OLD PLYMOUTH . UK
www.oldplymouth.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 11, 2017
Webpage updated: March 21, 2023

        

EDUCATION IN OLD PLYMOUTH

LADY HANNAH ROGERS' CHARITY SCHOOL

Miss Hannah Trefusis, daughter of Mr Thomas Trefusis, of Mylor, near Falmouth, Cornwall, married Mr John Rogers, son of Sir John Rogers, 2nd Baronet Rogers of Wisdome Barton, Devon, at the Welsh Anglican Church of Saint Benet's, Paul's Wharf, London, on October 28th 1742.  The couple had no children but Hannah was said to have a passion for working with and helping children.  She died on April 18th 1766 at Blachford, Cornwood, Devon, and was buried in the churchyard of the Ancient Parish Church of Saint Michael and All Angels.

In her Will dated September 8th 1764 she left 10,000 in trust, the income going to her husband for life (he died in 1773), and afterwards to be used 'to found a school for poor children from Devon and Cornwall only.'

The original 10,000 capital had purchased 18,735 0s 10d worth of Consols and by 1787 these were worth 27,872.  Although the School states it was founded in 1764, the year of Lady Rogers' Will, the actual cash was not handed over to the trustees until November 1787.  It was only then that they could find a property to rent, which turned out to be Bowling Green House, which is said to have been an inn with a bowling green attached.  Thus Lady Rogers' Charity School for 45 poor and neglected girls came into existence in Plymouth, although by now restricted to girls only (it was originally "children" implying boys and girls.). 

In 1820 there were forty-four girls at the School.  They were admitted at eight years of age and were allowed to remain until their fifteenth birthday, when they were apprenticed, with premiums of one guinea and gifts of five guineas for clothing.  Only girls living in the counties of Devon and Cornwall were admitted.

The accounts for that year reveal the cost of running the School.  The school mistress, who taught them reading and plain work, was paid a salary of 100 while a master who taught writing during the girls' last three years at the School was paid 20 per year.  The mistress also received three shillings per week per pupil, which totalled a further 339 4s, 'for maintenance of the children by monthly payments'.  The rent of the school house cost 38 10s and repairs to it a further 33 4s 8d.  Clothing the girls (hats, cloaks and shoes once in two years) cost 91 18s 9d and the premiums on binding seven girls as apprentices amounted to 7 7s.  There was also a surgeon's bill of 26 7s.  One child died during her time there and the funeral expenses amounted to 1 11s 4d.  With the addition of miscellaneous payments, including stamps to the value of 8s 6d, the total expenditure for the year ended June 24th 1820 was 692 9s 0d.  As far as can be discerned from the complicated situation created by the problems with Mr Cleather, the clerk and treasurer to the Trustees, the annual income from the capital amounted to 836 3s.

In addition to the premium, the School paid another 13s 6d for the expenses of the indentures and 5 5s to furnish each girl with proper clothing.

The trustees in 1851 were Sir Frederick Leman Rogers, 7th Baronet Rogers of Wisdome in the County of Devon (1782-1851), of Blachford, Cornwood, and Captain Henry Rogers, Royal Artillery (1821-1871), of Citadel Road, Plymouth.  Sir Frederick Leman Rogers died on December 13th that year.

