To the west of the School is the financial heart of the country, the pomp and ceremony of the City of London, its ancient traditions and unique ways. To the east is Aldgate, Petticoat Lane Market and Whitechapel; diverse and vibrant areas which have played host to waves of immigration for centuries. Each year the school takes part with the local community in the Beating of the Bounds, remembering the rich history of the area.
The School is built on the site of the Roman Wall around Londinium and sits at its eastern gate. Beneath the playground is the site of Holy Trinity Priory, founded by Queen Matilda in 1108.
John Cass, born in 1661 in Rosemary Lane, East Smithfield, inherited considerable property mainly in Hackney, the City and Essex. He was sometime Master of both the Worshipful Company of Carpenters and Worshipful Company of Skinners and was elected Alderman of Portsoken Ward in 1710 and that year held office of Sheriff. John Cass represented the City in two Parliaments and was knighted in 1712. In 1710 he founded a school in the churchyard of St Botolph without Aldgate, just a stone’s throw from the current building.
On 5 July 1718 in the act of signing a second will, Sir John died. It is reputed that his quill pen was stained with blood. As a remembrance of Cass’s philanthropy the children and adults would wear a red feather, his symbol to an annual Founders' Day. As Cass’s will remained unsigned, it was disputed and the school was closed down for a time until the Sir John Cass’s Foundation was formed in 1748.
The current school building dates from 1908 and is a Grade II* listed building. Originally the school building was open to primary and secondary aged pupils. It is now home to primary aged pupils and The Child and Family Centre, which opened in 2006.
In September 2020, Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School was renamed The Aldgate School and in March 2021 the Trustee was renamed The Portal Trust. We continue to be proud of our rich history, traditions and achievements however we aspire even further now; aiming for all of our pupils and community to become advocates for themselves and beacons of fairness equality in our diverse world.