Towards the end of the 19th century it was decided that in order to properly accommodate Army Physical Training, new gymnasium space was required to supersede the cramped facilities at Wellington Barracks. This decision led to the erection of a major part of the current Army School of Physical Training. Originally named "Cranbrook Gymnasium" the buildings opened in 1894.
The Army School of Physical Training"s first major function was to host the Public Schools" Boxing, Fencing and Gymnastics Competitions.
Officers and NCOs attended the school for Physical Training and Swordsmanship instruction. The courses naturally evolved and by the early 20th century there was an average of 120-150 students under instruction.
In 1904 the elegant building housing the Military Swimming Bath was constructed adjacent to the school. Sadly, although the building still stands, it is no longer structurally safe and the bath has been out of use since 1984. Students now have the use of the Olympic length swimming pool at the Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre, located a few hundred metres away from the school.
During the Great War, courses of instruction continued until the Armistice. Soon after the end of the war, numbers attending the courses greatly increased. Officers and NCOs underwent 21 day courses and obtained certificated which qualified them to supervise Physical and Bayonet Training in their units.
Among distinguished visitors to the school between the wars were King George V and Queen Mary in 1920 and 1934. Their Majesties were received at the main door on the East side of the gymnasium which, since then has been known as the Sovereigns Entrance. Other visitors included HRH the Emir Feisal in 1932 and HRH Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia in 1935.
Soon after the beginning of the 2nd World War, demand required the PT school to expand and a second large gymnasium was built. There was also a growing need for up to date, challenging Battle PT so in 1941 the obstacle course was re-designed to meet the needs of the troops training for combat.
Towards the end of the war the decision was made to name the Gymnasiums after the Inspector of Physical Training in office when they built. The original large gymnasium was named after Colonel Fox and the second large gymnasium named after Brigadier Wand-Tetley. The small gymnasium and fencing room were named after Colonel Brown and Colonel Henslow respectively. These names remain to this day; however, Brown is now a modern, state of the art conference room and Henslow an excellent, fully equipped Cardio-Vascular Fitness Suite.
In late 1944 a recreational course, primarily for officers of low rank, was introduced to the ASPT course programme. The syllabus included the organising and coaching of athletics, boxing, swimming and all major and minor team games.
Between September 1939 and the end of the Second World War over 22,000 Officers and Other Ranks passed through the Army School of Physical Training.
Since the end of the war the PT school has been constantly developing to improve the standard of instruction and enhance the level of education received by the students. In a new era of warfare, the ASPT provide several levels of Physical Training courses for personnel across the Regular and Territorial Army keeping troops "Fit to Fight". For Officers and NCOs interested in personal development; the school offers over 100 different sports and recreational courses.
Students that successfully complete the Physical Training Instructor Class One Course, pass out from the school as Army Physical Training Corps Instructors. They also have gained several external qualifications during the course, including a Certificate in Sports Science from Manchester Metropolitan University.
The Army School of Physical Training continues to work to the Mission Statement:
"To achieve the Statement of Training Requirement within the resources allocated in order to provide the highest level of fully trained manpower to the Field Army."
On the 13th November 2010, Her majesty the queen, bestowed the title of "royal" to the corps, which are now known as the Royal Army Physical Training Corps.