The school is a member of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference and has a Christian foundation as the largest member of the Woodard Corporation, but will accept pupils of any religious background.
Founded in Jarrow in 1860, the school had moved to its present site in Tynemouth by 1865. It was originally known as Tynemouth School and provided private education for local boys. In the 1960s the name was changed to that of King’s School, and was chosen in reference to the three ancient kings buried at Tynemouth Priory: Oswin, Osred and Malcolm III. Consequently, there are many student myths as to the correct position of the apostrophe in the name (King’s, rather than Kings’).
The school expanded and grew considerably during the latter part of the twentieth century, when it began to admit girls to both the Kindergarten and the Sixth Form. The school became fully co-educational in 1996, following the initial decision in 1992.
King’s originally occupied a large house on Huntington Place (Tynemouth House) and the adjoining terraces. This was later extended with the addition of the Nicholson Building (Nicholson’s) in the 1920s, and the Ellison Block (Ellison’s) in the 1960s. Further expansion occurred in 1991 with the addition of the design, technology and art block (the Provost building.) This continued in 1999 with the addition of the Chapter Building, comprising many new classrooms, along with the lecture theatre and 700-seat King’s Hall. In 2008, the school continued its development with the addition of the Oswin’s building, which houses: a new sports hall; dance studio; drama workshop; indoor climbing centre; a music school with recording studio; a cafeteria and all-day coffee bar; new Sixth Form study centre and social space; a new library; and classrooms for English learning support, French, Spanish and PE. The building replaces the former music school, gym, changing rooms and cafeteria.
Giuseppe Garibaldi, the 19th century Italian patriot, sailed into Tynemouth on 21 March 1854 and was said to have stayed at Tynemouth House whilst in exile. During his stay, a meeting was held at the house with British political and industrial leaders and he addressed them on his plans for a unified Italy. Garibaldi’s portrait was painted on this visit and is now displayed in a museum in Sardinia. A blue plaque situated on the outside wall of the school building commemorates his visit, and the room where he is purported to have slept is named the Garibaldi Room.
by Charlie Steel © 2011
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, local historian Charlie Steel has lived almost all of his life in Monkseaton. His books “Monkseaton and Hillheads” and “Inns and Taverns of North Shields” are published by Tempus and are available in all good book shops.
All Charlie’s articles which are featured in Roundabout Monkseaton can also be found on his website www.monkseaton.info. Charlie also writes articles for Roundabout Tynemouth.
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