The History of Ragged Schools in Angel Meadow and Manchester

Due to the rapid industrialisation and urbanisation in Britain, and in particular Manchester, there was a need for the support structure given by Ragged Schools. The Ragged Schools provided Sunday school teaching, basic education, food and clothing to children who were too “ragged” to go to normal Sunday schools and church services.

Ragged schools were mainly run on non-denominational lines by evangelical groups. Charles Dickens commented that these schools were “not sufficiently secular, presenting too many religious mysteries and difficulties, to minds not sufficiently prepared for their reception”[1].


Adults were also helped with literacy classes and free meals. They were encouraged to stay out of the pubs and beer houses, which were numerous in the area of Angel Meadow, by signing the pledge and being members of the Band of Hope.


The Charter Street Ragged School and the Sharp Street Ragged School are both situated in Angel Meadow, on the outskirts of the city centre. They provided invaluable support to the poor of Angel Meadow, some of whom were escaping the potato famine in Ireland. The main source of information for this talk came from Manchester Central Library archives which still retain records from the schools. The annual reports provide fascinating insights how the schools evolved and yearly events.


Charter Street Ragged School

The Chartered Street School opened in 1861. It was set up on the site of the first Industrial School in Manchester which had opened 1 January 1847. The former Industrial School had become a dancing saloon “of the lowest class” and “a meeting house for thieves and prostitutes” with gaudy decorations. In 1862, the Chartered Street School felt compelled to buy the building so as not to have to compete with the saloon.


The School initially worked with the Cotton Famine Relief Committee to help people who were affected by over production of textiles, and the disruption of imported baled cotton because of the American Civil War.


The existing building was started in 1866 and extended in 1891 and 1900. It was renamed Charter Street Ragged School and Working Girls Home in 1892. The building also offered poor relief including “food, clogs and clothing for children, and a Sunday breakfast for destitute men and women; medical services were also provided.”


Charter Street tried to help a wider range of people in the community via the Working Girls Home, which provided safe accommodation (with bathrooms) for young girls who would be vulnerable to groomers. However, the complaint letter in Section 8.6 provides an interesting insight into the reality of the situation. The School also helped elderly people, who either had trouble receiving parish assistance or problems in qualifying for the old age pension when it was introduced in 1908.



Sharp Street Ragged School

This School was established 1853 by evangelical Christians. The current building dates from 1869. The ground floor was for the reception class where “wild and subdued children” were separated. The curriculum was of a very basic nature – the teaching of simple arithmetic, writing and reading, along with Bible-based religious and moral instruction. The School was eventually taken under School Board control in 1870.


In 1940, the Sharp Street school was bombed – although the stoic people who ran it still went ahead with the Christmas Treat for the children. In the post war years Sharp Street had strong connections with the cast of Coronation Street and actress Violet Carson, who played Ena Sharples, became President of the school. This was an example of life imitating art as her character was a caretaker in a mission hall just like Sharp Street school. [See Section 8 for other Coronation Street actors who have been involved over the years.]


In 1961, the minutes report changes in demographics in the area with only three houses still standing in the vicinity of the school. However, the 1976/77 report highlighted that the School was fulfilling a need to help tackle delinquency in the form of muggings and football hooligans, and highlights how “they didn’t have the excuse of starvation to motivate them into crime like their Victorian counterparts”. The building is now Grade II listed and operates as “independent offices and creative spaces”.


Both schools met with resistance when they first started, from people with a vested interest in keeping the population of Angel Meadow ignorant and in want. The archives highlight that one group of people offered a higher rent for the original Sharp Street building to try to price out the school. It is pleasing to know that both schools are still standing and Chartered Street is still providing free meals for the destitute via the charity Lifeshare[2].


Dusty springfield at Sharp Street Ragged Schools article copy

1847 Industrial School

The Manchester Juvenile Refuge and School of Industry was established in 1846 at Little Nelson Street Angel Meadow. In 1851 it moved to St. John’s Parade, Byrom Street and on 17 September 1858 to a school for boys and girls at Ardwick Green. In 1853 its name changed to Manchester Ragged and Industrial Schools and again in 1859 to the Manchester Ragged and Certified Industrial School. Finally, in 1874 it became the Manchester Certified Industrial Schools.


