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Christ's Hospital

This noble and celebrated establishment is generally known by the name of the Blue Coat School, the title having reference to the costume of the children supported and educated there. The institution is famed for its antiquity, extent, and high character. It owes its establishment to the piety and virtue of that ornament of the British throne, Edward VI. With a mind formed for the exercise of humanity and charity, this excellent prince had the good fortune to have some persons near him who were inclined to direct and expand that deposition. In this particular instance Dr. Ridley, bishop of London, had the singular and enviable felicity of suggesting before the king, in a sermon preached at Westminster, the imperious demands of poverty upon the attention and commiseration of the powerful and rich. The result of their conference was, a general report to the king on the state and condition of the poor, and the best means of relief and reform. They were divided into three classes, the poor by impotency, by casualty, and the thriftless poor. For the innocent and fatherless was provided Christ's Hospital, late the Grey Friars, in London; for the wounded and diseased, the hospitals of St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew; and for the idle and vagabond, Bridewell, where they might he chastised and compelled to labour. Decayed householders, and the poor, afflicted with incurable diseases, were to be relieved at their own homes.

The establishment, as first founded, consisted only of a grammar-school for boys, and a separate school for girls, where they were taught to read, sew, and mark. In addition to these, Charles II. founded a mathematical school and ward, lying on the west part of the hospital, for the instruction of 40 boys in the mathematics, especially in that part of it that respects navigation, and liberally endowed it with l,000l, paid out of the exchequer for seven years. The Lord Mayor and corporation of London are directors and promoters of the institution, and the whole community of Great Britain have the valuable privilege and opportunity of carrying on this glorious work. The contributions made during two centuries and a half cannot be particularised, but their effects are thus abstracted from one of the annual reports ; — Children put forth apprentices, and discharged from Christ's hospital, the year last past, 194; eleven whereof, being instructed in the mathematics and navigation, were placed forth apprentices to commanders of ships, out of the mathematical school, founded by his late majesty Charles II., of blessed memory, &c.

There are generally from 1,000 to 1,200 boys and girls receiving their education, besides being clothed and boarded, in this establishment; and owing to recent inquiries, it is conducted with stricter impartiality than ever. The following is the last annual return:—

Children put forth Apprentices.................. 171

Buried last Year....................................... 12

Children now under care of the Hospital.. 1,190

To be admitted on Presentation................ 130

Source: Leigh's New Picture of London. Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand;
by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819