- 1789-1961 (Creation)
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The Grey Coat School opened in October 1705 in a house in Marygate, York. Like the Blue Coat School for boys, the Grey Coat School was funded principally by public subscription and owed its name to the uniforms worn by its female pupils.
Girls were provided with food, clothes and lodging and received an education that focused on religion and the acquisition of skills like knitting and sewing to prepare them for domestic service. Until 1900 the pupils also undertook spinning to supplement the school’s income.
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 Grey Coat School. In 1764 the Grey Coat School had 30 pupils and this had risen to 42 by 1819.
In 1783 the school moved from Marygate to new premises in Monkgate containing spinning and sewing rooms and in 1786 it underwent a significant reformation through the influence of Catherine Cappe, the wife of Newcome Cappe, the local Unitarian minister, and founder of a Spinning School for girls in York.
Under her leadership new mistresses and a matron were appointed at the school and a Ladies Committee formed to undertake its administration under the ultimate authority of the Gentlemen’s Committee who continued to manage both the Grey and Blue Coat Schools. Girls were to be taught wool spinning and provided with clothes on going out to service, whilst the practice of apprenticing girls was stopped completely.
By 1900 pupils received instruction in religion, arithmetic, history and geography as well as the more traditional domestic accomplishments, and in 1924 they began sharing lessons with the Blue Coat School in St Anthony’s Hall in Peasholme Green.
When the Blue Coat School closed in 1947 it was agreed to run the Grey Coat School as a girls’ hostel, with girls accommodated in the Monkgate building while attending local authority schools. In 1955 the decision was taken to admit boys aged 5-9 to the hostel and in 1961 the Monkgate buildings were sold, replaced by a residential Home for children on Stockton Lane to be run by a House Mother.
In 1969 the Grey Coat Home was amalgamated with St Stephen's Home, York. In 1973 the Social Services Department of the County Council took over responsibility for the Home and in 1976 the funds of the Blue and Grey Coat Schools, together with several related charities, were transferred to the newly established York Children’s Trust. The Home on Stockton Lane was closed in 1983 and the premises sold.
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Minutes of the Ladies Committee, 1789-1936, 1952-1959; minutes of the Gentlemen's sub-committee, 1853-1931; government inspectorate report, 1923; financial papers, 1827-1848, 1884-1901, 1931-1948; petty cash books, 1924-1948; register of visitors, 1847-1848; pupil records, including matron's record book, 1841-1927, admissions registers, 1830-1931, discharge registers, 1857-1859, 1870-1889, punishment book, 1908-1925, list of addresses for past pupils, 1920s, and correspondence concerning past pupils, n.d. entry papers of Ruth Siddall, 1907; photographs of school and pupils, c.1930s.
Additional uncatalogued material, 1790-1961, including deeds, correspondence and other papers.