On 2 Aug 1871 the Barnes Home Branch for boys was opened at Heaton Mersey, being named after Robert Barnes, cotton spinner (Mayor of Manchester, 1851-1853) who provided £12,000 towards its erection. A new school for girls was opened at Sale on 4 July 1877 and from thence till its closure in 1922; Ardwick Green was for boys only. A new boys’ home was opened at 59 Ardwick Green in 1900. Following the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act, (Section 29 (1)) the schools became approved schools under the Home Office and from 1935 were known as the Manchester Home Office Schools.


The Barnes Home closed in December 1955 leaving the Northenden Rd School for Girls. Sale, (so named from 1924). In April 1973 under Statutory Instrument 1973 No.584, Children and Young Persons Cessation of Approved Institutions (Northenden Rd. Girls’ School) Order, it became a controlled community home under the City of Manchester Social Services Department.


On 16 October 1979 the Social Services Committee decided to close the school. It officially closed on 31 May 1980, and the following records were transferred to the Archives Department in June 1980. The school building was owned by the Trustees of the Ryecroft Children’s Fund.


William Roache supports Ragged Schools
William Roache supports Ragged Schools

Southall Street Jewish School

The School began on 30 Jan 1871 as the Salem Methodist New Connexion Day School in Joynson Street. From 11 Mar 1876 it became the Salem Board School. It moved then to Southall Street on 15 Oct 1879 and on 20 Oct 1879 boys were transferred from Park Street School to Southall Street Boys Board School. In May 1891 a Jewish Mixed department was opened. The Christian Mixed Department closed c.1901.


In 1924 the school was reorganised due to falling numbers. The Junior Department was created from the Infants and Standards I and II and the Central School was created from the Upper Standards of the Boys and Girls Departments.


In 1930 a further re-organisation took place and Southall Street Girls School combined with Waterloo Road Girls and remained at Southall Street while the boys went to Waterloo Road.


The Senior Girls and Boys Combined to form Southall Street Senior Mixed in 1942 but closed in 1948. Junior Mixed and Infants closed 24 Jul 1953. Pupils and stock transferred to Waterloo Road School.)


St Ann’s Ragged School

At 24 Queen’s Street, from around 1853, resided St Ann’s Ragged School. The School had connections with the nearby St. Ann’s Church, which catered for many of the business men in the area, it was run by local men determined to give something back within their community.

Les Dawson Supports Ragged Schools
Les Dawson Supports Ragged Schools

School Boards & 1870 Education Act

After the passing of the 1867 Reform Act, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Robert Lowe, remarked that the government would now “have to educate our masters.” As a result of this view, the government passed the 1870 Education Act. The Act provided state funding for elementary schools, in particular where none existed in an area. The Act, drafted by William Forster stated:


  1. The country would be divided into about 2,500 school districts;
  2. School Boards were to be elected by ratepayers in each district;
  3. The School Boards were to examine the provision of elementary education in their district, provided then by Voluntary Societies, and if there were not enough school places, they could build and maintain schools out of the rates;
  4. The school Boards could make their own by-laws which would allow them to charge fees or, if they wanted, to let children in free.

The 1870 Education Act allowed women to vote for the School Boards. Women were also granted the right to be candidates to serve on the School Boards. Several feminists saw this as an opportunity to show they were capable of public administration. In 1870, four women, Flora Stevenson, Lydia Becker, Emily Davies and Elizabeth Garrett were elected to local School Boards. Elizabeth Garrett, a popular local doctor, obtained more votes in Marylebone than any other candidate in the country.

Lydia Becker
Lydia Becker


Lydia Becker: (1827-1890)

Born to a family of German industrialists, Lydia Becker was a botanist, suffragette and founder of the Women’s Suffrage Journal. In 1870 women also gained the right to vote for, and to stand for election to, the new School Boards. Lydia stood successfully for the Manchester School Board as an independent member, receiving 15,000 votes, and she remained a member until her death. Like her suffrage work, her education work gave her a high public profile as she gave speeches and attended the opening of new Board Schools.


