Schools: Raine's Foundation Schools

Pages 312-314

A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1, Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, the Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes To 1870, Private Education From Sixteenth Century. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.

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In or about 1719 (fn. 1) Henry Raine (1679-1738), a London brewer, founded free schools in Fawdon Fields (fn. 2) for 50 boys and 50 girls of the parish of St. George, Wapping. A deed (fn. 3) of 1736 conveying these schools and other property to 46 trustees also sets out Raine's rules for his charity. For a salary of £40 a year the master was to teach all the children the catechism and the boys reading, writing, and arithmetic, while for £20 a year the mistress was to teach the girls reading, knitting, sewing, and the like. The boys were to enter at the age of nine, and after four years at school were to be eligible for apprenticeship grants of £3 each. The girls were to enter at eight and after two years 10 were to be selected annually for transfer to a boarding-school; (fn. 4) here they were to receive domestic training, by their own knitting and sewing earning the salaries of their mistress and cook, and after four years they were to be put out as apprentices or servants. In his will, proved 1738, (fn. 5) Raine expressed the hope that his nephews, for whose sake he had kept himself unmarried, would settle £210 to continue his custom of giving annually two marriage portions to girls chosen by lot. In 1740 the trustees obtained a Chancery decree enabling them to set aside £4,000 from the funds of the foundation to carry out this bequest; sufficient funds had accumulated to permit the holding of the first draw in May 1758. (fn. 6) Raine had stipulated that the privilege should be restricted to six unmarried girls chosen by the trustees each Christmas from applicants who had spent four years in the boarding-school, had attained the age of 22, had been given certificates of good character by their employers, and were intending to marry local men of good repute. The weddings and the draws for the next portion took place on 1 May and 5 November; the school marched in procession to the church, the extra £5 provided a breakfast for the bridal party, the girls sang odes traditional to the occasion, and the trustees and other notabilities attended a dinner at which subscriptions were solicited. (fn. 7)

The girls in the boarding-school were kept entirely separate from their parents who had to relinquish to the trustees the placing of the children when their four years were finished. The outer gate was to be kept locked, no girl was to go out on errands or to get medical relief, and holidays were restricted to four days taken at Christmas, Easter, Whitsun, and Bartholomewtide. (fn. 8) In 1803 it was decided that any girl spoken to by a relative or friend on her way to or from church was to lose her next holiday and to be expelled if the offence were repeated. (fn. 9) Twenty years later the trustees ordered an inquiry into the 'frequent elopements', and allowed the matron to increase the holidays as a reward for good conduct, (fn. 10) but in 1829 the holidays were again restricted to one day a quarter. (fn. 11) In 1844 following complaints of insubordination nine girls were expelled and six absconded, (fn. 12) and between 1870 and 1872 fifteen girls were expelled, four absconded, and twelve were removed. (fn. 13) Sewing occupied much of the girls' time, (fn. 14) but in 1753 and again in 1783 the schoolmaster was ordered to visit the boarding-school to teach writing. (fn. 15) In 1771 the mistress was allowed a gratuity of five guineas on account of the deficiency in the children's earnings, (fn. 16) and in 1808 the trustees expressed displeasure with a dozen girls whose idleness was proved by the smallness of the sums set against their names in the work bill. (fn. 17) The boys worked also, making nets two days a week; one master, indeed, on taking up his post, agreed to a deduction of five guineas from his salary as a fee for instruction in braiding. (fn. 18)

The administration of the charity had been hindered from the first by the defective provisions of the original trust, but these difficulties were overcome by a private Act (fn. 19) in 1780 which incorporated the trustees. The extension of the London Docks at the beginning of the 19th century seriously affected the future prospects of the foundation as it involved the compulsory sale of property which later would have yielded an increased revenue, and by changing the character of the neighbourhood it caused many of the subscribers to move away. In 1818 there were 50 boys and 50 girls in the old school; most of the boys were apprenticed on leaving, but there were only 27 girls in the boardingschool and all the buildings were in bad repair. (fn. 20) A National school was held in the hall and the children were educated with Raine's scholars; in 1818-19 the National school was allowed to erect new buildings on foundation land rented at £2 a year. (fn. 21)

In 1848-9 the trustees were sharply divided over a proposal to dismiss the schoolmaster who had not merely seduced his deceased wife's sister but had subsequently married her. He escaped with a severe censure, (fn. 22) but was forced to resign in 1852 for the still greater offence of insolvency. (fn. 23) The antiritualist riots at St. George's Church caused the children to attend Christ Church from September 1859 to February 1861. (fn. 24)

