When a boy comes to Eton he will join a house of just over 50 boys (unless he is a Colleger; there are 70 boys in College) aged between 13 and 18. His house will be the hub of his life at Eton for the next five years. Each house is under the care of a house master, who will look after him, support him and, if necessary, make sure he behaves himself. The house master is the main point of contact with the school for a boy's parents.
The house master is supported by a dame, a dame’s assistant and a full domestic staff. The dame looks after a boy's health, and she also runs the domestic side of the house. Each house has a deputy house master and two assistants attached to it and they will also help to ensure that every boy gets the best out of his time at Eton.
There are a number of important senior boys with responsibilities in the house, the first of whom is the house captain. He will do his best to make sure a boy enjoys his time in the house and participates fully in the various activities on offer in the wider school. Another important senior boy is the captain of games. He will encourage everyone to play a range of games, and will expect every boy to participate in house teams regularly. The senior boys will have the answers to lots of day-to-day questions about Eton life. Every boy will also be encouraged to take part in plenty of other house activities: concerts, plays, musical and debating competitions, and so on.
Every boy at Eton has his own study-bedroom. This is his own private space, which he can decorate as he pleases (within limits set by his house master) and where he can entertain his friends, or exclude them if he wants a bit of peace and quiet. About half of the houses eat breakfast, lunch, and supper in Bekynton, a large central dining complex; the others have their own chefs and their own house dining-rooms. Every house, whether Bekynton or not, provides a mid-morning Chambers snack and also a mid-afternoon boys’ tea, a relatively informal affair where boys make themselves toast and (in some houses) are allowed to cook themselves something a bit more ambitious. This is called 'messing'. If after all of this boys are still hungry, Rowlands serves snacks of almost every description.
All boys are allowed home for Long Leave every half and for Short Leave twice in the Michaelmas and once in the Lent and Summer halves. Boys can also go home after formal commitments have finished on a Saturday for one other weekend each half (when Chapel is on Sunday evening) . Boys can also go home or go out with their parents, with their house master’s permission, whenever they are free from school or house commitments.
Here is a list of all the houses.