Laying the foundation stone of a new school in Burgess Street, Harpurhey she said “it was a great mistake to suppose that domestic duties were limited to girls and women, every boy in Manchester should be taught to darn his own socks and cook his own chops.” She regularly visited schools in Manchester to see the progress being made. The school was eventually called Burgess Becker primary school, but the Becker part was dropped as parents would phone the school and call it Burgess Boris Becker School.


Sharp Street Ragged School
Sharp Street Ragged School

The Buildings

Sharp Street Ragged School

Grade: II
Date Listed: 6 June 1994
English Heritage Building ID: 457627
Ragged School, now mission, Sunday School and Boys’ Club. Established 1853, rebuilt 1869. Red brick, slate roof. Rectangular plan. Two storeys and 8 bays, pilastered, with a corbel table to each bay. The ground floor has a round-headed doorway to the 1st bay, with panelled door and fanlight with semi-circular tracery, a segmental-headed window to the 4th bay with a doorway below the sill (perhaps an insertion), and coupled segmental-headed windows in the other bays; the 1st floor has coupled round-headed windows. The rear is similar.


Interior: longitudinal partition which formerly divided the school into 2 halves at ground floor, one side reserved for reception classes of children who were so wild and scruffy that they had to be tamed before they could be educated; stone staircase; hall at 1st floor; original fireplaces and other fittings. The school and the road it stood on were named after Christopher Sharp, a 19th century businessman and philanthropist who set up the refuge in the 1850s.[3]


The 1848 OS Map shows a Wesleyan Sunday School on the site prior to its adoption as a “Ragged School” in 1853. It was rebuilt in 1869.[4]

Charter Street Ragged School
Charter Street Ragged School


Charter Street Ragged School

We can’t find any reference to Charter Street being Grade II Listed as was presumed. It is however, recorded as a Building of Special Significance. The architects for the extension were Maxwell & Tuke, designers of Blackpool Tower amongst other celebrated works. Both founders had died by the time Charter Street was commissioned.


Maxwell and Tuke Architects:

  • 1888 – Architects of the Manchester Exhibition[5]
  • 1891 – Drew up detailed plans for Blackpool Tower which were implemented from summer 1891.
  • 1893 – Charles Tuke died on the same day that the flagstaff was placed in position at the top of the Tower.
  • 1898 – Extensions to former Charter Street Ragged School & Working Girls Home


Other buildings of significance in the area

Price, Henry (City Architect) was responsible for:

  • Former Crumpsall & Cheetham District Library, – Cheetham Hill Road, 1909-11. Grade II Listed.
  • Former Hydraulic Power Station, 1907-09. Now People’s Pumphouse Museum.
  • Ashton House, Womens’ lodging house, Dantzic Street, 1908-10.[6]


Michael Le Vell Supports Ragged Schools
Michael Le Vell Supports Ragged Schools

Listed Buildings Angel Meadow[7]

  • Parker’s Hotel, Corporation Street
  • Ashton House, Corporation Street
  • Marble Arch Pub, Rochdale Road
  • Co-operative Press, New Mount Street
  • Warehouse on west corner of the junction with Simpson Street. (Damaz Apartments)


Buildings of Special Significance

  • CWS Tobacco Factory, Ludgate Hill
  • CWS Ophthalmic Building Naples Street
  • Angel Pub formerly The Weavers 1807
  • Pot of Beer Pub formerly Harp & Shamrock (now Moodswings Charity), Naples Street 1856
  • Victoria Hotel Rochdale Road (now a mini-market) 1870
  • Particular Baptist Chapel Rochdale Road 1907 (third church to be built on this site)
  • Map shows St. George’s Road Chapel Sunday School in 1851 on Simpson Street/Baptist Street.[8]


Excerpts from the archives


Sharp Street Ragged School

Box 1 Annual Reports

Motto on the front of the reports “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew xxv, 40.

