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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.
The Anniversary Meeting of the Charity Children in the Cathedral of St. Paul, 1826
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, 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 statistics for charity schools in and around London were as follows: 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 foundationEdit

School Date of Foundation Notes
Christ's Hospital, Horsham 1552 Independent boarding school. The oldest surviving Bluecoat school.
Blue Coat Boys' School 1574 Housed 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, Bristol 1586 Also known as The City School
Norwich School for Poor Boys, Norwich 1617 Also known as the Anguish School, founded by bequest by Thomas Anguish, former mayor of the city.
Reading Blue Coat School 1646 Secondary school founded by Richard Aldworth.
Blue Coat School, Basingstoke 1646 Founded by Richard Aldworth.
Old Swinford Hospital, Stourbridge 1667
The King's Hospital or Blue Coat School, Dublin 1669
Greenwich Blue Coat Girls' School 1700 A girls' charity school
St Mary's School, Banbury 1705 A primary school founded as Bluecoat School
York Bluecoat School 1705
Leeds Charity School 1705 [1]
Nottingham Bluecoat School 1706 A church school
Liverpool Blue Coat School 1708 A grammar school
Nantwich Blue Cap School <1712
Tenison's School, Croydon 1714
Coventry Blue Coat Church of England School 1714 A comprehensive school
Stanhope School 1715 Merged with the Addey School in 1894
Birmingham Blue Coat School 1722 An independent junior prep school
Bluecoat Primary School & Nursery, Stamford, Lincolnshire 18th
century
The Blue Coat School, Oldham 1834
The Blue Coat School, Dudley 1869 Closed in 1989.
Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School 1973.
Pilton Bluecoat C of E Primary School A junior school in Devon

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