Mike Leader© 2017 All Rights Reserved

A history of Blackheath Bluecoat School


1700 ~ 2014
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The school eventually became a Girls’ Secondary Technical School with an emphasis on Home Economics. Some photographs from 1928 show the girls in a Needlework class wearing a uniform which seems little changed from the early days of the school.


The Head Mistress during the 1930s was Miss Agnes Ward. There is little information about her in the School Archives.


Miss Ward is mentioned in an undated Newspaper cutting headed “BLUE COAT SCHOOL - HISTORIC LOCAL INSTITUTION” which reports on an Exhibition of Work at the School. The exhibition was opened by Rear-Admiral Laurence R. Oliphant, who was the superintendent of the Royal Hospital School, Greenwich from 1922 to 1933. He became a Rear-Admiral in 1926, thus dating the report to the period 1926 to 1933. Sir Frank Dyson, the Astronomer Royal from 1910 to 1933 and a trustee of the school, presided at the event. The article states that “The school, which provides a thorough training for domestic service of a higher sort, accommodates 48 girls, 20 of whom are annually drawn, by nomination, from the borough of Greenwich. While about two-thirds of the instruction is devoted to housecraft and its kindred subjects, the students receive tuition in English and general knowledge.”


Agnes Ward was born  11 September 1887 and died 11 March 1987. An announcement in a local paper read:


 “March 11. Ward. At Brockholt Residential Home, Hythe, Kent.

Agnes Ward in her 100th Year peacefully after a short illness. Remembered with affection as headmistress of the Blue Coat Girls’ School, Greenwich.

Saltwood Parish Church 24 March 1987.”


There are a complete set of admission forms in the School Archives for the period 1927 - 1943.


I


Greenwich Blue Coat Girls’ School 1928

Rose Ellen Boniface was admitted to the school on 22 April 1931 (aged 14) and was there for two years until February 1933. She took up a position as a parlour maid in the home of the Hon. Mrs Brassey of Bentley Square at the wages of £24 per annum. She went on to have a very long and successful career in the Civil Service, working at one time in the private office of the Home Secretary.


Her daughter writes of her, “Although she rarely spoke of her past in any way, including any mention of her family, she had spoken of her time at the Blue Coat School, frequently maintaining they were the happiest days of her life. She made particular mention of the hymn, ‘The Day Thou Gavest’, and this was my choice at her funeral in 2002. I have often wondered how she achieved this transformation from the obviously poor background of her origins but now firmly believe this was instigated by her short time at the Blue Coat School and the emphasis she then placed on a good education.”

Happiest days of her life

Needlework Class 1928

Drill 1928

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