  • 1899 – Basket making, artificial flower making, drill classes, sewing and mending classes introduced.
  • 1900 – Mothers class introduced.
  • 1913 – Infants given a coffee and a bun at the end of the service. Annual report reminisces about the school opening in 1852 and meeting with resistance from the locals, who offered an inflated rent to the landlord so, he wouldn’t rent them a room.
  • June 1914- No mention of the impending war.
  • 1915 – School disrupted by the war. 49 staff and pupils serving with four killed.
  • 1916 – 50 staff and students serving 4 killed.
  • 1917-19 – Major staff shortages due to the war, many classes cancelled.
  • 1924 – Pupils affected by high unemployment and high cost of living and the after affects of the war.
  • 1931 – Swimming club introduced. Girls drill class still going.
  • 1936 – Donated parcels of clothing distributed to the poor. Billiards badminton, table tennis, football, dress making and physical drill classes run.
  • 1937 – 600 children attended the Christmas treat on Christmas eve and 600 on Christmas day.
  • 1939-40 – No children due to the evacuation period. First time in 87 years no children attended a service. Overall 65 members of the school had served in WW1.
  • 1940 – The school suffered substantial damage from an air raid, nearly all the windows were blown out and a large hole in the ceiling. Christmas treat day 700 children attended, the food for them was either destroyed in the raid or commandeered for the ARP or AFS on duty in the area. They had to make do with tea with no milk and biscuits used by the school for emergencies. The children received a toy and a bag of fruit and after singing carols went home and none of them complained.
  • 1942 – Increased Sunday school attendance by putting on a cinema show after the service. Christmas treat better than in 1940 with 600 children attending, and 100 goldfish given out with the toys as presents. 40 ex pupils and staff serving in the forces.
  • 1943 – January 23rd trip to Belle Vue circus. Problems with staff shortages due to the war, some female staff working in munitions. 15s cost of piano tuning.
  • 1944 = Two staff killed in action W.Hickson and W.Dickinson. Letters and postal orders sent to serving members of the school.
  • 1945 – Day trip to Boggart Hole Clough and Belle Vue Circus, The school building badly in need of repair.
  • 1940s – Adult social club stared and youth clubs attached to the organisation.
  • 1950s – Saw over 1000 children attend the Christmas treat.
  • 1959 – The school had to start competing with other forms of entertainment and alternatives to Sunday school.
  • 1961 – Demographic changes in the area meant there were only 3 houses left in close proximity to the school, so new pupils had to be sought from further afield.
  • 1965 – Only 200 pupils attended the Christmas treat.
  • 1970s – Experiencing difficulties in finding volunteers for the school, older staff dying off.
  • 1973 – Smokeless zone meant open fires had to be replaced by gas central heating.
  • 1976/77 – School role to help tackle delinquency citing muggings and football hooligans, saying different to the starving Victorian poor. Looking to greater numbers of new pupils from new housing going up in the area, with a proposed development on the old Smithfield site.
  • 1978 – Visit by Princess Margaret.
  • 1980s – The school Sresident was Violet Carson OBE aka Ena Sharples.
  • 1989 – School Christmas treat still provided and a bag of fruit and a toy given to each child.
  • 1990 – School building restored at a cost of £44,263.95 from fund raising and subscriptions. It was still functioning as a boys club at the time.


Sharp Street Card of Membership to Band of Hope
Sharp Street Card of Membership to Band of Hope


Box 2

  • 1935 – Sports sub-committee minutes – found nothing of interest.
  • Same with accounts ledger for 1937 as accounts for each year published in the annual report.
  • Band of Hope minutes for 1907 – annual picnic to be held in Prestwich Clough with refreshments at the Clough restaurant.


