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Early Charity Schools

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

a) EARLY CHARITY SCHOOLS: The earliest known school in the town appears to have been in existence in 1581 when William Cartwright was licensed as a schoolmaster by the Bishop of Chichester. In 1665 a ‘freescoole’ was recorded, and in 1702 the Revd Anthony Springett founded a free school in the Bartholomews but it ceased at an unknown date. In 1769 another free school was founded in what is now Meeting House Lane, opposite Union Street, by the bequest of William Grimmett, a former Springett pupil. Springett’s School itself was revived in 1805, and these two free schools amalgamated in 1818 as a NationalSchool which moved to a new building in Church Street in 1829, the Central National Schools (see also “Church Street“). (The Church of England National Society for the Education of the Poor was formed in 1811.) {1,15,18,122,296a}
Another early school was the Union Charity School in Middle Street. The boys’ school was established in 1807 by Edward Goff and was joined by a girls’ school in 1809. Both were supported by public subscription and children of all denominations were taught. These schools were later taken over by the school board and then the corporation, but were demolished in February 1973 and replaced by the MiddleStreetPrimary School. {123,206}
Many proprietary schools for the wealthy were established in the nineteenth century and Brighton was even dubbed ‘School Town’ {2,25}, but a minority of poor children went to charity schools such as the National and Union Schools mentioned above; also to the British and Foreign Schools Society in Eastern Road (1828); Duke Street Charity Schools (1817 for T.R.Kemp); the Puget Schools in Clarence Yard (1861); the Ragged Schools Union in Carlton Street, Dorset Street (1855), Essex Street, George Street (1853), and Spa Street; and the Wesleyan Schools in Nelson Row. {83,275a}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

The National School, Church Road, date unknown
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

Comments about this page

  • I have this exact same print at home. It was found at Emmaus, Portslade by my Mother. The date on the building in the print is 1830. The Rev. Henry Michell Wagner, to whom the print is dedicated, was Vicar of Brighton 1824-70. He was the father of Rev. Arthur Wagner, who became a central figure in the Oxford Movement and who instructed a number churches in Brighton with the intention of restoring an Anglo-Catholic tradition of worship, including the Church of the Annunciation, St Bartholomew’s and St Michael and All Angels. Henry Michell Wagner instructed the building of St Paul’s Church, West Street, where his Son, Arthur, served his curacy.

    By deborah newman (29/04/2013)

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