William Rutlish was appointed as the official embroiderer to King Charles II. In that position he became very wealthy. He bought property and land in the parish of Merton, where he lived to get away from the pressures of the City of London and the King’s Court.
William Rutlish died in 1687. He left money in his will stating that it should go to “the worthiest and most suitable objects of charity”. A Board of Trustees administered following his wishes for it to be used to help poor children, male and female, in Merton.
William Rutlish is buried in the churchyard of our local St Mary’s Church in Merton Park. Each year, current Year 7 students visit the Church for a Commemoration Day Service where the Head Boy lays a wreath on the tomb to commemorate the man whose money enabled the school to be built. A bust of William Rutlish can be seen in the Manor House.
John Innes, was appointed Chairman of the Rutlish Trustees, and agreed to use the money to set up Rutlish Science School.
A new body of Trustees was established with specific duties for the school.
Rutlish Science School was officially opened on Thursday 26 September at Rutlish Road. The school was designed to provide a “thorough, modern, practical education for boys aged between 10 and 17 years of age”.
Dr Draper was appointed the first the Headmaster.
An early photo of Dr Draper and students.
On Monday 30 September 23 boys began their first lessons. It was a fee paying school. Each student had to pay £6 a year for their education, unless they came from Merton in which case the William Rutlish charity money reduced those fees to £3.
Mr A N Disney became the second Headmaster of Rutlish Science School.
Rutlish Science School curriculum comprised: Religious Instruction, Reading and Writing, English Grammar, Composition and Literature, Geography, English, History, Arithmetic, Euclid, Algebra, Trigonometry, Mechanics, French, German, Latin, Chemistry, Heat, Light Electricity and other Physical Sciences, Vocal Music, Drawing, Shorthand, Book-keeping, Drill and other physical exercises, with rifle shooting, manual training and the use of tools.
John Innes died and left a financial legacy to contribute towards the Rutlish Foundation. The Manor House, where he had lived, later became part of the school. He left most of his grounds for conversion into a public park for the benefit of the residents of the parishes of Merton and Morden. In 1910 the John Innes Horticultural Institution opened, however, it moved from Merton Park in 1945 and is now located in Colney, Norfolk.
The Old Rutlishians' Association (Old Ruts) was established with grounds and clubhouse in Poplar Road. This Old Boys sports and social club linked to the school is still an active and thriving club serving the local community.
A memorial was erected in the school hall for the 96 Rutlishians gave their lives in the Great War. Their deaths had a profound effect on the boys and staff at the school. Two students, G E Gates and J H S Dimmer, were awarded the Victoria Cross for their bravery. Jack Dimmer was also awarded the Military Cross.
Mr E Varnish started as Headmaster. He was later awarded an OBE for his services to education.
The Cadet Battalion was established. This continues today as the Combined Cadet Force (CCF).
All 28 scholars were successful in passing the Oxford local examination.
The Rutlish School Parents' Association was formed.
Rutlish once again supported the war effort and sadly lost many of its former staff and students. The memorial plaque is on the wall in the Innes Buidling
On 16 August 1940 science laboratories in the main block was wrecked by a bomb.
The first female teacher joined the school to teach French.
Mr J R Blenkinsop became the fourth Headmaster of Rutlish School and longest serving. He died in office in 1970.
Rutlish became a Voluntary Controlled School.
The school was split into two sites with the junior school based at Watery Lane.
In the September the school moved to Watery Lane. The gates from that first school are now situated in the school quad.
Following the education reforms of the late 1960s, the school became a comprehensive. It retained many of its grammar school traditions long after the conversion including the school houses (named after ancient warrior nations or groups), uniforms with house and school colours, a combined cadet force, and prefects.
Mr R B Coyle joined as Headmaster and oversaw the move from selective to non-selective status.
Mr Malcolm Purves became the sixth headmaster from mid 1986 to the end of 1987.
After a year with an interim Headmaster, Mr A J Mooney is appointed.
Rt. Hon. John Major visited the school for the annual Prize Giving.
He is shown here at No 10 with rutlish students.
Building of new teaching block, Centenary, and a new cadet hut.
Headteacher Ms K Bastik Stiles joined the school. She did away with the house system in 2000 but it was reintroduced by Mr Williamson and is still in place today.
Mr R A Doyle was appointed as Headteacher.
Demolition of old buildings and construction of Innes building with a new sports hall.
Mr A Williamson was appointed as Headteacher.
Mr Williamson reintroduced a sixth form, after it had been closed in 2000. RR6 is a mixed sixth form shared with Ricards Lodge. A new building was built at Rutlish.
Co-Headteachers Mr K Curran and Ms H Ford lead the school for an interim year.
Headteacher Ms L R Howarth joined the school for the start of the new academic year.
A worldwide pandemic saw the closure of the school buildings to all but a few students from 23rd March to the end of the summer term. The majority of students and staff worked from home.
In September Rutlish celebrated its 125th year with over 1300 students. More poignant as many were returning after not physically being in school since March.
The start of 2021 saw students once again learning at home during a national lockdown due to Covid19. Only children of critical workers and vulnerable students attended in person.