Box 3

  • 1935-36 Caretaker wages £2.8.6 a week.
  • Bank book not much of interest
  • List of contributors nothing of interest.
  • Books stored in a damp place and covered in pigeon poo.
Greater Manchester Federation of Boys Clubs
Manchester Evening News 15 May 1989


Box 4

  • Fund-raising in the 1960s and 70s
  • Dusty Springfield opened the 1969 Christmas Fair, Jimmy Clitheroe and Thora Hird were unavailable.
  • 1985 Sponsored swim at Victoria Baths.
  • Pat Phoenix aka Elsie Tanner opened the fair in 1976.
  • Not in box – The Ragged School got its name from children ashamed of their ragged clothes and too embarrassed to attend other Sunday Schools.


Box 5

  • Minutes 1982 – Experiencing competition from a police approved youth club in Ancoats.
  • 22/10/82 James Anderton controversial Chief Constable of GMP became vice president of Sharp Street.


Box 6

Sharp Street registered as a charity in 1960. Mentioned how in 1895 the School building was besieged by famine stricken women, and the school was the only source of food for some children in the area.

Chartered Street Ragged School

Money left in wills

  • 7/10/1924 – Manchester Medical Mission (based Red Bank) gave the school £1000 when it would up.
  • 23/7/1927 – Medical mission wanted to dispose of a property The Old Victory on Angel St (see later) seen then as a liability as building structurally unsound, land offered to the school when demolished.
  • Following correspondence to Charles P Noar at Charter Street:
  • 6/10/1911 – bequest from Elizabeth Whitaker of Newark for £10-£20
  • 6/12/1967 – Alice Thorpe of Collyurst left £547.12.11
  • 28/4/1955 – Elizabeth Cosgrove life insurance and post ware credits left £20.9.3. Invited to subscribe for a plaque (see later).
  • 1/6/1933 – In his will, William Holt railway warehouseman in Southport left his furniture and leasehold house, he died 23/3/1953
  • 20/11/1967 – Alice Thorp of Collyhurst left £547.12.11 to both Charter St and Sharp St each.
  • 28/2/1963 – Ernest Hollingsworth left £85.3.8
Letter of Complaint to Charter Street Ragged School
Letter of Complaint to Charter Street Ragged School


    • May 1900 Agreement to pay 25 shillings a year to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway for windows and lights from the school visible to the railway.
    • 1/1/19898 Ground rent agreed with Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway to pay £4 p.a for the yard area of the school.
    • Death Certificate of Charles Percy Nar School secretary in 25/9/1929 from appendicitis.
    • 11/5/1922 Valuation of the school done, fee of 20 guineas waived. During the survey of the school it stands in an area of 961 8/9 square yards, they rent 30 sq yards from the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and the school yard for £2. The building already had central heating and electric lights, and a coal lift to each floor. It had a laundry, billiards room gymnasium and four bathrooms. Valued at £18-20k at 10/5/1922.
    • Deed of trust 20/1/1920 building to be used as a Sunday School for Timitarian Protestantism and temperance societies.
    • 6/2/1950 Plaque for William Ellams put up in the mission room for 60 years service as superintendent.


Charter Street Attendance card
Charter Street Attendance card



      • 15/1/1861 – Proposed to run school in the Temperance Hall in Nelson St and call it Angel Meadow Ragged School with a body of full teachers. Joined to Manchester and Salford Ragged School Union.
      • 11/11/1934 – 40 needy persons and widows in regular attendance.
      • 5/11/1944 – Toys and dinners to be given to 120 children in their Christmas Treat.
      • 10/12/1944 – Mary Brennan, resident in Working Girls home given a warning for misuse of a gas stove.
      • 1/1/1945 – Coal shortages meant building was very cold.
      • 13/6/1945 – VE day Party for 60 children and 20 adults.


