Like his father before him, Henry Strode was a Cooper and businessman. He worked as a member of the Worshipful Company of Coopers from 1680 until 1704, becoming the master in his penultimate year. Although his work was in London, his family had been based in Egham for many years. He lived in the parish of St Lawrence, Poulteney with his father and widowed sister.
In his will, Henry Strode left the generous sum of £6,000 to be used to build a school for the education of poor boys from Egham. He also intended a proportion of the money to be used to create almshouses for six men and six women. Strode had expressed a wish for the school to be built on at Dead Pool Close, but this land was not available, so land at the current site was acquired in 1706. Originally the school provided education for around 40 boys, but during the 19th century numbers more than trebled. The school was demolished and re-built during the 1820’s, as it did not meet the growing needs of the school.
As other schools sprung up towards the end of the century, demand for places at Strode’s declined and by 1915 the school conceded at last to calls from the local community to turn the school into a Boys’ Grammar School. Following five years of disputes the school was again re-built in 1918 and re-opened in 1919. In 1975, it became a co-educational Sixth Form College and the almshouses fell vacant. Finally in 1993, Strode’s took on its most recent incarnation as an independent corporation under new laws regarding further education.
In spite of the school’s eventful and often debated history, the Cooper’s Company has always maintained its links with the school and remains its patron today.