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Christ's Hospital

CHRIST'S HOSPITAL (the "Blue-coat School"), a famous English educational and charitable foundation. It was originally one of three royal hospitals in the city of London, founded by Edward VI., who is said to have been inspired by a sermon of Bishop Ridley on charity. Christ's hospital was specially devoted to fatherless and motherless children. The buildings of the monastery of Grey Friars, Newgate Street, were appropriated to it; liberal public subscription added to the king's grant endowed it richly; and the mayor, commonalty and citizens of London were nominated its governors in its charter of 1553. At first Christ's hospital shared a common fund with the two other hospitals of the foundation (Bridewell and St Thomas's), but the three soon became independent. Not long after its opening Christ's was providing home and education (or, in the case of the very young, nursing) for 400 children. The popular name of the Blue-coat school is derived from the dress of the boys - originally (almost from the time of the foundation) a blue gown, with knee-breeches, yellow petticoat and stockings, neck-bands and a blue cap. The petticoat and cap were given up in the middle of the 19th century, and thereafter no head-covering was worn. The buildings on the Newgate Street site underwent reconstruction from time to time, and in 1902 were vacated by the school, which was moved to extensive new buildings at Horsham. The London buildings were subsequently taken down. The school at Horsham is conducted on the ordinary lines of a public school, and can accommodate over 800 boys. It includes a preparatory school for boys, established in 1683 at Hertford, where the buildings have been greatly enlarged for the use of the girls' school on the same foundation. This was originally in Newgate Street, but was moved to Hertford in 1778. In the boys' school the two highest classes retain their ancient names of Grecians and Deputy Grecians. Children were formerly admitted to the schools only on presentation. Admission is now (1) by presentation of donation governors (i.e. the royal family, and contributors of £500 or more to the funds), of the council of almoners (which administers the endowments), or of certain of the city companies; (2) by competition, on the nomination of a donation governor (for boys only), or from public elementary schools in London, certain city parishes and certain endowed schools elsewhere. The main school is divided into two parts - the Latin school, corresponding to the classical side in other schools, and the mathematical school or modern side. Large pension charities are administered by the governing body, and part of the income of the hospital (about £60,000 annually) is devoted to apprenticing boys and girls, to leaving exhibitions from the school, etc.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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