Colston's School was founded in 1710 by the Bristol philanthropist, Edward Colston.
He entrusted his school into the care of the Society of Merchant Venturers, which continues to play an active and caring role in the school's affairs, nominating half the governing body, including the chairman, from its members.
The school moved from the centre of the city to a former palace of the Bishop of Bristol, at Stapleton, in 1857.
Together with the Lower School, which is situated on what used to be Stapleton Court and the old Rectory, the school estate can boast over 30 acres of beautiful grounds on the northern outskirts of Bristol, bordering the river Frome.
Colston's was exclusively a boys' school until girls were admitted to the sixth form in 1984. It became fully co-educational following its amalgamation in 1991 with the Collegiate School, Winterbourne, a school founded in Redland in 1902. It became Colston's Collegiate, catering for boys and girls aged 3 to 18 years and boarders from 11 years, and the name reverted to Colston’s School in 2004. Boarding at Colston's ceased in July 2011.
Colston’s is well established as one of Bristol’s principal independent schools.
The facilities at Colston’s are upgraded and extended at regular intervals, and the school is fortunate to have all its amenities, including sports grounds, on one site. Recent additions include a classroom block extension, squash courts, sports hall, fully equipped theatre, concert hall, re-furbished science laboratories, a purpose-built Combined Cadet Force headquarters, a floodlit Astroturf pitch and newly-refurbished floodlit tennis and netball courts.
The life of the pupils is vividly portrayed - brought into focus by the series of personal reminiscences - as is the vital contribution made by individual Headmasters and the Society of Old Colstonians. Central to the book, however, is the crucial role of the Society of Merchant Venturers which, as trustee of Colston's endowment, has faithfully managed and supported the school for almost 300 years.
The Society of Merchant Venturers has recently published the history of Colston's. Written by Dr John Wroughton, a Governor of Colston's since 1993, this is the first history of the school.
This is the remarkable story of the hospital school set up in the centre of Bristol in 1710 for 100 poor boys by the philanthropist, Edward Colston. It describes the school's chequered history throughout the 18th and 19th centuries - its harsh conditions, brutal floggings, meagre diet, incompetent masters and brittle finances - before charting its move to Stapleton in 1861 and its subsequent transformation into one of the west country's leading independent schools.
Copies of the book are available from The Bursary, Colston's Collegiate School, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1BJ at the price of £14.95 plus UK postage and packing charge of £4.80 (cheques payable to Colston's Collegiate School).