Coronation Street Support Ragged Schools
Coronation Street Support Ragged Schools


Annual Reports

      • 1861 – Took over room on Nelson St previously used by the industrial school. This had been used after the school closed as a dancing saloon for the “lowest class”. Raised £59.4.9 by subscription in the first year.
      • 1862 – School more established and becoming known in the neighbourhood. School building “meeting house of thieves and prostitutes” The school bought the building this year for £200. Soup kitchen opened with help from Cotton Famine Relief Committee (cotton famine caused by over production, and disruption of import of baled cotton by American Civil war), the teachers at the school also worked with St Michaels committee. 20 beer houses closed in the area with help from the school. The Old Victory (see above) now a boys hostel/night refuge. Number of thieves diminished. School helped a 17 year old girl leave prostitution and saved her 12 year old sister from the same fate.
      • 1863 – Problems with secular lessons not being successful, one pupil travelled to the teacher’s house for extra tuition. Subscriptions were £69.5.0.
      • 1865 – Describes filthy narrow dangerous streets and overcrowded alleys and courts, damp cellars and rickety stairs leading to obscure garrets. Beds of orange boxes and straw with 3 families sleeping in 1 room.
      • 1866 – Plans for building extension for 250 adults, 250 boys and girls and 250 infants.
      • 1867 – School now called Charter St Ragged school.
      • 1868 – Infant day school had 130 pupils under 2 lady teachers. Only destitute allowed, children charged 1d per week. Raised £1889.4.6 for school building fund.
      • 1869 – Surrounded by vice, crime and ignorance. 151 in infants class, sewing class introduced and a library with 350 books.
      • 1870 – Band of Hope. The Sick and Benevolent society visited 41, 12 had died. Woman who kept house of questionable character in Charter St became a Christian and washer woman. Teacher at the school stopped a girl being forced into a house of questionable character, the girl was a runaway from Edinburgh, and the teacher contacted her family and helped her return home after giving her lodging for a fortnight.
      • 1871 – Band of Hope 2nd year. Sick and Benevolent society made 250 visits. Looking to start infants day school to run by Kindergarten system.
      • 1876 – Helped another runaway girl return home.
      • 1878 = Sunday afternoon school 250 attended, mothers meeting and bible class 42 attended trip to New Brighton one 80 year old had never seen the sea before. The men’s gymnasium good at helping men stay out of the pubs. 48 unemployed men attend. At the Old Folks treat the oldest man was 90 and oldest woman 83.
      • Ages as follows 60-70 172, 70-80 45, 80-90 3. Only 4 old people got parish relief others still working or supported by relatives.
      • 1879 – Man found a job at the gas works, 16 clogs and clothes for 200 children and 100 adults.
      • 1880 – Whit week treat to Whitefield. Area of Angel meadow changed by increase in cheap lodging houses importing large numbers of “loose characters and destitute girls”. Hardest task for the school finding work for returned convicts.
      • 1881 – Secular classes done away with in 1870 education act, Men’s club opened and gymnasium membership increased
      • 1883 – Helped 2 run away girls one led astray by another girl. Helped to return home to Bolton.
      • 1885 – Helped an orphan girl who was being used by professional beggars, and she was fostered out.
      • 1888 – Need for extension on school building as 4,000 lived in the area.
      • 1889 – School competing with gin palces and vaults.
      • 1890 – Plans for new school building with Working Girls home to keep them out of lodging houses. Also rooms for a Sunday School needed. Old folks treat, under 60 10, 60-70 189 70-80 72, 89-90 12, 90+ 4.
      • 1891 – There were 88 licensed common lodging houses for 2,653 persons, and 123 registered lodgings renting rooms for 1,071 persons. New school cost £7,000 to build.
      • 1892 – New buildings opened 28/4/1892, older building constructed in 1866 and corner stone laid by Lord Shaftesbury, now too small, and had to turn people away. New build cost £1,650 (clarification needed) and included the Working Girls Home to provide a comfortable decent home, and surrounding them with “spiritual and moral helps”. Home run by a matron and can accommodate 40-50 girls who pay 1s 3d a week rent It had 2 bathrooms There had been an Old folks treat since 1871
      • 1893 – Problems caused by “low drinking dens” now being weeded out. Greater interest in adult services.19 living in working Girls home, they had a trip to Worsley. Total abstinence society has an attendance of 270 and 460 pledged. Sewing classes take place. Whit week treat to Heaton Park. Christmas treat 250 infants, 340 juniors and 300 adult scholars attended Christmas dinner and breakfast, and there was an Old folks Christmas Treat. 60,000 breakfasts were given out that year on a Sunday.
      • 1897 – Still Mentioned low drinking dens, describing them as plague spots. Call for stopping supply of liquor to young children and law to stop this. Talked of ragged barefoot children sent out in all weathers to public houses to buy drink for parents. Provided food for 60,000 every Sunday at breakfast. Evening classes including drill.
      • 1898 – Had their own Band of Hope with 5,417 in attendance.
      • 1912 – Helped out old people during coal strike. Education helps break down social barriers.
      • 1913 – Area improved in last 50 years especially with sanitary arrangements. 50,000 free meals given out, Help needed for old people even with the new state old age pension being brought in.
      • 1914 – No mention of the impending war. Mr Noar became additional School Secretary.
      • 1915 – 63 staff and pupils serving in the armed forces. Football club suspended.
      • 1916 – Given out 214 clogs, 1850 ½ cwts of coal and coke, given to elderly and needy. 5 killed in the war this year.
      • 1917 – Five killed in the war. At the Girls home there were 30 working in munitions and some working on the land. Fewer men at free breakfast. Girl Guides and Boys Brigade meet at the school.
      • 1918 – 100 Pairs of clogs, 237 ½ cwts of coke and 734 free meals given out. 112 staff and pupils of the school had served in WW1.
      • 1919 – Economic problems affect the area with munitions factories closing and people forced into lower paid jobs, 120 pairs of clogs given out.
      • 1920 – 220 pairs of clogs given out.
      • 1921 – The original school now a work room on Nelson St. Memorial role to seven school staff and pupils killed in WW1. Whit week trip to Heaton Park.
      • 1922 – Football club brought back after being suspended due to the war (the boys brigade still ran a team during the war years). Trip to Lytham cancelled due to strikes. 1489 ex servicemen helped out.
      • 1947 – Charter St won the Shaftesbury Society singing competition.


