Ladies' Charity School, London
The Ladies' Charity School was founded in 1702 as an adjunct to the existing Ladies (or Ladyes) Hospital at Highgate. It stood on the site of the Old Hall next to the village green. An early description of the establishment recorded that:
Dr Johnson and Mrs Thrale were subscribers to the School, and Johnson drew from it his story of Betty Broom, in The Idler. The charity was also supported by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK).
In 1827, the School was operating at 37 King Street, Snow Hill, near Smithfield Market. By the 1850s, it had moved to 30 John Street, Bedford Row. In 1853, the School's operation was described as follows:
This School receives 51 girls, children of Protestant parents, from all parts of the United Kingdom, offering an asylum especially to the offspring of such as have been plunged, by the vicissitudes of life, from a state of competence and respectability, into the depths of adversity. Its advantages are not restricted to orphans. Of the children now in the School, some have lost both parents, others are fatherless, some motherless ; the insanity or death of a mother renders girls of tender age as much objects of compassion as any that can be conceived.
The children are received between the ages of 8 and 10. They are educated, clothed, and wholly maintained until the age of 14; they receive a useful English education, and are taught the doctrines of the Church of England. The number of subscribers to the School is at present inadequate to support it, and under these circumstances an appeal is made to those who take an interest in the welfare of the young; who wish to see them trained to do their duty in that station of life in which it has pleased God to call them. The assistance of Ladies is especially solicited upon the ground that this is emphatically a Ladies' Charity — it was founded by Ladies — is under the entire superintendence of Ladies — and every lady subscriber has free access to the School-house at pleasure. There is no other Institution similarly conducted, and the greatest good arises to the children from thus being placed under the care of those who arc so well able to understand and minister to their wants.
Supported by Voluntary Contributions.
Annual Subscription ..... £1 1s. | Life Subscription ..... £10 10s.
Elections take place half-yearly — on the last Tuesdays in April and October — when every subscriber is entitled to as many votes as there may be children to be then admitted.
By 1881, the School had relocated to 22 Queen Square, then two years later its was based at Powis House, 16 Powis Gardens, Notting Hill. Its object was now stated as being 'to educate and maintain daughters of respectable parents who have seen better days.' Admission was now by election, or immediately on payment of £105. Certificates were required of each candidate's baptism and the marriage of their parents. 'Diseased, deformed, or infirm' children were ineligible for admission. A payment of £2. 18s. was required at admission. The inmates were educated for domestic service. They remained in the School until they were 15, when they were provided with situations.
In 1919, the School was taken over by the Church Army and became a training home for girls aged 14 to 18.
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- None identfied at present — any information welcome.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- None identified at present.
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