25 March 2014

The Blue Coat Children

Last year I wrote about the early years of the Blue Coat School that stood near St. Philip's church from 1724. In 1769 a local stonemason and sculptor was commissioned to produce two figures to adorn the exterior of the school; one each of a boy and a girl in school uniform, modeled on two real pupils. The sculptor, according to Blue Coat records, was Samuel Grubb, perhaps working with his more well known brother Edward. The statues were originally unpainted; William Hutton noting that they had been executed with a 'degree of excellence that a Roman statuary would not blush to own'.* It was in 1881 that someone thought they needed a lick of paint, just in case you couldn't guess the colour of the uniforms from the name of the school. Underneath the girl was written 'We cannot recompense you, but ye shall be recompensed at the at the resurrection of the just', and beneath the boy was 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it'.*

It is a rather sweet insight into Georgian school life to see the children in their uniforms, and brings the children in the Blue Coat School post to life a little.

Postcard of the Blue Coat School, not long before demolition,
with the statues just in view.

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