Bluecoat school

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A bluecoat school is a type of charity school, the first of which was founded in the 16th century. Most of them have closed; some remain open as schools, often on different sites, and some of the original buildings have been adapted for other purposes. They are known as "bluecoat schools" because of the distinctive blue uniform originally worn by their pupils.[1] The colour blue was traditionally the colour of charity and was a common colour for clothing at the time. The uniform included a blue frock coat and yellow stockings with white bands.[2]


The first school to be established was Christ's Hospital. This was founded by Edward VI in Newgate Street, London, in 1552, as a foundling hospital with the purpose of caring for and educating poor children. Between the 16th and late 18th centuries about 60 similar institutions were established in different parts of England. These were not connected with Christ's Hospital, but if their pupils wore the blue uniform, they were known as bluecoat schools. The original Christ's Hospital, while retaining its name, has moved its site to West Sussex and developed into an independent school, with much of its costs being met by a charitable foundation.[1]


Name Location Founded Closed Notes Refs
Bluecoat School Parish Lane, Penge, Bromley, London 1841 1968 Alexandra Nursery (Garden Centre)
St Mary's School Banbury 1705 A primary school
Basingstoke Blue Coat School Basingstoke 1646 by Richard Aldworth 1888
Bluecoat School Bath 1711 by Richard Nelson By 1921 The building was replaced in 1859. [3]
Birmingham Blue Coat School Birmingham 1722 An independent junior prep school
Queen Elizabeth's Hospital Bristol (Clifton) 1586 also known as The City School
Bluecoat School Chester 1717 1949 Its name has been incorporated in Bishops' Blue Coat Church of England High School, Chester.
Oliver Whitby School Chichester 1702 1949 Foundation now supports scholars at Christ's Hospital and at Chichester Prebendal School. [4]
Christ's Hospital Horsham 1552 by King Edward VI the first and oldest surviving Bluecoat school, known as The Bluecoat School
Coventry Blue Coat Church of England School Coventry 1714 a comprehensive school
The King's Hospital Dublin 1669 also known as The Blue Coat School
The Blue Coat School Dudley 1869 1989
Sir Thomas Rich's School Gloucester 1666 a grammar school
Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School Hereford 1973
Lincoln Christ's Hospital School Lincoln 1602/1614 Set up under the will of Dr Richard Smith, who died in 1602, but established in 1614 in the St Mary's Guildhall, Moved to Christ's Hospital Terrace Lincoln in 1623 where the boys school continued until 1883, when the endowment was transferred to a new Christ's Hospital Girls school. Became Grammar School in 1906 and a state comprehensive in 1974
Liverpool Blue Coat School Liverpool 1708 a grammar school formerly at Bluecoat Chambers, moved to Wavertree in 1906
Blue Coat School Northampton 1755 by the Earl of Northampton 1811 Merged with the Orange School and the Green Coat School to form the Corporation Charity School. In 1923 this closed and funded the Blue Coat Corporation Charity School Foundation [5][6]
The Nottingham Bluecoat Academy Nottingham 1706 a church school
The Blue Coat School Oldham 1834
Pilton Bluecoat Academy Pilton, Devon a junior school
Reading Blue Coat School Reading 1646 a secondary school
Boys' Charity School Sheffield 1706 1939 Popularly known as the Bluecoat School
Bluecoat Primary School & Nursery Stamford, Lincolnshire 18th century
Stanhope School Lewisham 1715 by George Stanhope 1894 Merged with Addey School in 1894 to form Addey and Stanhope School, still extant
Old Swinford Hospital Stourbridge 1667 Formerly sometimes called "Foley's blue coat school [or hospital]"
Old Bluecoat School Thatcham 1707 1914 Housed in a former chapel built in 1304 [7]
York Bluecoat School York 1705 1947
Blewcoat School Westminster 1709 1926 later a National Trust gift shop
The Blue School Wells, Somerset 1641 by Ezekiel Barkham
Bluecoat School CofE Junior School Durham 1708[8] Founded in 1708 by local traders and began above a pub ("Ye Bull's Head") in the corner of the market place near St Nicholas’ Church and stayed there until 1811. Now housed in a modern building in Newton Hall.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Records of Christ's Hospital and Bluecoat Schools (PDF), London Metropolitan Archives, 2010, retrieved 24 November 2015
  2. ^ A brief history of the school, Liverpool Blue Coat School, archived from the original on 7 July 2013, retrieved 29 May 2013
  3. ^ Bluecoat House Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Listing, retrieved 28 July 2014
  4. ^ Oliver Whitby School Chichester, A History. Peter J Hughes. Published by Phillimore.
  5. ^ "The Corporation Charity School, Northampton, Northamptonshire". Heritage Explorer. Historic England. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  6. ^ Page, William (1930). "The borough of Northampton: Schools". A History of the County of Northampton. Victoria County History via British History Online. pp. Volume 3 pages 61–62. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  7. ^ "History: Recent Years". The Old Bluecoat School, Thatcham. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Blue Coat C of E Junior School Celebrates itsTercentenary | Blue Coat CE (Aided) Junior School". Archived from the original on 9 September 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.