Published on February 16th, 2019
Many young children in Britain’s towns and cities in the past worked for long hours in factories and workshops, and ran riot in what little free time they had, with little or no education available to the poor. In 1780 a Gloucester man, Robert Raikes (1736-1811), embarked on a philanthropic mission, and his extraordinary legacy has shaped the lives of millions of children world-wide ever since. He is widely regarded as the founder of the Sunday School movement, and through his schools Raikes offered free education to any child. Soon news of these Sunday schools in Gloucester spread far and wide, and Sunday schools eventually evolved into a national movement where children were taught reading, writing, arithmetic and a knowledge of the Bible – by 1831 Sunday Schools were teaching 1,250,000 youngsters every week. Sunday Schools were where most children received a rudimentary education until the passing of Forster’s Education Act in 1870.
We hope you enjoy these photographs from The Francis Frith Collection of some of these early Sunday schools. Scroll down to the bottom to read some living memories of attending Sunday school from visitors to the website.
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