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Ragged School Museum

Making it patently clear how much we take education for granted.
In the spruced up corned of the east end next to the canal is the historic location of Thomas Bernardo's first Ragged school. As museums go its not the most diverting or thrilling of places. Really just a few rooms, but it was in these rooms that the English history of education began for the working class people of London.

Thomas Bernado was an Irishman who came to London in 1866 to train as a doctor so he could go to China to do missionary work. Up-on arrival he could not believe the level of deprivation and poverty that lay in front of him. Clearly he parked the idea to go to china (why bother when there was so many needy people right in front of him) in 1867 he opened the first ragged school where poor child could get a free basic education and work to lift themselves out of poverty. It is in this building where so many lives were touch and changed and also served as inspiration for government to change the practices towards education in this county. And while this building may not be the most jaw dropping museum you have ever experienced its site is more significant than almost any other you could mention or visit.

Here as you enter you are in the hall which leads to a small gallery room detailing the ethos behind it all and the developing history of Barnado's work to help children which carries on today. From here you go up some stairs where a class room has been restored and you are given a mock-up lesson by one of the volunteers in full Victorian dress to demonstrate what a child would have experienced back at that time. They also work to try impart what living conditions would have been like for the children at that time by making a small Victorian living quarters compete with the kind of "mod-cons" they would have had to make do with. Its not the most enthralling museum in the city but its significance as a life changing location for so many children is really what you are here to appreciate. And of course how easy we all have it to day by comparison.

Postcode: E3 4RR
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