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A history of the Greenwich Blue Coat Schools

1700 ~ 2014
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To clothe and maintain, free of all charge, orphan girls of Greenwich and to give them a sound education and training in domestic subjects to enable them to gain their livelihood in service when they leave the school.


Girls born in Greenwich-children of respectable married people are eligible for admission between the ages of 7 and 9. Application should be made in the first instance to the Hon. Secretary, Miss Fearon, Holy Trinity Vicarage, Blackheath Hill, for an Application Form, which, when fully filled, in, must be returned to her, and if the Com­mittee consider the case likely to be suitable, the mother or guardian will be asked to bring the child before the Committee.

No child, however suitable, can be admitted unless her mother or guardian signs an agreement to allow her to remain in the School till the age of 16, and then to be placed in service by the Committee.

Children must however be removed at any time if the Committee consider it advisable.


The girls attend Holy Trinity Day Schools till the age of 14, from the age of 11 they begin to take a share in the work of the house, and after the age of 14 they receive a thorough training in cooking, housework, needlework and laundry work.

On Sundays the girls attend Holy Trinity Church and Sunday Schools.

Every effort is made to make their lives thoroughly happy and to ensure their moral and physical welfare.

Girls are placed in service at the age of 16, or at an earlier age if the Committee consider it advisable.

An excellent outfit is given to girls when placed in service (but it is not given if a girl is removed from the School for any reason).

Two rewards of 10/- each are given to old girls at the completion of their first and second year in service if they receive a satisfactory report from their employer.


Parents and friends may visit the children as a rule on the first Thursday in every month from 6 to 7 p.m. The children are allowed a whole day home two or three times during the year.

Greenwich Blue Coat Girls’ School 1913 Annual Report 1913 (Page 3) School Matron

The Committee wish to express their appreciation of Miss Sneyd’s capable management of the School during the year; this appreciation is shared too by the girls and their mothers, who, in conjunction with the Under-Matron, presented Miss Sneyd with a silver-plated teapot on Christmas Day as a “token of their appreciation of her loving kindness.”

Miss Emily Sneyd, aged 38, was appointed Matron at a special Committee Meeting held on 19 May 1908. Her salary was £32.10s per annum, rising by £2.10s a year to £40. She replaced Miss Elizabeth Howarth, then aged 52, who had served as Matron for over 24 years. She signed a note in the Expenses Book in 1884. Her predecessor, Miss Jane Luxford, appears on the 1881 census return for the school.

Miss Sneyd took up her position on 22 June 1908. Her arrival seems to have triggered some bad behaviour on the part of the girls and there were also untrue rumours being spread by some of the mothers. The Committee minutes of 14 July 1908 note that Mrs Helen Bayne, who was the Secretary and wife of The Rev’d Ronald Bayne (Vicar of Holy Trinity Church) had “investigated the cause of the complaint” and seen a number of the mothers. “A letter was read from the six elder girls expressing regret for their conduct, and a promise to do better in the future and be more obedient to their Matron. It was thought that the trouble at the home would soon be over now.”  Mrs Bayne resigned in October 1908 because she and her husband were moving from the neighbourhood to a new parish in Camberwell.