Since the construction of the London docks the schools had been virtually separated from the parish. In 1875 the boys' school was moved to more centrally-situated premises in Cannon Street Road, where it became a public elementary school. (fn. 25) Five years later the Middlesex School Society (founded 1784) was incorporated into Raine's Foundation; this enabled the girls to be moved into the former Middlesex school in Cannon Street Road. (fn. 26) In 1883 the boarding-school was closed, an economy which enabled the governors to build a new girls' school on the east side of Cannon Street Road; the existing girls' school on the other side of the road was then adapted for the use of the boys. (fn. 27) The buildings on the original site were sold, but the figures of the boy and girl and Raine's motto, 'Come in and do your duty to God and man', were preserved and may still be seen at the schools.

In the 1890's the governors decided that as the London School Board was providing efficient and free elementary education the future of Raine's schools lay in secondary education. The boys' school was recognized as a secondary school in 1897 and the girls' in 1904. (fn. 28) The existing premises soon proved inadequate, and in 1913 the schools were moved to new buildings in Arbour Square. (fn. 29) The change in the status and character of the schools was very largely the result of almost half-a-century's devoted effort by R. S. Taylor, headmaster 1875- 1922; the standards he set were adopted by Miss Maude Grier, headmistress of the girls' school 1909-29. (fn. 30) Their work was continued by A. Wilkinson Dagger (1922-49) and Miss M. B. Haugh (1930-55). In 1951 both schools were granted voluntary aided status. In 1959 there were 500 boys and over 400 girls in attendance, but in the 1960's Raine's suffered the decline in numbers common to all Stepney secondary schools. (fn. 31) In 1963 the Minister of Education signed an order establishing one coeducational Raine's school.


  • 1. Date is so given in Raine's will, P.C.C. 131 Brodrepp; the archives of the school are extensive and well-kept.
  • 2. On east side of Old Gravel Lane (renamed Wapping Lane). In 1958 a small turning off Raine Street (formerly Charles Street) retained the name of Farthing Fields.
  • 3. Copy of an Indenture of Release of several Freehold and Leasehold Premises from the late Mr. Henry Raine (1748); copy at schools.
  • 4. Known as Raine's Hospital, Raine's Asylum, or, more popularly, the Hundred Pound School.
  • 5. P.C.C. 131 Brodrepp.
  • 6. Trustees' Minute Bk. i. 364-5, 368; Lond. Mag. Apr. 1758, 191-2.
  • 7. Full account in Raine's Foundation- Its Origin, History, Aims and Needs, copies at schools. The Revd. Harry Jones, himself sometime rector and chairman of the trustees, describes the ceremony and some of its problems in East and West London, 194-7. Latterly the celebration sometimes took the form of an outing to the Crystal Palace. The lot table and canister are preserved at the schools. The last and 164th award was in 1892.
  • 8. Trustees' Min. Bk. i. 223, 220, 317-18, 340, 168.
  • 9. Ibid. iii. 211.
  • 10. Ibid. 460.
  • 11. Ibid. iv. 31-32.
  • 12. Ibid. 359-63.
  • 13. Ibid. vi. 49-180 passim.
  • 14. Ibid. i. 137; ii. 313.
  • 15. Ibid. i. 378, 380; ii. 374.
  • 16. Ibid. i. 232.
  • 17. Ibid. 291.
  • 18. Ibid. 362-3; Lond. Mag. Apr. 1758, 191.
  • 19. Act for incorporating Trustees of Henry Raine, 20 Geo. III, c. 46 (priv. Act).
  • 20. 1st Rep. Com. Char. H.C. 83, pp. 187-90 and App. 305-10 (1819), x-A.
  • 21. Trustees' Min. Bk. iii. 400, 412.
  • 22. Copies of Documents, etc. Relating to a Decision of the Trustees of Raine's Charities on the late Question concerning the Schoolmaster; and Raine's Charity. Defence of the Charity and Trustees against a Calumnious Libel; copies of both at schools. Cf. The Eng. Churchman, 11 Jan. 1849; Trustees' Min. Bk. iv. 501, v. 26 passim.
  • 23. Trustees' Min. Bk. v. 169.
  • 24. Ibid. 319, 342.
  • 25. Ibid. vi. 234-5, 244-6.
  • 26. Ibid. 504, 509, 517.
  • 27. Ibid.
  • 28. Ibid. vii. 166.
  • 29. Raine's Foundation, 19.
  • 30. Raine's Foundation, 23.
  • 31. Ibid. 26.