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15 May

From the Archives: History of Creighton House

1936: Establishment of Creighton House

Shortly after his arrival at King’s, Longworth Allen Wilding (HM 1936-1940) divided the school’s Day Boys into two houses, primarily to allow House Matches to be played early in the season.  These two houses were named after Wilding’s predecessors, Chappel and Creighton.  For the first three years, King’s Second Master F.B. Thomas housemastered both houses.  In January 1937 they were made separate entities with their own house colours: Chappel House retained the yellow of the old Day Boys’ house; while Creighton adopted pink as their colour.

Creighton House was named after Mr. Wilding’s immediate predecessor, Cuthbert Creighton (HM 1919-1936 and 1940-1942).  Upon its re-establishment in 1940 (there being no capacity to move dayboys to Criccieth), Creighton House was mastered by B.B. Ward for the remainder of the war.  Creighton House spent its first twenty-five years at Number 9 College Green; like Chappel House, it then moved to the New Block (now the Annett Building) in 1961, its home for forty years.  After a quick sojourn to Castle House, 2001-2003, it moved again to be alongside Chappel in School House, 2003-2009.  In 2009 Creighton was relocated for a final time to Choir House.

Cuthbert Creighton was born on 26 July 1876.  Much of his childhood had been passed in Worcester as his father, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough and then of London, had been a Canon of Worcester Cathedral 1885-1891.  As a boy, Cuthbert Creighton had been present at the re-opening of College Hall in 1887 after its restoration.  Like his two predecessors, Mr. Creighton attended Marlborough College, and he had for a short time been a pupil there of Canon Chappel.  He took his degree from Emmanuel College, Cambridge and then spent some time studying modern languages abroad.  In 1899 Mr. Creighton was appointed to teach Classics, French and Divinity at Uppingham School and was a housemaster there for some years.  He married Margaret Bruce in 1913, and the couple had a son, Tom, who was a boy of three when Mr. Creighton became Headmaster of King’s in 1919, aged 42.

Under Mr. Creighton, King’s greatly extended its teaching accommodation.  Upon his arrival in 1919, two and sometimes three forms were taught simultaneously in College Hall, an arrangement which, however natural a hundred years earlier, was an anachronism in the twentieth century.  In 1925 King’s celebrated the opening of the Chappel Memorial Reading Room and the four new classrooms in what is now the Fourth Form Block .  These buildings of 1925 constituted the largest addition to the School since the restoration of College Hall and the erection of the School House nearly half a century before.  Half the cost of the Classroom Block was met out of the newly augmented school funds, and the other half by Mr. Creighton’s personal generosity.  An extension, consisting of a Geography room and an Art room, was made to the block in 1936.

Only four years after his coming to Worcester the Head Master suffered the tragically premature death of his wife.  It was in her memory that Mr. Creighton bought from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners the remainder of the site which the Governors had bought for the School House – that is, the allotments lying between it and the river – and laid it out as a garden which he gave to the School.  The School Gardens (then called the Creighton Memorial Gardens) opened in 1931.

Following his successor’s Wilding’s return to Oxford at the end of 1939, Mr. Creighton temporarily came back to King’s in 1940, aged 63, refreshed by three years as his own master; he had been much in Italy.  In November 1941 he told the school at Prayers that he had felt able to resign; his successor would be appointed in January and would take over in April 1942.  The decision added piquancy to the Fourth Centenary Service in the Cathedral on 7 December 1941.  In 1944 Mr. Creighton lived near Marlborough, which remained his home until he died on 21 April 1963, aged 86.

Photo of Cuthbert Creighton

Cuthbert Creighton (HM 1919-1936 and 1940-1942)

Photo of 9 College Green taken in 1997

9 College Green, home of Creighton House 1936-1939 and 1940-1961

Photograph taken in 1997