1902 Encyclopedia > London > Elementary Schools; Grammar Schools; Higher Education

(Part 23)


Elementary Schools. Grammar Schools. Higher Education.

Until the constitution of a School Board for London I 1870, the only special organizations for providing education to the poorer classes in London were the British and Foreign School Society, founded in 1808, and the National Society, founded in 1811. Many of the parish schools became amalgamated with those of the National Society, but the united efforts of these societies, and also of the Church of England, of the different denominations, and of various promiscuous charitable institutions, failed to completely to meet the necessities of the rapidly increasing population, that in 1851 the total number of scholars attending public schools was only 167,298, and that in 1871 the returns of the voluntary schools showed that there was accommodation for only 262,259 children, or 39 per cent. the estimated population of school age. By October 1881 the School Board had supplied accommodation for 236,024 children, which with that in voluntary schools, gives a total number of places sufficient for 502,095 children, in addition to which schools are in the process of erection for upwards of 100,000 more. Up to August 1881, 6838 children were sent to industrial schools at the instance of the board, and the board now possesses three industrial schools under its own management. The total number of children attending workhouse, separate union, and parochial and district schools inn 1880 was 35,223, the amount paid to teachers in these school being 37,110 pounds. The total expenditure of the School Board for the year ending 25gh march 1881 was 1,236,360 pounds. The amount paid by rating authorities in 1881-82 was 676,579 pounds, the rate in the pound being 6.15d, a less rather than that for 1880-81, which was 6.28d., but in all probability there may for some years be a slight increase. The average cost of the 3129 teachers in 1880 was 123 pounds. the gross cost per child has risen from 2 pounds, 4s 9d. in 1874 to 2 pounds, 17s. 1d. in 1881, but there will probably be a considerable diminution when the schools become all fully occupied throughout a whole year. The following table (XXIV.) gives a comparison of cost between the board schools and other schools of London and England in 1880:-


Fitzstephen mentions that in his time the three principal churches possessed by ancient privilege and dignity celebrated schools, and that other schools were permitted on sufferance. The churches referred to are supposed by Slow to have been St Paul’s Cathedral, St Peter’s at Westminster, and St Savior’s, Bermondsey, in Southwark. The various other priories and religions houses which were afterwards founded had each its school, though of less fame than the earlier ones. On account of the suppression of the alien priorities and religious houses by Henry V. Henry VI in 1445 founded grammar schools at St Martin’s-le-Bow, St Dunstan’s in the West, and St Anthony’s, and in the following year others in St Andrew’s, Holborn, All Hallows the Great St. Peter’s, Cornhill, and in the hospital of St Thomas of Acon. The custom of school isputations mentioned by Fitzstephen was continued till the time of Stow, who states that they were restrained on account of the quarrels between the boys of St Paul’s and St Anthony’s. In his time the principal, schools "repairing to these exercises" were St Paul’s, St Peter’s (Westminster), St Thomas of Acon, and St Anthony’s. the last-named, which commonly presented the best scholars, and at which Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor Heath, and Archbishop Whitgift received their education, had, however, latterly greatly decayed. Up to the time of the dissolution of the monasteries education in England had been in the hands of the religious houses, but, though many of the grammar schools in London were then discontinued, several were re-erected and re-endowed, and others were added in subsequent year. Of these schools there are now existing St Paul’s St Peter’s (Westminster), Christ’s Hospital (Blue Coat School), Merchant Taylors’ School, Charterhouse, Mercers’ School, and the City of London School.

St Paul’s School, St Paul’s Churchyard, was re-established in 1512 by Dean Colet, for the free education of one hundred and fifty-three poor children, and was endowed with lands whose original annual value was 122, pounds 4s. 7 1/2d., but which now yield nearly 6000 pounds yearly. The board of governors consists of thirteen members chosen by the Mercers’ Company and nine nominated by the universities. Vacancies on the foundation are filled up by competition, and the school fee for the scholars is 20 pounds. the course of study, which formerly was chiefly classical, is now specially designed to prepare for the army examinations. The side of the school will soon be changed to West Kensington, where grounds to the extent of 16 acres have been purchased.

St Peter’s School, Westminster, re-endowed by Queen Elizabeth in 1560, provides for 40 queen’s scholars on the foundation; and the school is also attended by about 180 day pupils. Besides six junior exhibitions tenable at school, there are eight exhibitions to Oxford or Cambridge. The management of the school is regulated by the Public Schools’ Act of 1868. The school, which is in the Dean’s Yard, was formerly the dormitory of the monks of the abbey.

Christ’s Hospital (Blue Coat School), Newgate Street, founded by Edward VI. In 1533 on the site of the monastery of Greyfriars, has an annual income of over 60,000 pounds, and the number of children on the foundation is about 1180, including 440 at the preparatory school at Hertford, of whom 90 are girls. The school is under the management of a court of governors, to which any one may be admitted on payment of a donation of 500 pounds. the education is chiefly commercial, but four boys are annually sent to the universities. The boys still retain their ancient dress, as well as several peculiar privileges.

Merchant Taylor’s School, which was formerly situated in Suffolk Lane, but in 1875 was removed to the Charterhouse, was founded by the Merchant Taylors’ Company in 1561, and provides for the education of 500 boys annually on payment of 12 guineas in he lower school, and 15 guineas in the upper. The site of the present building was purchased for about 90,000 pounds, and the new school-house cost 30,000 pounds. The rooms of the pensioners of Charterhouse remain entire, as well as the chapel of the date 1512, the master’s lodge, and the great chamber, the interior of which is a very fine specimen of Elizabeth work.

Charterhouse, formerly a Carthusian monastery and afterwards the seat of the Howards, was purchased by Sir Thomas Sutton, and in 1611 endowed as a school. On the foundation 80 pensioners are maintained at Charterhouse, and 60 scholars at the school at Godalming, where it was removed in 1872.

The Mercer’s Grammar School, Collegiate Hill, Dowgate, was originally attached to the hospital of St Thomas of Acon, which was sold in 1522 to the Mercer’s Company on condition that they maintained the school. Of the 180 scholars 25 are free.

For the City of London School, founded by the City corporation in 1835, at Milk Street, Cheapside, to supply education to sons of respectable persons, a new building is in course of erection on the Thames embankment. There are preparatory schools in connection with University College and King’s College. The University of London, Burlington Gardens, instituted in 1836, and removed in 1869 to its present building in the Italian Renaissance style, is a mere examining body for conferring degrees. University College, Gower Street, founded in 1828 on undenominational principle, supplies instruction in all the branches of education-including engineering and the fine arts-that are taught in universities, with the exception of theology, and is attended by over 1500 students. The buildings, the chief feature of which is the Corinthian portico at the main entrance surmounted by a dome, were enlarged by a wing in 1881, and contain a large library, and the Flaxman gallery, with original models by Flaxman. King’s College, erected by Smirke in 1828, and forming the east wing of Somerset House. provides similar instruction to University College, but with the addition of theorlogy, and in connection with the Church of England. At Gresham College, founded in 1597 by Sir Thomas Gresham, and removed to its present building in Basinghall Street in 1843, lectures are given on law, divinity, the science, music, and medicine. The lectures of the London Society for the Extension of University Teaching have been instrumental in stimulating to some degree general interest in literary and scientific subjects, and in 1881 were attended by 3030 persons. The legal lectures in connection with the Inns of Court are noticed in the article Inns of Court, vol. xiii. p. 68 sq.

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