Mike Leader© 2017 All Rights Reserved

A history of Blackheath Bluecoat School


1700 ~ 2014
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Hannah Elizabeth Raine - the story of one Blue Coat girl admitted to the school in 1885


The Ladies’ Committee 1908 - 1912

In 1899 the treasurer warned that there was “a great reduction in income” and it was agreed to dismiss the governess and send the girls to Holy Trinity Church of England School. The Matron was kept on and the school effectively became a sort of Orphanage.

Greenwich Blue Coat Girls’ School 1871-1908 Badly behaved school mistress

A fascinating letter was sent to George Airy by his son, Herbert, on 9th August 1871. He was writing on behalf of his sister, Christabel, who was a member of the Ladies Committee.


The Ladies asked if Airy thought it proper that Miss Luxford, the School Mistress, should go in full evening dress, including a white opera cloak, from the School House to a public concert and ball at the Lecture Hall. Apparently she took singing lessons from a Mr Montague Smith, which culminated annually in a public concert.



“The Ladies opine that this conduct on Miss Luxford’s part is gayer than befits her position as  mistress of the Blue Coat Girls’ School, where she ought to be, and is expected to be, the pattern and exemplar of all that is sober and decorous.”

Airy replied to Christabel on 11 August 1871, suggesting that Miss Luxford should be admonished by the Ladies. He warned that they should be prepared for further consequences

“From Miss Luxford’s countenance, I should think it not unlikely that further difficulties may follow an admonition”

Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-1892)

was a Fellow of Trinity College,

Cambrdige and a Professor of

Mathematics and Asronomy. He was

appointed Astronomer Royal in 1835

and held the position until he retired in

1881. A trustee of the Blue Coat Girls’

School during the 1860s and 1870s,  he was very active on the school’s behalf, trying to sort out the financial position and in 1867 published “Statement on the History and Position of the Blue Coat Girls’ School, Greenwich”, which gave details of school’s history and appealed for more voluntary financial support for the school. After he retired in 1881 he lived with his daughter, Christabel Airy in the White House on Crooms Hill. Christabel was a leading member of the Ladies’ Committee for many years. She was an amateur water colour painter. In 1865 and she painted a picture which shows the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park which is in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.  She died in 1917

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School Report 1901