Charity school

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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. Blue Coat School Microcosm edited.jpg
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 Havell, Robert (junior) - watercolour - The Anniversary Meeting of the Charity Children in the Cathedral of St. Paul - Google Art Project.jpg
The Anniversary Meeting of the Charity Children in the Cathedral of St. Paul, 1826
Leeds Charity School Blue Plaque Leeds Charity School blue plaque.jpg
Leeds Charity School Blue Plaque

Charity schools, sometimes called blue coat schools, or simply the Blue School, were significant in the history of education in England. They were built and maintained in various parishes by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants to teach poor children to read and write, and for other necessary parts of education. They were usually maintained by religious organisations, which provided clothing and education to students freely or at little charge. In most charity schools, children were put out to trades, services, etc., by the same charitable foundation. Some schools were more ambitious than this and sent a few pupils on to university.


Charity schools began in London, and spread throughout most of the urban areas in England and Wales. By 1710, the statistics for charity schools in and around London were as follows: number of schools, 88; boys taught, 2,181; girls, 1,221; boys put out to apprentices, 967; girls, 407. By the 19th century, English elementary schools were predominantly charity schools.

The establishment, in the nineteenth-century, of a public school system in New York meant that the role of the charity school had come to an end.[ citation needed ]

Blue coat schools in order of foundation

SchoolDate of FoundationNotes
Christ's Hospital, Horsham1552Independent boarding school. The oldest surviving Bluecoat school.
Blue Coat Boys' School1574Housed in the Poor Priest's Hospital in Canterbury, which later became Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and Simon Langton Girl's Grammar School
Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, Clifton, Bristol1586Also known as The City School
Norwich School for Poor Boys, Norwich 1617Also known as the Anguish School, founded by bequest by Thomas Anguish, former mayor of the city.
Reading Blue Coat School 1646Secondary school founded by Richard Aldworth.
Blue Coat School, Basingstoke1646Founded by Richard Aldworth.
Old Swinford Hospital, Stourbridge 1667State boarding school
The King's Hospital or Blue Coat School, Dublin 1669
Greenwich Blue Coat Girls' School 1700A girls' charity school
St Mary's School, Banbury 1705A primary school founded as Bluecoat School
York Bluecoat School 1705
Leeds Charity School1705 [1]
Nottingham Bluecoat School 1706A church school
Liverpool Blue Coat School 1708A grammar school
Nantwich Blue Cap School <1712
Tenison's School, Croydon 1714
Coventry Blue Coat Church of England School 1714A comprehensive school
Stanhope School 1715Merged with the Addey School in 1894
Birmingham Blue Coat School 1722An independent junior prep school
Bluecoat Primary School & Nursery, Stamford, Lincolnshire 18th
The Blue Coat School, Oldham 1834
The Blue Coat School, Dudley 1869Closed in 1989.
Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School 1973.
Pilton Bluecoat C of E Primary School A junior school in Devon

See also

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