The Reverend John Hymers, Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge and Rector of Brandesburton, a village 10 miles north of Hull, left 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 among the vast and varied population of the town and port of Hull”.
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 one of the leading schools in the northeast for its academic, sporting and musical achievements. 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 1975, when the direct grant scheme was phased out, 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 in 1980 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.
Although the school has remained true to its Founder’s intentions, the catchment area now stretches from Scarborough to Grimsby and Scunthorpe, and the school has been fully co-educational since 1989. 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.
The Governors vision for the school in the 21st century is that it will maintain an emphasis on excellence in all that it does, will provide a broad education that will enable our pupils to become well-rounded and balanced people, will continue to offer outstanding value for money to parents, will contain as wide a social base as fee-remission funds will permit, and will incorporate new ideas and facilities when appropriate. They are committed to a process of continuous improvement in services and facilities, funded by healthy annual financial surpluses and in recent times by several substantial legacies and benefactions. Priorities are reviewed regularly.