Dulwich College is an independent, public school for boys in Dulwich, southeast London, England.
The college was founded in 1619 by Edward Alleyn, a successful Elizabethan actor, with the original purpose of educating 12 poor scholars as the foundation of "God's Gift". It currently has about 1,500 boys, of whom 120 are boarders thus making it one of the largest (in terms of numbers of pupils) independent schools in the United Kingdom. The school will be celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2019. The school owns a boathouse on the River Thames, the base for Dulwich College Boat Club as well as large grounds around Dulwich. Admission by examination is mainly into years 3, 7, 9, and 12 (i.e. ages 7, 11, 13, and 16 years old) to the Junior, Lower, Middle and Upper Schools into which the college is divided. It is a member of both the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group making it a Public school of significant standing
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Dulwich College has, since the middle of the nineteenth century, had an extremely strong sporting tradition. Such was the breadth and scope of Old Alleynians that had gone on to make their names in various sporting arena that in 1922 the Westminster Gazette wrote: "The new boy, donning the Dulwich cap for the first time, may well deem himself a potential hero – if not, indeed, a hero ipso facto – for he stands dazzled in the descended glory of past years which scintillate with innumerable grand deeds and grander men. Prick the lists of sports where you will, and you will prick a famous Alleynian. Whether it be King Cricket, Rugby Football, hockey, athletics, badminton, shooting or even the games of maturer life, Dulwich has made itself a glorious place that many schools might envy."
When Arthur Herman Gilkes became Master, he adhered to Carver's belief that the physical organisation of the school should be based on the principle that as far as possible management should be in the hands of the boys. Therefore, he continued the tradition of the general running of games being entrusted to a Field Sports Board (sometimes referred to as the Field Sports Committee), composed of the "school captain, captains of cricket, football (rugby), gymnastics, the baths (swimming), fencing, fives, athletics sports, boxing and shooting". Gilkes had it that the only masters with authorised status with regards to games were the captain of the Rifle Corps, and treasurer of the Sports Board. By 1894 there no more masters on the Field Sports Committee.The Board at the time controlled the appointment of captains and had some say in the style of blazers that could be worn as uniform.It was the Field Sports Committee, for example, that governed the award of the college's most prestigious colours, the white blazer. The system today is very different with assistant masters now being in charge of games, and acting more as coaches.
Colours for sporting achievement were the first such colours to be established at the college (see School uniform and colours below). Originally colours consisted of blazers for the 1st and 2nd team of the major sports, rugby and cricket (as well as ties, caps and squares) and colours for minor sports, (not extending to a full blazer but blazer badges plus caps and ties). Caps were also available, such as for rugby, the pie shaped porker and more exclusive items such as the rare rugby honours cap, and the white blazer, only awarded on the recommendation of the Field Sports Committee with the essential requirement being that a boy be a member of both the Cricket 1st XI and the Rugby 1st XV and display prominence in a minor sport. Testament to the judgment of the committee are the careers of certain alumni who received this blazer such as Trevor Bailey the England cricket all-rounder, who was so awarded because he was also a distinguished squash player.
The college still divides sport into Major and Minor. The major sports have always included rugby and cricket in the Michaelmas and summer terms respectively and for many decades just these two were deemed as major. In the twentieth century, field hockey became a major sport in the Lent term, having been introduced in 1953. Soccer, a minor sport since it was allowed in 1970, became of equal status to hockey in 2000. A raft of minor sports have also been recognised at the college for well over a century in many cases. Minor sports have included athletics from 1864; Fives from 1894 (effectively ended by the courts being destroyed by enemy bombs in the Second World War); shooting from 1878 (less applicable due to safety regulations and the loss of the .22 range); boxing from 1879 (abandoned in the 1960s but with martial arts now filling the void), tennis from 1880 (although banned during A H Gilkes' time); swimming from 1883 with the college being one of the first schools to erect a swimming pool; gymnastics from 1891; fencing (like boxing, saw a demise in the 1960s but still has a representative team); squash and water polo. The school also has teams for golf; rowing (a surprisingly recent introduction in 1991); badminton; basketball; croquet; cycling; skiing; table tennis and rugby fives. In terms of what can be practiced at the school, there is little limitation and the facilities, which include a sports centre complex, courts for most racquet sports, an athletic track, tennis courts, a swimming pool and acres of playing fields, cater to almost all sporting requirements.
There is a medical service.
The Dulwich College school magazine is called the Alleynian, named after the school's founder Edward Alleyn. This magazine was first published in 1873, although the school's first magazine under the name the Dulwich College Magazine for School News and General Reading had been published in 1864 but only lasted for fourteen issues after its editor left for Cambridge University. The Alleynian was edited at one point by P.G.Wodehouse in his last year at the school. The magazine is still published today, and has recently undergone a relaunch within the school.