A purpose-built school building was designed by the
John Shaw Jr, and opened in about 1844 at
New Cross in south-east London (close to
Greenwich, both areas with strong naval connections). However, the school soon outgrew this building and relocated to
Mottingham in 1889. (The building remained in educational use, being sold to the
Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for £25,000, and being re-opened by the
Prince of Wales in July 1891 as the "Goldsmiths' Technical and Recreative Institute" – more commonly known simply as the "Goldsmiths' Institute".
 In 1904, it became the main building of
The Royal Naval School remained at Mottingham (in a building today occupied by
Eltham College) until it closed in 1910.
Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler was wife to one of the teachers at the Royal Naval School before it closed.
At the same time as the boys' school was founded, in 1840, The Royal Female School for the Daughters of Vocal and Marine Officers was founded 'in a candle-lit, rented house on
Richmond Green' which later changed its name to The Royal Naval School or RNS - as it is still known today by its old girls. RNS was due to the inspiration of
Admiral Sir Thomas Williams, a
Royal Navy officer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, who had served with distinction in numerous theatres during the
American Revolutionary War,
French Revolutionary Wars and
Napoleonic Wars. As the dust jacket of the history of the school, published in 1975 states:
(Williams) realised that after the Napoleonic Wars there were hundreds of impecunious ex-Naval officers acutely in need of an economical means to educate their daughters to earn a living; entirely by the efforts of an influential group of distinguished Officers the necessary funds ware raised, the School established and Royal Patronage obtained.
... from Richmond, (the school) moved on to the fine Kilmorey mansion beside the Thames, at St. Margaret's, where it grew and flourished until the building was destroyed by bombs in 1940. Difficult wartime moves first to Fernhurst and later to Stoatley Hall were a triumph for the headmistress, Miss Oakley-Hill, and paved the way for further expansion.
In 1995, The Royal Naval School for girls at
Haslemere was amalgamated with
The Grove School founded in 1864 to form
The Royal School, Haslemere.