- Westminster School
a well-known British public school near Westminster Abbey. It began as a Roman Catholic school in the 12th century, and became a Church of England school at the Reformation. Traditionally it only accepted boys as students, but in the late 20th century it began to take girls in the sixth form.
* * *formally Saint Peter's College,distinguished public (privately endowed) school near Westminster Abbey in the borough of Westminster (Westminster, City of), London. It originated as a charity school (1179) founded by Benedictine monks. In 1540 Henry VIII made it secular, and in 1560 it was refounded by Elizabeth I and extensively reorganized. The Public Schools Act of 1868 made the school autonomous. Girls were first admitted in 1972.Historic buildings include the 11th-century School, which was rebuilt in 1914 and 1959, and the 14th-century College Hall Cloisters. Some of its distinguished former students were the architect Christopher Wren (Wren, Sir Christopher), the historian Edward Gibbon (Gibbon, Edward), the dramatist Ben Jonson (Jonson, Ben), and the physicist Robert Hooke (Hooke, Robert), as well as the 20th-century dramatist Sir Peter Ustinov and theatrical composer Lord Lloyd-Webber (Lloyd Webber, Andrew, Baron Lloyd-Webber of Sydmonton). The Westminster Under School (for boys) was established in 1943, and it was moved to nearby Vincent Square in 1981.
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