Person NameKelso Ragged Industrial School; 1850-1889
ActivityKelso Ragged Industrial School was begun in 1850 by the Rev James Smith, who arranged that the Town Missionary, William Storey and an assistant, Mr Ker, should set up evening classes for Kelso's children from the lowest class, the 'degraded, dissipated and reckless', in contrast to the 'sober, industrious and struggling' poor who were educated at the Roxburghe School in the Butts. By 1851 a board of directors had been formed, who sought financial support from the local gentry and also appealed for clothing for the children so that they could attend church. During 1850-1851 about 40 children were collected and taught by Mr Storey, assisted by Mr Ker and young tradesmen who volunteered help on a rota basis. About 60 children attended classes in reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and religious education, from 7.30-9.00 pm, during the winter and on Sundays. They were also provided with a bread roll twice a day.The older children were helped to find trades and employment. Mr Dudgeon of Spylaw proposed a day-school in addition to the evening classes, with dormitories for destitute girls. Additional classes were to be taught by the master's wife in sewing and knitting. Premises were set up in Susie's Lane (Abbotsford Grove) to be used both for the day school and the evening classes. There were at the time 70 ragged children in Kelso, but 30 were employed during the day and could only attend evening classes. In 1857, after much fundraising, a board of trustees was appointed to negotiate the purchase of a two storey house in Union Street, with a one storey house and stable behind, which was accessed from Roxburghe Street. The larger house was to accommodate the master, with one room set aside for sewing and knitting classes, and the smaller house was to contain the school. When the children were examined in 1858 they were reported as being very well behaved and the marked decrease in juvenile crime in the town was commented on. As well as the subscriptions and donations raised, the children made items which where sold for school funds. For example the local draper paid them for sewing shirts. The school was governed by a committee of 12 directors who met quarterly and had an additional annual general meeting, and there was a committee of at least 8 ladies who supported the school and gathered clothes for the children. From 1860, evening classes were held for the girls at Shedden Park Academy. From 1862 the children received broth and bread. The boys were also now taught sheep-net making and shoemaking, which boosted school funds. The girls, as well as keeping the school and teacher's house clean, helped in the Soup Kitchen, and the boys also helped the teacher in the school garden. The School continued under various teachers until 1889 when the Kelso School Board introduced free education for all. The school property was sold in 1890 and the funds were invested to provide food, clothing and books to enable destitute children to attend school. The Trust is still in existence today.
Corporate NameKelso Ragged Industrial School
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