At The Ragged School Museum
The Ragged School Museum in Bow is a long tall building occupying the narrowest triangular site between the canal and the road, and it is as thin as a meagre slice of cake. In 1876, Dr Thomas Barnardo purchased these premises, originally constructed for warehouses, from a Scottish provisions company and opened a ragged school as one of forty establishments under his supervision in the East End. Within a couple of years, there were three hundred and seventy pupils daily and two thousand five hundred for Sunday school each week.
As well as providing education, children were given food and offered care and support to ameliorate the deprivation they suffered. Reverting to light industrial use after the death of Dr Barnardo at the beginning of the last century, the complex was blighted by a demolition order until the formation of the Ragged School Trust who purchased the building in 1986. An atmospheric structure where the melancholy presence of history still lingers, it is now a museum where school children come to experience Victorian education and learn of the realities of life for the poor in nineteenth century London.
Dr Barnardo’s Ragged School, 1879
Copperfield Rd today
“a long building occupying the narrowest triangular site between the canal and the road, and it is as thin as a meagre slice of cake”
Stairs up to the classrooms
The Boys’ staircase
Behind these screens was the Headmaster’s Office
Bridge over Regent’s Canal
Stairs down to the Regent’s Canal towpath