands of local children over the centuries. Our current pupils now hail from further afield than Hammersmith, and we have grown considerably in size from educating the original eight Latymer boys, as well as in the diversity of our pupil community; but some aspects of our history have remained the same. The spirit of independent thought prevalent at the beginning of our story, and the links that tie us so strongly to our locality, are still very much alive today.
The history of our Foundation and that of Hammersmith is deeply entwined, the two entities developing and growing together over four centuries. Much of this is due to the early Latymer charity boys who became prominent members of the Hammersmith community – some even going on to become Foundation Governors and Headmasters of the School, and many sponsoring pupils – a tradition that continues with today’s Latymerians supporting current bursary pupils.
To celebrate this remarkable landmark year we’ll be producing a beautifully illustrated book charting the history of our Foundation, launching an illuminating online digital archive, and hosting an exciting year’s calendar of events for our wider community.
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating this special year – it’s not every day we turn 400!
To mark the 400th anniversary of the Latymer Foundation at Hammersmith we have produced a beautifully illustrated book chronicling the many challenges the Foundation has faced in establishing and running the schools in our founder’s name – and the colourful characters who have shaped our destiny along the way.
True to the Latymer spirit, this book has been a collective venture; Latymerians, including leading historians, along with much-loved staff members both past and present, have all contributed to writing and researching the book.
The result is an engrossing, entertaining, and sometimes surprising account, based on meticulous research from the primary sources we’re fortunate to have at our disposal in the School’s archive.
Our writers have been intrigued, in particular, by the Minutes of our Governors’ meetings, so diligently recorded from the death of our founder Edward Latymer in 1627 up to the present day.
From these wonderful early sepia-coloured chronicles we have been able to piece together the fascinating journey our Foundation has made through the past four centuries.
The intricacies and intrigues of our story unfurl across the pages of these beautiful old documents; the near bankruptcies, the absorption by the Foundation of the girls’ charity school, the expulsions and reports of unruly behaviour are all to be gleaned from these
This wonderful book has been written for all members of our community; our Latymer families, alumni and staff members, current and past – and of course for our partners and friends in Hammersmith. We hope reading about the twists and turns of our long and fascinating history is as intriguing and enjoyable as the writing of it is proving to be.
We’re thrilled to be launching the online Latymer Social Archive on 25 January 2024. This dynamic space will be created by Latymer pupils – both past and present, and will focus on school life throughout the ages.
From scanned images of our Foundation’s original Minutes book, to photos of form groups, sports teams and school trips; and from the entire series of the Latymerian magazine, to audio interviews and video content – it’s a wonderful collection of historical documents and evocative personal memorabilia. Alongside these anecdotes from former staff and students, the Latymer Social Archive carries the unabridged essays which have been contributed to our anniversary book, Latymer 400.
What makes the social archive all the more remarkable is the journey our ancient folios have made – and survived – to reach our archive; from the 17th century when they were stored in the vestry at All Saints, Fulham (site of our original church schoolroom), to St Paul’s Church in Hammersmith, and finally to their current resting place in the Upper School – via a 100-year sojourn in a basement in the Latymer Foundation School!
The names of Latymer’s ‘eight poore boyes’, along with the first Foundation Governors, can clearly be seen in the 17th-century admissions ledger – some illiterate Governors having to sign with a mark. A sad insight into the times can be found in the ‘remarks’ column by the boys names, the word ‘deceased’ bringing home the reality of childhood in a period in which many didn’t live to become teenagers.
There are many wonderful letters and anecdotes from later eras in the history of the Latymer Upper and Foundation schools which will be familiar to our current alumni. Some of the recollections of those at the School in the 1960s will also be familiar to Latymerians from the 1970s and ‘80s, a portion of whom will have shared the same teachers.
The online archive also electronic versions of all back copies of the Latymerian magazine – from the first edition in 1897, to the last, over 100 years later. These magazines are a fantastic insight into social changes and attitudes across the decades; from the patriotic optimism at the beginning of WWI to the crushing reality of the death notices four years later; from the tentative beginnings of the Gild, to the acerbic first-night reviews and, fascinatingly, the politicisation of the student editorials as we move through the latter years of the 1960s and the following decade.
The beauty of this extraordinary online archive is that it will grow and expand over the years to include more recent student stories. With the help of our Latymer community this will be an ongoing process in which, together, we will create a unique chronicle of Latymer life well beyond the 400 years we’re currently celebrating.
The Latymer Social Archive can be found here.
To contribute your own memorabilia to the Latymer Social Archive, email