History of the Foundation

Our Founder

Reed’s School Foundation was established as a charity in 1813 by the philanthropist and social reformer, Rev Dr Andrew Reed, with the aim of providing orphaned and single-parent children with support, maintenance and a good education.  Andrew Reed wanted to stop the practice of sending children to orphanages and work houses, but instead help them to break the cycle of disadvantage and realise their true potential.  Original funds raised by the Foundation went to establish the London Orphan Asylum which was based in East London; this has evolved over two hundred years to become Reed’s School, a thriving day and boarding school located in Cobham, Surrey.

Since the School was founded thousands of disadvantaged children have had their aspirations raised, their emotional well-being secured and their lives changed forever.

Andrew Reed was only able to fund the London Orphan Asylum because of his unwavering faith and robust connections; he had the remarkable ability to appeal to benefactors, including the Church, the City of London, and the Royal Family.


Royal Patronage and Links with the City

Indeed, such was Andrew Reed’s passion for helping the poor, that HM King George IV ‘accorded his blessing’ by becoming the first Royal Patron of the London Orphan Asylum, a tradition which is continued today with the Patronage of Reed’s School by HM The Queen, Elizabeth II.

In addition, our Annual Foundation Appeal to the City – which has been running for 200 years, making it one of the oldest in the UK – has secured the support of many prominent public figures. Past Appeal Presidents have included several members of the Royal Family, Peers of the Realm, aristocracy, business leaders and famous stockbroking families such as Capel, Bristowe, Mullens and Blathwayt (to whom our current School Houses are dedicated), Barclay, Gurney, Fry and Rothschild. 

Annual Appeal Presidents since 1815

Annual Foundation Appeal Report


Other Andrew Reed charities

During his lifetime, Andrew Reed also founded two other orphanages (the Infant Orphan Asylum and the Reedham Orphanage), helped raised funds to build several chapels and two hospitals (one being the Royal Hospital for Incurables, now The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney) and was involved in the formation of the East London Savings Bank (later to become the Trustees’ Savings Bank).

"To relieve destitute and orphan children; to afford them clothing and maintenance; to fix habits of industry and frugality; to inculcate the principles of religion and virtue; and to place them out in situations where their morals shall not be endangered, and where a prospect of honest livelihood shall be secured."

Original purpose of
the School1813

"I am here at the request of that great and good man, Dr Reed, whose wishes are to me law and whose entreaties I felt as a command, impossible to resist."

1st Duke of Wellington1842