- 1768-1961 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
0.2 cubic metres
Name of creator
The Blue Coat School was founded on 14 June 1705 by York City Corporation. Funded principally by public subscription and a number of endowments, the school opened in St Anthony’s Hall in Peasholme Green and provided education, clothing, food and lodging for boys aged 7-12. Its name came from the blue coats worn by its pupils, which were modelled on the uniform of Christ’s Hospital School in Greyfriar’s, London.
Entry to the school was by a quarterly ballot when subscribers giving more than one guinea a year held two votes, one for a boy to enter the Blue Coat School and one for a girl to enter the associated Grey Coat School. In 1764 the Blue Coat School had 45 pupils and this had risen to 70 by 1850.
Initially the school came under the authority of a Gentlemen’s Committee, but from 1829 this was supplemented by an annual committee of 15 elected subscribers and a system of visiting directors, in addition to separate estate and audit (later financial) committees. This new committee structure became known as York Charity Schools.
Pupils at the school were expected to be of good character and were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as receiving religious instruction. Upon completing their education boys were apprenticed to trades or the sea, or entered domestic service. Until 1900 pupils also supplemented the income of the school with daily spinning work.
School facilities were expanded in the early twentieth century with the addition of new classrooms and gymnasiums in 1914 and a new playing field and pavilion in 1938. After 1924 the school shared its premises with the pupils of the Grey Coat School and from the 1920s onwards pupils could take part in an annual pantomime and summer camp.
By the 1940s however subscriptions had fallen and in 1944 the Blue Coat School was refused classification under the new Education Act, leading to its eventual closure in 1947.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Committee minutes, 1824-1831; minutes of the Blue Coat Benevolent Society, 1913-1921; government inspectorate reports, 1927, 1930, 1934, 1938; financial papers, 1897-1908, 1923-1953; Headmaster’s correspondence, 1930s-1940s; pupil records, including admissions register, 1836-1920, discharge register, 1840-1883, pupils’ bank accounts ledger, 1934-1946, health records, 1837-1848, 1932-1945, class registers, 1935-1937, 1941-1943, 1946-1947, diary of Stanley Little at school camp, 1930, ephemera belonging to pupil Kenneth Gall, including badges, books and certificates, and photographs, c.1937-1940; records relating to social activities at the school, including programmes for pantomimes, 1929-1932, 1934-1939, Blue Coat Camp, 1930-1933, Blue Coat Concert, 1933, and Sports’ Day, 1939, 1944, a copy of the school magazine for the Blue Coat and Grey Coat School, 1942, news cuttings concerning Christmas, camp, pantomimes and anniversary services, 1930s; photographs of school buildings, pupils and activities, c.1920s-1947; film reels showing school camps and outings, 1930s; Headmaster’s address at old scholars re-union, together with research notes relating to history of Blue and Grey Coat Schools, includes some 18th century documents, 1886; annual reports of the Old Boys Association, 1934, 1937-1938; typescript reminiscences of life at the school, 1915-1923, by J. P. Pexton, 1981; article by former sewing maid on life at the school, 1991.
Additional uncatalogued material, 1790-1961, including deeds, accounts, correspondence and other papers.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material