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A history of Blackheath Bluecoat School


Home. Contact. Greenwich Blue Coat School 1700. School Archives Introduction. St John's National Schools. Blackheath & Kidbrook Schools. Blackheath Bluecoat School . Site Map. 1700
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2014
 Greenwich Blue Coat Girls’ School 1730-1748
Around 1730 the school seems to have hit hard times and its income from subscriptions diminished. In 1748 a new scheme of management was written by a group of ladies. The Minute Book notes:

We whose Names are underwritten being desirous of reviving the school which was in a very drooping condition and putting it upon a better footing than it had ever yet been by taking the girls into the house and boarding of them.

Ten girls aged 9 - 13 were admitted on 9th January 1748 as boarders to join the existing day scholars and to train as servants under a mistress, who was paid £8 a year. The school cost about £285 per year to run and the money was raised by subscriptions, legacies and work taken in by the girls.

At the age of 14 the girls were found positions for a year as servants to families who lived in the large houses around Blackheath and Greenwich. The girls were allowed to take their school clothes with them and if they `behaved themselves well' after six months the school gave them a striped gown and petticoat and 20 shillings. (Note: 20 shillings = £1, an enormous amount of money in the 1700s). If girls lost their position in a house through the death of their mistress or because the family moved away, they were allowed back into the school as domestic assistants until a new position could be found for them.

One of the ladies associated with the revival of the school was Mrs Henrietta Wolfe, who was the mother of General James Wolfe, sometimes known as `The Hero of Quebec'. Later on in 1758 Mrs Wolfe managed to get the Archbishop of Canterbury to preach a sermon on behalf of the school.
Title page from the first Account Book of 1700
School Archives

The school has an extensive collection of archives which contain books, documents, photographs and programmes relating to the whole period of over 300 years of school history.


The oldest items are the first Account Book from 1700 and an Order (Minute) Book covering the period from 1712 to 1758

From the Archives>

Mrs Allen - Mrs Brett - Mrs Clarke - Lady Creed Mrs Ducarel - Mrs Floyd - Mrs Heysham
Mrs Hooker - Lady Molloy - Mrs Newington
Mrs Wolfe
Ladies’ Committee 1748

Entry to the re-organized school was by recommendation from one of Committee of Ladies or from one of those ‘gentlefolk’ who financially supported the school by subscription. The Order Book also reports women petitioning the Committee to admit their daughters. The girls and their mothers were called to a Ladies’ Committee meeting so that they could be examined as to their suitability to join the school. In the event of there being more approved candidates than places lots were drawn to decide who should get a place.


The Committee Minutes of 21st July 1749 record the following memorandum:


Mrs Newington sent a present  of a Silk bagg with ten black & six white Ivory Balls, for ye Girls to draw when they are chose into this School.

Admission Policy 1748