In all the years that we have lived in East London, I have – shamefully – never been to the Ragged School Museum which is normally open only two days a week, apart from the first Sunday of the month. Today is the first Sunday of the month.
The warehouse was apparently built in 1872 for a lime juice merchant, but was taken over in 1876 by Dr. Barnardo as one of his ragged day schools, which offered church services, Bible and sewing classes to the local poor. His Sunday School was said to be attended by 1500 children, with the added incentive of ‘lentil or pea souo and bread varied occasionally by rice and prunes or haricot beans’. Not long afterwards he bought the local pub and turned it into a Coffee Palace.
It was packed:-