William Price, a timber merchant of Fareham, drew up his Will in 1721 leaving lands, buildings and money to found a charity school for 30 poor boys and girls from the parish of Fareham. When he died four years later the school was established as a "Blue-coat" school in his house in West Street to teach the children to "read in the English Bible and otherwise be instructed in the Doctrine and Principles of the Church of England". During the 18th and 19th centuries the only major change was for the school to become boys only, mainly due it seems to the lack of a needlework teacher for girls. It finally closed in 1901, when schooling had become available for all, and transferred its pupils to the National School.
Price’s Charity School and Master’s House 1846
The William Price Charity then founded a new school for 100 boys, which was opened on a site in Park Lane in 1908. Initially Hampshire County Council provided a grant towards maintenance but otherwise the Charity was responsible for the finance of the school. This financing became increasingly difficult, particularly from 1934 onwards when new buildings were needed for a much larger number of pupils. After the war the school failed to make Direct Grant status and in 1957 it became Voluntary Controlled, which meant that total financial responsibility for the running of the school passed to Hampshire County Council, although the Charity remained the landowner of the site. During this period the Trustees of the Charity became separated from the Governors of the school, but with overlapping membership.
Aerial view of Price’s School 1968
From 1977 onwards the school was gradually converted into a sixth form college, once again for boys and girls. At the time the Charity Commission expressed some concern that the ages of the students (16 - 18) were not in accord with the intentions of William Price, but in the event the college was permitted as the educational element of the Charity. However, when in 1982 Price's Sixth Form College was merged with the Fareham Technical College to establish a Tertiary College, with a strong element of adult education, the Charity Commission no longer considered that this was in line with William Price's Will. The land and buildings therefore reverted to the Charity with rent being paid for their use until the Tertiary College (now Fareham College) put up a new building at Bishopsfield Road and moved out from Park Lane.
As there was no longer a requirement for a school the charity had to be re-formed and in 1989 the Charity Commission established the William Price Charitable Trust as a grant-making charity. Its major asset was the land at Park Lane and, in accordance with the Fareham Borough Council's plans, outline planning permission was obtained for housing and in 1994 the land was sold for development. The proceeds of the sale were invested to provide the permanent endowment of the Charity. In 2006, the permanent endowment was further enhanced when the proceeds of sale of a former Elementary School, also in Fareham, was transferred for the charity to administer.