Chartered Street Ragged School Register December 1926
Chartered Street Ragged School Register December 1926


Different Times by William Kenneth Jones

      • “Saint” Thomas Johnson Christmas appeal asked for £600 in anticipation of serving 60,000 suppers over the period. The treasurer at the time was George Harker.
      • In 1900 three hundred children were given clogs, stocking and in certain circumstances entirely reclad. 3000 were given toys & drums etc
      • Jewish Children for Redbank and Cheetham Hill received gifts at New Year to avoid religious sensitivities
      • Present Charter Street Ragged School was the annexe extension to the existing Bricklayers Hall (vacated by the Manchester Juvenile Refuge and School of Industry established in 1846) on Nelson St. The foundation stone was laid by 7th Earl of Shaftsbury on 6th October 1866 and cost £2,030 (approx £850,000 today). The Earl was formerly Lord Ashley although the old street name of Ashley Street is believed to predate his involvement in the area with an area on the other side of Irk known as Ash Lea. The current name Aspin lane is a Saxon name meaning the same thing.
      • The Earl also worked alongside Florence Nightingale for soldiers rights and sponsored several Acts restricting Child labour.
      • The Eros Statue in Piccadilly London is dedicated to Lord Shaftesbury and his work.
      • 1897 Reverend Mercer described how Angel Meadow comprised of 7,000 people in just 33 acres on a par with the worse slums of the Capital such as Soho and Bethnal Green
      • The mortality rate was 50 per 1000 against a national average of 19.
      • Winston Churchill visited Charter St as part of his election campaign on 7th January 1906 during a normal Sunday breakfast service for 400 children and 400 men with another 100 outside. Upon election his Liberal Government introduced the National insurance Act which did away with the repressive Poor Laws of 1834 and the workhouse following recommendations set out in the Charles Booth and Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree reports.[9]


Chartered Street Ragged School Sunday School Register 1927
Chartered Street Ragged School Sunday School Register 1927


Source Documents

a         Different Times: A View of Life in Inner Manchester during the first decades of the Twentieth Century – William Jones ISBN13: 9780755202102

This history was brought together by Simon Ward and Friends of Angel Meadow who are a local community of people passionate about the history of Angel Meadow and Manchester.  This work and more can be found on their website:


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