The Federation is named ‘Haberdashers’ Aske’s’ after Robert Aske, the benefactor whose charitable benevolent fund the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers’ administer. Aske was born in 1619 and became a Haberdasher, a merchant dealing in raw silk, and a man of substance. He died in 1689 leaving £20,000 to the Company to buy a piece of land within one mile of London and to build on it a 'Hospital' (almshouses) and a school. The rest of his estate, £12,000, he left for the benefit of the Foundation, or Charity, of which the Haberdashers' Company became trustee.
In 1690, a site was purchased in Hoxton, just north of the City, where the original Hospital and school were built. In 1824, these were demolished and a new school and almshouses built. In 1874, the almshouses were closed and the buildings were enlarged to become a day school for 600 students of both sexes.
In conjunction with these developments, land at Hatcham, near New Cross, was bought at the top of Plowed Garlic Hill, now Telegraph Hill, and plans for boys' and girls' schools were drawn up. The task facing the builders was considerable because at that time no roads passed the site. A lane ran from the Kent Road (now New Cross Road) following the direction now taken by Jerningham Road, but did not reach the top of the hill. Another lane ran from the Peckham Road (now Queen's Road).
Bad weather at that time made carriage up the hill difficult, but by October 1875 the two schools were completed on the single site. In 1889, further land was purchased in Jerningham Road and a school was built for 300 girls, the first school at Hatcham then becoming a school for 300 boys.
In 1898, the original Hoxton site became unsuitable and was sold; new sites were then purchased in Hampstead and Acton, upon which were established the separate schools for boys and girls which are now at Elstree. These are the other two schools within the Aske Foundation.
Further reorganisation took place following the 1944 Education Act, when the two Hatcham schools became voluntary controlled grammar schools. They were further reorganised as comprehensive schools in 1979, and then combined as a City Technology College in 1991.
In 2005 the Federation of Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College and Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy were set up by the Haberdashers' Company in order to increase the availability of an Aske's education to more students and make a wider use of the strengths that Aske's has to offer.
In 2008 Hatcham Temple Grove joined Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College to make it an all through 3 – 18 Academy. Haberdashers’ Aske’s Crayford Academy joined the Federation in 2009. Knights Temple Grove joined Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy to make it an all through 3 - 18 Academy in 2011. Crayford Temple Grove North joined Haberdashers' Aske's Crayford Academy in 2013 and Hatcham Temple Grove Free School also opened in 2013.