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The Reverend John Hymers, Rector of Brandesburton, died in 1887 leaving money in his will for a school to be built “for the training of intelligence in whatever social rank of life it may be found.”
Hymers College opened in 1893 as a school for boys on the site of the old Botanic Gardens of Hull. It soon established itself as a centre of academic excellence, and parents from Hull and the East Riding were keen for their sons to be admitted. The numbers expanded and buildings were added. The first Headmaster, Mr Charles Gore, was admitted to the Headmasters’ Conference (HMC), which represents the leading independent schools in the country, and all succeeding Headmasters have been members.
Scholarships and bursaries were provided from the start to allow pupils to attend whose parents could not pay the school fees. In 1946 Hymers became a Direct Grant school with many of the pupils now paid for by the Local Authority. In 1971, when the direct grant scheme was abolished, the Governors had to decide whether the school should become part of the comprehensive system that Hull was adopting at the time or become an independent school. The decision was made to go fully independent. The introduction of the Government-funded Assisted Places scheme allowed the school to offer 25 places in each year group to pupils who needed financial support, and when this scheme was abolished in 1997 the Governors decided that bursaries would be provided from the school’s resources so that the wishes of its founder and its practice for over a hundred years could be maintained.
Girls came into the Sixth Form throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, and the decision was taken in 1989 to go fully co-educational. The opening of the Humber Bridge in 1981 further extended the catchment area and in the 1990’s the school’s numbers expanded to just under a thousand pupils. At the same time curricular developments allowed pupils to study newer subjects up to A level, such as Psychology, ICT and Physical Education, as well as the more traditional subjects.