Charity school

The Blue Coat School (in this case Christ's Hospital, London) as drawn by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson for Rudolph Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808-11). The picture shows the Great Hall on St. Matthew's Day, September 21st. Two senior boys destined for scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge Universities, known as Grecians, gave orations in praise of the school, one in Latin and the other in English.
The Anniversary Meeting of the Charity Children in the Cathedral of St. Paul, 1826

A charity school, sometimes called a blue coat school, was significant in the history of education in England. It was erected and maintained in various parishes by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants for teaching poor children to read, write, and other necessary parts of education. It was usually maintained by religious organizations, which provided clothing and education to students freely or at little charge. In most charity schools, children were likewise put out to trades, services, etc., on the same charitable foundation. Some schools were more ambitious than this and sent a few pupils on to university, as depicted in the illustration.

Charity schools began in London, and spread throughout most of the urban areas in England and Wales. By 1710, the account of the charity schools in and around London stood thus: number of schools, 88; boys taught, 2181; girls, 1221; boys put out to apprentices, 967; girls, 407. By the 19th century, English elementary schools were predominantly charity schools.

Blue coat schools in order of foundation

See also

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