At the time of the census on Sunday April 7th 1861 the Matron was 48-years-old Miss Susan Smith Salmon, originally from Exmouth, Devon, and a former pupil at the School.  She had two Assistant Matrons, both family: 40-years-old Miss Caroline Salmon, her sister, originally from Honiton, Devon, and 18-years-old Miss Rachel Salmon, her niece, originally from Sidbury, Devon.  They were assisted by a general servant, 26-years-old Miss Frances Andrews, of Cornwood, Devon.  The scholars, with ages in brackets, in alphabetical order, were: Sarah A Atwill (11) from Cornwood; Susan Barnett (11) from Plympton; Ellen J Bastard (9) from Cornwood; Theresa C Bayly (10) from Plymouth; Caroline F Blackler (11) from Cornwood; Ann F Bond (11) from Plymouth; Ann G Bond (11) from Anthony (sic), Cornwall; Thirza Cudlip (14) from Plymouth; Hannah M Dowling (11) from Anthony (sic), Cornwall; Eliza Edgcombe (11) from Liskeard; Margaret Edgcombe (13) from Devon; Susan L Elford (14) from Abingdon, Yorkshire; Harriet Elliott (10) from Cornwood; Matilda J Greep (9) from Cornwood; Mary Ann Hoar (12) from Stonehouse; Ellen M Horn (12) from Devonport; Ellen Horton (13) from Barnwood, Devon; Mary A A Horton (13) from Barnwood, Devon; Jane J Jackson, (13) from Newton Ferrers; Eliza Lapthorne (11) from Plymouth; Elizabeth A Littlejohns (14) from Devon; Jane S Luke (12) from Devon; Leonora Luscombe (13) from Plymouth; Susan Merk (9) from Liverpool, Lancashire; Elizabeth C J Mowatt (11) from Plymouth; Jane A Mudge (13) from Barnwood, Devon; Emma Pitts (10) from Devon; Ellen J Roberts (11) from Plympton; Amelia S Saunders (9) from Rattery; Louisa Seaward (14) from Plymouth; Harriett Shephard (13) from Barnwood, Devon; Susanna R Shephard (9) from Cornwood; Ellen J Smale (14) from Plymouth; Mary A Smale (13) from Ivybridge; Margaret M Smith (11) from Devon; Maria Smith (14) from Devon; Elizabeth J Sowdon (13) from Devon; Jane Spry (9) from Eggbuckland; Sarah D Symond (12) from Barnwood, Devon; Maria Tamlin (11) from Cornwall; Priscilla Taylor (11) from Brixton, Devon; Emma J Tucker (10) from Devonport; Emma Veale (14) from Sparkwell; Dinah Webb (13) from Devon; Hannah H Welsh (10) from Liskeard; Fanny A Westman (14) from Eggbuckland; and Alice Wyatt (12) from Turnchapel.

In a review of Devonshire and Cornwall Schools undertaken by the Western Morning News in 1869, it was reported that fifty-two girls were now admitted to the School and that they were taught reading, writing, the first three rules of arithmetic, knitting, plain needle work, and household work.  The girls were found apprenticeships at a cost of not more than 5 5 shillings each.

Some idea of the accommodation at number 1 Bedford Terrace can be obtained by the details of the building given when it was auctioned on Tuesday January 24th 1888 by Messrs Woolland and Son, of 6 Cornwall Street.  On the ground floor, above a cellar, was a spacious tiled entrance hall, on the left of which was a dining room, 34 feet by 14 feet 6 inches.  To the right of the entrance hall was a parlour, back parlour and china closet.  On the first floor was a drawing room measuring 34 feet by 14 feet 3 inches, a front bedroom, dressing-room, press-room and a back bedroom.  The second floor had two large bedrooms, one small bedroom, and a cloak-room.  There was a large attic.  To the rear of the premises was an extensive tenement containing, on the ground floor, a kitchen with a large range and steam-cooking apparatus, a larder, wash-house, with two large washing coppers, a boot-house, wood-house, coal-house and two water closets.  The first floor, accessed by a separate staircase, contained a large lavatory, a laundry and a servant's bedroom.  There was a large garden at the front and a large piece of ground at the rear accessed from both Tavistock Road and the back lane.  Across the road was a large kitchen garden with a frontage in Tavistock Road of about 105 feet.  The total length of frontage was about 260 feet.

In 1885 the Trust was taken in hand by the Charity Commissioners, who authorised the trustees to construct a new building on land offered to them by one of the trustees at Ivybridge.  The School would become a residential elementary school for orphan girls teaching especially housework and cookery to prepare them for posts as domestic servants.  Apparently it was cheaper at Ivybridge than in Plymouth.  The trustees now were Lord Mount Edgcumbe and Mr Pole Carew of Antony House representing the county of Cornwall; Lord Blachford and the Reverend Edward Rogers representing the county of Devon; and Doctor Clay, representing the Three Towns of Plymouth, Devonport and East Stonehouse.

Previous to this time the School had accepted pupils between 8 years of age and 15.  The Charity Commission wanted to extend this to 16 but it had not been carried out yet.  A new innovation was for girls who had attended the School for not less than three years to be able to compete for an "exhibition" worth either 25 or 50 per annum to enable them to attend a place of higher education., in professional, technical or industrial training.  The trustees applied 100 per annum towards this project.  In addition, a number of 'necessitous young girls' were to be admitted on prepayment of 10 per annum.  Girls leaving the establishment were to be provided with a small sum for clothing, increased if they obtain a respectable place as a domestic servant.  In fact the girls from Lady Rogers' Charity School were apparently much sought after for this work.

