I was absolutely convinced that I had previously shared with you the tale of the bluecoats following our fascinating walk beside the River Thames, however searching back through my walk posts it seems I was distracted by Captain Kidd, the despicable Judge Jefferys and a super yacht! Still it means I get to tell the tale today.

The school is located on Scandrett Street, just off Wapping High Street, in east London and was founded in the late 17th century by St John’s Church. London clergy and layman at the time were actively encouraging parishes to provide education for paupers and orphans, you can read more about some of the societies here.

Before you get too impressed by the fact both boys and girls were admitted to this one; the children were segregated, there were always fewer places for girls and the teaching was quite different. Teaching for boys focused on religious reading and writing, and also practical skills to enable them to seek apprenticeships. Girls, on the other hand, received far less academic teaching as the emphasis for them was on sewing and spinning, and being trained for domestic service.

The statutes highlight how as with many charity schools there was a uniform for both boys and girls attending the school, a way of distinguishing them from their peers. I haven’t been able to find out when the school closed, but as these London Picture Archive photographs show it was derelict for at least 30 years in the 20th century. These days it looks rather splendid, as thankfully it was saved rather than knocked down. There was a complete refurbishment in the late 1990s, and the building was transformed into two homes. One – not the one with the golden retriever looking out – is currently for sale. They are looking for offers in excess of £2.5 million for three bedrooms of which two are in the basement and there’s no toilet on ground floor or 1st floor. You have to go to basement or second floor for that. You’d think for £2.5 million you would get more! Check out the brochure.

150 thoughts

  1. We need a reminder of what education means and how far we’ve come. We don’t want to slip back into the limited possibilities that it used to offer, yet we also need to appreciate that in the day education still offered more possibilities than no education. We can’t judge history by hindsight. We can exploit it, as someone obviously is trying to do. Great share today, Becky. Here is mine. https://tchistorygal.net/2021/04/16/becky-bs-squares-roses-to-brighten-your-day/


  2. One of my favourite places in Liverpool when I was a student was the Bluecoat Chambers in the centre of town where I could sit by the little garden and eat me butty in peace. 🙂 I imagine that must have been the same organisation. Fancy making two homes out of a building like that. You haven’t shown it all, but the Liverpool building is very grand. Here’s my post for today:

    BrightSquare: Mixing Tulips


      1. Oh. The Liverpool one is well worth a peep if you’re ever up there. The area behind it has changed enormously so I always feel lucky it has been preserved for the city.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting, Becky. I can see I’ll have to go and take a peak. From the outside only, as my funds don’t stretch to even buying a window!
    Funnily enough, I’ve been doing research into Bluecoats as well. The one set up at Christchurch in London moved to Hertford, probably during the Plague (the old one, not COVID!) but closed down in 1985, moving the girls to Horsham, to join the boys who had moved there about 80 years earlier.
    I’ll do a post about Hertford soon, to join your Wapping one. Much of the girls school buildings are still there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooh what a small word with you researching other Blue Coats, and that Margaret went to a Grey Coats one!

      Like you not sure we could even afford a window. Just find it amazing how few bathrooms and toilets – they have quite nice decor though if you look at the brochure!!


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