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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/511

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XL JUNE 27, 1903.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


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stand-up collar of red. There was a double row of ordinary flat brass buttons down the front, altogether useless except as ornament ; drab vest; corduroy knee-breeches, which afterwards gave place to trousers of the same material ; grey worsted stockings, with low shoes having buckles upon them ; and clerical bands round the neck. The girls' dress would appear to have been what may be designated as the ordinary charity-school costume : mob cap, white back and front tippet, white aprons, low shoes, and grey stockings, the frock being made of a drab material. The boys, and doubtless the girls, had two suits, one for every-day wear, the other being reserved for Sundays and special occasions. Upon the breasts of the boys were metal or brass badges (as stated in the report already quoted from), that on the weekday garment being circular, merely having the child's school number upon it; but that on the Sunday coat was on a some- what more elaborate scale, being of an oval shape, and having a representation of the Broadway or New Chapel, surrounded by the words " Westminster New Charity School." I have a copy of this engraving. It is a very crude affair, and cannot be reproduced in these columns. The boys also appear to have been provided with a "cheese-plate" cap, just large enough to cover the crown of the head, it being ornamented with red strings ; but this article was very rarely worn. The head boy had a special silver badge in the form of a small inkstand with two quill pens, while the principal girl was decorated by a silver medal, both these orna- ments being suspended round the neck from a bright crimson ribbon. They attended the New Chapel on Sundays and on almost all the saints' days, and sat in the west gallery, the front being embellished with the legend "Westminster New Charity School. Sup- ported by Voluntary Contributions."

My informant distinctly stated that there was no endowment, and he remembered that after he left the clothes were stopped, and in a year or two a removal was made to Gar- dener's Lane (now Palmer Street), York Street, to a spot very near to where the schools of Christ Church, now a portion of Caxton Hall, still stand. His recollection of the master at that time was not a kindly one, as he designated him as a " great brute to the boys," and further stated that "his ignorance was very frequently displayed. One of the tasks of the boys was to write all the circulars to the governors and subscribers, informing them when the subscriptions be- came due, those persons being almost wholly


tradesmen in the immediate neighbourhood Steel pens were hardly in use at that time, so the scholars had to make and mend quill pens for all their work. Their principal playground was under the entrance to Cooper Street, locally known as Cooper's Arch, a thoroughfare leading then from Dacre Street into Orchard Street, across what is now Victoria Street, a little further west than the Victoria Mansions Restaurant. The children used to attend St. Paul's Cathedral on the occasion of the Charity School Festival, walking through the streets, headed by Mr. Crow, one of the parish beadles, resplendent in gold-laced coat and cocked hat. We may presume that this important functionary carried one of the interesting massive silver- headed staves belonging to St. Margaret's parish, which may be seen in their places in the church on Sundays and other stated holy days. The children on this day first donned their new clothes. A special hymn- book was used at that time in the Broadway Chapel, the copy of the title-page being as follows :

" Psalms | for | Public Worship, | Original and Selected. | By the | Rev. George Mutter, A.M., | Rector of Chilleuden, Kent, | and Minister of Broadway Church, Westminster. | Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, | Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Ephes. v. 19. | London, | 1829." On the back of the title-page was " London, | Printed for Richard Watts, I Crown Court Temple Bar."

My informant, Mr. Barefoot, who has been dead some years, stated that in his time there were twenty-five boys and twenty-five girls being clothed and educated, and in addition about twenty boys and twenty girls being educated only, to whom the clothing was given as vacancies arose. It is really a very strange fact that a school which in its time must have played a no inconsiderable part in Westminster life should have, in a little over half a century (for it closed about 1846), nearly faded from memory ; and this is all the more surprising as there must be in all probability some men and women now in our midst who received their early training out of its funds, and who ought to have been uhe first to see that its existence was not forgotten. None of the histories or memorials dealing with Westminster have mentioned this little charity ; one and all seem to have overlooked it and passed it by. In conse- quence of this the difficulties of now finding out the facts of the case are much intensified, but perhaps it is hardly to be expected that school boys and girls would trouble their leads with such matters, and early facts