Ragged School Bible
Holy Bible presented to Elsie Elliott, for regular attendance at the Ragged School, by Alderman Eastwood, President of the Ragged School.
Inscription inside the Bible reads:
Presented to Elsie Elliott by Ald. G.A.Eastwood President Ragged School Chesterfield For Regular Attendance & Cleanliness of Card From Oct 1916 -17 - W Marples, Secretary R Fisher, Superintendent
The London Ragged Schools Union was established in April 1844 to provide not only free education but also food, clothing, lodging and care for poor children. Such schools were developed as children from poor, working class areas were often excluded from Sunday School education due to their appearance and behaviour.
The majority of teachers were voluntary (only a small number were employed) and were women. They played a hugely important role in the Ragged School’s success; a newspaper of the time announcing, “the most valuable teachers in Ragged Schools are those of the female sex.”
Although the London Ragged School Union did not intend to establish itself outside of the city, Ragged School ideals began to spread across the country.
Chesterfield’s Ragged School was one of the last to be opened, on 28th July 1878, in what was referred to as the Dog Kennels; an area of the town where people lived in the ‘harshest conditions’.
On its first morning 109 children attended the school and the four teachers immediately requested more assistance. By 1885 there were 340 pupils and 27 teachers recorded at the Ragged School.
When the Dog Kennels area was demolished in 1912, the Ragged School was one of the only buildings to survive and continued its significant work to support and educate local working people and their children.
The Ragged School survives today (located between New Beetwell Street and Markham Road) as home to a local church organisation.