London School Board / LCC Day Industrial School, Poplar, London
On September 12th, 1901, the London School Board's Day Industrial School at Brunswick Road, Poplar, was formally certified to begin operation. The Day Industrial School provided a compromise between the residential Industrial School and the ordinary day school. Magistrates could order children to attend a Day Industrial School, and it was most commonly used for those whose family or other circumstances had resulted in their inadequate attendance at an ordinary school. Poplar was the Board's second such School and followed the successful results obtained at its Drury Lane establishment. The first superintendent was Mr J.W. March who was appointed on 26th August, 1901. On the same date, Miss M.A.J. Boon and Miss M.M. Ryley were appointed as head and assistant teachers respectively.
The Poplar School, which occupied a former elementary school building, could accommodate up to 150 children. The establishment provided all of each child's meals, together with education and industrial training. It operated between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (with a half-day on Saturday) although the children would arrive as early as six in the morning could play in the playground up until breakfast time. After breakfast and the morning ablutions, school work and industrial occupations took place in parallel until midday. The next half hour was devoted to drill and gymnastics, followed by a period of play, then dinner and a little more play. The afternoon followed a similar pattern except that those who had been doing school lessons in the morning were now occupied in industrial activity, and vice versa.
The boys at the School received instruction in woodworking and shoemaking. The girls received training in sewing, laundry and house work. The older girls were given instruction in cookery. Physical exercise also formed part of the daily curriculum for both boys and girls. A boys' drum and fife band was introduced in 1903. In the same year, the whole school stayed at the seaside for two weeks in July. During the winter, evening entertainments were organised.
One of the chief attractions of the School was the food provided. The dinners consisted of roast or stewed meat with vegetables two or three times a week, pudding twice, and fish on Fridays. The food was not, however, free of charge. The court order committing a child to attend the School specified the amount parents were required to pay, which varied from 6d. to 2s. a week.
On May 1st, 1904, control of the School passed to the London County Council who took over the work of the London School Board on that date.
Mr March resigned as superintendent on February 28th, 1906, in order to take charge of the Industrial School at Mayford. The head teacher, Miss Boon, was promoted to succeed him.
The Poplar School was officially closed on April 14th, 1909. The buildings no longer survive.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- The Ancestry UK website has two collections of London workhouse records (both name searchable):
- The Find My Past website has workhouse / poor law records for Westminster.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. Holdings include: Admission and discharge registers (1904-09); Committee minutes (1904-09).
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Mahood, Linda Policing Gender, Class and Family: Britain, 1850-1940 (1995, Univeristy of Alberta Press)
- Prahms, Wendy Newcastle Ragged and Industrial School (2006, The History Press)
- None noted at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.