South-East Shropshire School District
The 1844 Poor Law Amendment Act made provision for adjacent Unions and parishes to set up a School District and to erect a joint school for the education of pauper children. The South-East Shropshire School District was one of the relatively few such bodies set up under this Act. It operated a school at Quatt which dated back to around 1700.
An 1851 Gazetteer described the school as follows:
The South Eastern Shropshire District School has been established for the reception of children belonging to the several unions of Bridgnorth, Cleobury Mortimer, Madeley, and Seisdon. The object of the institution is not only to give a sound healthy education, but so to improve both the physical and mental powers as shall break the thread of pauperism, and enable this hitherto unhappy class to establish themselves in after life as independent labourers.
The experiment has proved most satisfactory, and even more successful than was expected, not only in giving a good healthy education combined with labour to the children, but yielding such a return in money as altogether prevented any additional cost to the ratepayers, and even paid a portion of the former expenses. The actual profits of the four acres of land cultivated having amounted to between £60 and £70 per annum.
The question of profit, though of importance, is trifling when compared with the benefits derived by the children, who are here removed from scenes of inferiority and degradation and brought up in habits of industry, and a knowledge of gardening combined with the inculcation of honest principles and religious knowledge, are blessings of incalculable amount.
The house is capable of accommodating 170 children, and the boys are employed in the cultivation of the land, in the management of cows, pigs, and a pony; the girls are employed in the house and dairy work. Henry Garland is the governor, and Mrs. Garland matron.
Later directories give the capacity of the school as 220. The school appears to have closed down by the early 1900s. The building survives as a private residence.
- 1851: Governor — Henry Garland; Matron — Mrs. Garland
- 1863: Master — Lewis Roach; Matron — Mrs Susannah Roach; Assistant master — Arthur Osborne; Mistress — Miss Ellen Kemp
- 1870: Master — Lewis Roach; Matron — Mrs Susannah Roach; Assistant master — James Scovell; Mistress — Miss Jane Bower
- 1879: Master — Henry Woodyear Smith; Matron — Mrs Frances Louisa Smith; Assistant master — Edward Lewis; Mistress — Miss Mary Emily Smith
- 1881 Census
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Shropshire Archives, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 2AQ. Please note that records may contain gaps or have access restrictions - please check before visiting.
- Higginbotham, Peter The Workhouse Encyclopedia (2014, The History Press)
- Thanks to Polly Rubery and Jo of Shropshire for information on Quatt.
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.