Ancestry UK

King Edward Industrial School, Mile End New Town, London

The King Edward Ragged School of Industry was founded in 1846 at Albert (now Deal) Street, Mile End New Town, London E1. Its object was the education and training of poor children, with both day and evening schools being provided as well as a Sunday school. In 1857, the average daily attendance was 360 children.

The children at the School were treated to an annual outing, funded for many years by Mr Henry Edmund Gurney. In 1857, they travelled by train to a rural beauty spot at The Avenue, Wanstead. Over 600 and children and 250 of their parents were 'regaled with an excellent dinner and tea.'

In 1853, the school were supplemented by the opening of a residential home, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Refuge, with accommodation for about 40 destitute and neglected girls. The girls were trained if the various aspects of domestic service including the washing, mending and repairing clothes, and the ironing and mangling of linen. In addition to these domestic duties, they were taught straw bonnet and hat making.

On February 15th, 1872, the establishment was certified as an Industrial School with accommodation for up 100 girls, aged from 6 to 16. In addition to girls committed by magistrates, a few children of 'vicious and criminal parents' were received free as voluntary cases. The superintendent was Miss Emma Dunkinson.

As well as classroom education, they were trained in the usual domestic service skills of housework, laundry work, sewing and knitting.

In January, 1875, the School opened a Branch Home at Andrews Road, Cambridge Heath, Hackney. A system was soon adopted whereby Albert Street received the younger girls, who were then transferred to Andrews Road at about the age of 10. Miss Dunkinson, was appointed superintendent of the Andrews Road School, was replaced at Albert Street by Miss Gotto. She, in turn, was succeeded in 1880 by Mrs Emma Clarke, and in 1881 by Miss Elizabeth Crump, who had previously been the schoolmistress.

A report in 1885 noted that the School buildings were in themselves are all that could be wished, well built, thoroughly comfortable, clean, well ventilated, and well drained, with a good playground; but the latter was much overlooked, and the surrounding neighbourhood was of the worst; so much so that the superintendent complained that she could not take the girls outside for a walk without being insulted. A fall in the numbers of girls being placed at the School was also said to be due its location being viewed unfavourably by magistrates. In 1887, it was decided to close the Albert Street School and transfer its operations to Andrews Road.

The Albert Street premises no longer survive.


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