Lady Hannah Rogers' Charity School building at Ivybridge, Devon.

Lady Hannah Rogers' Charity School building at Ivybridge.
From a postcard.

The three storey new school at Ivybridge was designed by Mr Milcham, of London, and erected by Mr P Blowey, of Plymouth.  The building cost 3,700 to erect.  The ground floor contained kitchens, laundries and other offices.  The first floor was occupied by the schoolrooms and a dinging-room.  The girls' dormitories were on the second floor, watched over by windows in the bedrooms of the matron and her assistant.  There was a small tower containing the water tanks for supplying the premises.  There was a small infirmary accessed over abridge and through the open air.  The building was surrounded by an acre and a half of gardens, shrubberies and a playground.

Miss Deveson was the Matron in 1889.  It is thought that this was Miss Susan Deveson, who was baptized at Holy Trinity Church, Barkingside, Essex, on February 1st 1852.  She was stated to be the daughter of publican Mr William Deveson and his wife, formerly Miss Sarah Harwood.  If this is the correct lady, then she was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Barkingside, Essex, on May 10th 1935.  No references to this lady have been found in the census except for that on Sunday June 19th 1921, when she was recorded as visiting Mr Septimus George Green and his wife, Mrs Sarah Green, both retired school teachers, at the School House, Cornwood, Ivybridge, Devon.  It transpires that his wife was formerly Miss Sarah Deveson, Susan's older sister.

Miss Susan Smith Salmon, a former pupil of the School and Matron for many years, died at her home at number 3 Greenbank Terrace, off Greenbank Road, Plymouth, on November 29th 1898 at the age of 87 years.

Miss Nicholls was the Matron in 1914.

In 1916 the School was described as an elementary and industrial hospital school for 'poor necessitous girls' who were either native or inhabitants of the counties of Devon and Cornwall.

Three or four years ago the governors came to the conclusion that owing to the rise in prices it was inadvisable to continue to administer the foundation as heretofore.  The money was only sufficient to provide for a few girls, and the cost was out of all proportion to the amount of benefit received.  The girls were receiving no substantial benefit from the trust other than they could obtain in an ordinary public elementary school.  The trustees therefore decided to close  the school, and they applied to the Ministry of Education to draft a scheme for the diversion of the funds to some useful purpose as nearly as possible in accordance the testatrix's original wishes.  After a good deal of negotiation the present scheme was framed, to which several members of the Exeter Education Committee have now expressed objection.  On the other hand the Devon and Plymouth Education Authorities have expressed approval, and Cornwall has expressed no decided opinion.

The Charitable Trusts Acts of 1853 to 1894 gave the Ministry of Education powers to deal with educational trusts.  Their new scheme dated November 23rd 1923 stated: 'The school of the foundation shall be carried on in the school buildings at Ivybridge, or in other suitable buildings provided by the trustees, as an institution for the education, medical treatment, boarding, maintenance, and clothing of poor children, born or resident in the counties of Devon and Cornwall, including county boroughs.  Such children will not remain in the school after the age of seven except in special cases'.

In 1925 it became an Orthopaedic Hospital School and in 1949 changed again, to become the first school in the country devoted to educating twenty-seven children suffering from Cerebral Palsy.

Mrs Sarah Green (1849-1955), widow of Mr Septeimus George Green (1843-1925), Head Master of Cornwood Elementary School, and formerly Miss Sarah Deverson, died at 15 Buckwell Road, Kingsbridge, Devon, the home of her son, Mr George Trevelyan Green, Head Master of Kingsbridge Senior School, on August 17th 1955.

On July 19th 1958 Sir Henry Platt, the immediate past president of the Royal College of Surgeons, laid the foundation stone for new premises at Ivybridge, into which the School moved the following year, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother opened the new premises.

Dame Hannah Rogers's School at Ivybridge.

The new Lady Rogers' Hospital School at Ivybridge.
From a postcard.

The School has continued to develop and progress and more information about that can be found at www.discoverhannahs.org.