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School discipline

engraved image of young students playing in front of the Smirke building of King's College London shortly after it opened King's College School students at play, 1833Discipline was a problem and unusually for a school at this time it did not employ corporal punishment. The Headmaster instead vainly required boys 'not to go to evening places of amusement except with friends of their family' and instituted a nightly curfew for boys lodging with their masters.

Lessons began at 9 am and finished at 3 pm, but pupils still had plenty of time to get into mischief. National events such as the burning down of the old Palace of Westminster in 1834 and the Chartist demonstrations of April 1848 were an excuse for the suspension of classes for the day. Few appreciated the potential seriousness of the latter event.

One former pupil recalled that: 'to us schoolboys it was a picnic or bank holiday. We hugely enjoyed calling out a man servant (who was a special constable) by a sham order to quell the riot, and witnessing his premature declaration to a house maid to marry her if he came back alive'.

Eventually, declining numbers and competition from suburban schools led to the relocation of the School to its present premises in Wimbledon in 1897.

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