Originally the school site was part of the Stanford Estate and in the 1870s it was leased out to Edward King who used the site as a market garden to supply fresh salad and vegetables to the local Brighton market. The nuns of the Sacred Heart order were granted permission by the Bishop to set up their convent and school on the south coast of England. The Hove site suited their needs perfectly as it was a green field site located outside Brighton and Hove, secluded and secure from the bustle of the city.
Building work started in 1870 and the convent and school were opened in 1872. The nuns themselves supervised the building work and the local community would comment, as the nuns walked up what was then called Nunnery Hill, that they were building their own prison. The nuns were responsible for the landscaping of the site, and the planting of the trees that adorn the school today.
In 1901 a new wing was added to the school to accommodate another convent from Beauvais in Northern France. The CG6 wing was built as a complete school. The French nuns, students and all of their belongings were moved into this building.
The nuns eventually left Hove in 1966 as Brighton was becoming too “racy”. The site and buildings were acquired by the Diocese and the De La Salle Brothers took over the running of the school until they moved out in 1971.
Bishop David Cashman was the guiding force behind the establishment of the first Catholic Comprehensive School in Sussex. The school was the amalgamation of De La Salle, an independent Grammar School, Cottesmore Secondary Modern School, Lourdes Convent, Blessed Sacrament Convent, and eventually the Fitzherbert school became part of the new Cardinal Newman Catholic School.
A large building programme was put in place to adapt the school to the needs of a modern comprehensive school. This process has continued throughout the life of the school to ensure that staff and students have access to high quality resources.
A number of exciting projects have been completed: The Benedict Building was completed in April 2011 and opened by Bishop Kieron to accommodate Design Technology and provide workshops, classrooms and specialist food technology rooms. In 2012, the Cashman Basement was extensively refurbished (the original historic building on the school site) to provide additional Science Laboratories, Maths classrooms, a Dance studio, Fitness Suite and additional office spaces. In 2013, the Woodland area was developed so that students could ‘learn’ in a new environment and take in the natural flora and fauna that we are privileged to have at Cardinal Newman Catholic School. Many classes now take place in the woodland classrooms. In 2015, Cardinal Newman’s new sixth form centre, Newman College, was opened by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor and created state-of-the-art facilities with classrooms, a lecture theatre, a library, a common room and offices.