So called because until the School’s move to Godalming from London in 1872 the House was reserved for scholars (who wore gowns). Gownboys occupies the central position in the main school block on the east side of Founder’s Court under Founder’s Tower. The interior of P C Hardwick’s commercial gothic masterpiece – described by Pevsner (The Buildings of England) as ‘a brilliant study in asymmetry’ – has been renovated to provide comfortable, modern accommodation for its pupils. The panelled Dining-room and Hall (with its 120-foot chimney) was left untouched by this programme, but the studies and study bedrooms are entirely new save for the large tower studies occupied by the Head Monitor and Deputy Head Monitor.
A new House library, a new junior games room and a new writing-school (a communal work room for boys in their first year) have been provided. There are a number of twin rooms for boys in their first year to share, and the rest of the boys have single study bedrooms.
Mr Andrew Reston
If the children in a boarding house are happy and busy and feel secure and valued, they are likely to thrive and to be able to encourage others. It is my chief aim to do all that is possible to create an environment in which the House philosophy (see ‘House ehtos’ tab) can be realised. In this I am assisted by the Matron, an Assistant Housemaster, six Tutors, about ten monitors and (in fact) each member of the House. It is important to us all that everyone in Gownboys is responsible for making it a safe and happy place.
Mr AN Reston MA, MSt
Andrew Reston took over as Housemaster of Gownboys in 2012. He is a teacher of English and has previously been Master in Charge of Oxford Admissions, Director of Culture and has coached teams in football and cricket, in addition to assisting with outdoor activities.
Andrew came to Charterhouse from the world of academia. He took his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Balliol College Oxford before gaining a Prize Fellowship at All Souls, where for seven years he was a researcher in English Literature. His interests in art, music, film, drama and literature are both extensive and varied, and as Director of Culture he has been heavily involved in developing and promoting these activities. He enjoys many sports and is a keen walker and traveller.
Andrew is married to Svetlana and they have a young daughter.
Mr AN Reston
T: +44 (0)1483 291530
E: [email protected]
The philosophy of Gownboys is expressed in this prefatory paragraph from the house document (which is entitled ‘What We Should All Know’): ‘Gownboys should be a safe and happy place for boys, girls and staff. It provides a pleasant base – as homely as is possible given that there are about 76 pupils in the House. Its principles are kindness, tolerance, fairness, consideration for all others; all members of Gownboys should be free to be themselves and to develop as best they can.’ The single central house rule (from which all matters can be determined) follows: ‘We do in Gownboys what would be done in a pleasant family home. We do not do what would not be done in a pleasant family home.’
Secondary to its function as a happy, secure home base – Gownboys also operates as a club in house competitions. It is emphasised, of course, that how we compete is more important than winning – but in recent years there have been pleasing successes in drama, hockey, football athletics, art and cross-country. The house’s fortunes will necessarily go up and down over the years; the present housemaster does not seek to recruit boys and girls with particular skills – only those who seem likely to make the most of the special opportunities offered by a Charterhouse education, and to encourage (and be kind to) others.
It is taken as read that all who come to Charterhouse will be ambitious to do well in the classroom and in a busy extra-curricular programme. What matters here is effort rather than just attainment – and effort and endeavour are rewarded in Gownboys. Individual and group Gownboy successes are recorded in formal notices hand-written by the housemaster and pinned to the Dining-room board for a week.