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Ragged School starts renovation repairing its Victorian crane

PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:08 05 October 2010

THE listed Ragged School Museum in London's East End begins restoration when a post crane is removed tomorrow from the front of the canalside building for repair. The crane is 130 years old and is one of the original features of the Victorian structure which began life as three warehouses on the Regent's Canal

By Mike Brooke

THE historic Grade II-listed Ragged School Museum in London's East End begins a restoration programme when a post crane is removed tomorrow from the front of the canalside building for renovation.

The crane is 130 years old and is one of the original features of the Victorian structure which began life as three warehouses along the Regent's Canal at Mile End. It is being renovated by Ian Clark, an international authority on and industrial and architectural heritage conservation.

Thomas Barnardo converted the warehouses in 1877 into one of the busiest 'ragged' schools in London, educating thousands of destitute East End children for more than 30 years.

The Ragged School Museum at 46-50 Copperfield Road, Mile End, is a unique insight into Barnardo's extraordinary philanthropic work in the East End and the hope it brought destitute children.

Museum Director Erica Davies is launching a fundraising programme to continue the restoration.

"We are looking for funds to complete the restoration for 2012," he said. Then more of this remarkable building can be seen by the public."

The restoration work has been able to get started from grants by Tower Hamlets council and the historic Ironmongers' City livery company. ()

For British Waterways, the museum's presence on the towpath helps keep alive the industrial past of London's canals.

The Ragged School closed in 1908 when the buildings reverted to warehouses and garment factories, miraculously surviving German air raids in the Blitz.

Campaigners raised the funds to open the museum in 1989. It features a Victorian classroom fully equipped with wooden desks, blackboard and writing slates.

Visitors can brave the 'dunces' cap on the first Sunday of each month as well as the wrath of the fearsome Miss Perkins and experience the particular delights of a strict 19th century education.

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