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A history of the Greenwich Blue Coat Schools

1700 ~ 2014
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The St John’s National Church of England School was the first Church School in the Blackheath area. The Girl’s department seems to date from 1854 and was located in a building in Russell Place (now Reynolds Place) which included two small houses. These were let to teachers and one eventually  to the caretaker. By the early 1900s there was an Infant’s Department in the same building. A Boy’s department had opened in 1883 in a more modern Mission Hall which was also used for services on Sunday.

In February 1907 the Boy’s School closed. The LCC (London County Council) ceased to maintain it because it was not satisfied with the facilities of the building. The Council threatened to do the same with the Girl’s School unless the School Managers drew up a scheme of extensive improvements for the Girl’s and Infant’s School building. There followed negotiations between the Managers, Architects and the LCC, but it was decided not to go ahead with renovations and plans were made to build a new school on a strip of land given by Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson.

A meeting of the Subscribers and Friends of the School was held on 7 January 1908 chaired by the Rev’d J. W. Marshall, Vicar of St Johns, Blackheath and Chairman of the Managers. He set out the position and informed the meeting that the Bishop of Southwark was “heartily with them, and had offered to take the chair at a public meeting.” Mr Marshall said that the new school should accommodate 400 children - boys, girls and infants. He said he was informed that the cost would be about £5000, and they might expect to get grants of £1600, leaving £3400 to raise. The chairman of the LCC Education Committee was sympathetic to the scheme, providing that suitable repairs could be made to the old school so that it could continue to be used during the erection of the new school. Resolutions were passed that the scheme should go ahead. A Conference of Clergy, Churchwardens and the Managers of the St John’s National School was arranged under the presidency of Dr Talbot, Bishop of Southwark, on Friday 14th February 1908. It was agreed to call a meeting of  the Churchmen of Blackheath.


A Meeting to be held at

The Concert Hall, on Friday evening, March 13th,

At 8.30 o’clock.

The Bishop of Southwark will preside,




Canon MAPLESDEN (Diocesan Inspector),


CHARLES STONE, Esq. (Late Mayor of Greenwich),

And Others.

         We confidently hope that our fellow Churchmen will

Make a great effort to secure for the Working Classes of the

Neighbourhood the right which we ourselves possess to have

Our children instructed in the Faith which we believe and

hold so dear.

J. W. MARSHALL, Vicar of St John’s,

H. S. HANCOCK,   Churchwardens.


A. E. BARNES-LAWRENCE, Vicar of St. Michael’s,

J. B. KEITH, Churchwardens.


J. W. MORRIS, Rector of St. James’ Kidbrook,

M. ERNEST HILLIER, Churchwardens.


J. F. KENDALL. Incumbent of St. Germans,

EDW. PEMBROKE, Churchwardens.




 The public meeting was duly held and the Committee for the Preservation of Religious Education, Blackheath was formed of the clergy and churchwardens of the four churches, the Managers of the National Schools of St. John’s, Blackheath and a long list of local worthies. Appeal letters were sent out to the congregations of the churches and a Ladies’ Committee was formed.