Ragged School Museum: School Daze

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It may seem strange to take your kids to school during their time off, but the Ragged School Museum contains enough of a historical wow factor to make it a smash hit for any family outing. Head to this riverside school complex on the first Sunday of the month for a fully costumed demonstration of East End children’s lives at the Ragged School, which was established in 1877 by Thomas Barnardo as the Copperfield Road Free School to educate the neighborhood’s many poor children. Costumed museum docents dressed as Victorian schoolmarms will lead your kids in a brief but historically-accurate recreation of a typical school day. Your kids might be giggling as they take their places at their wooden bench desks facing a blackboard marked with neat rows of cursive lettering, but they’ll soon have a much deeper appreciation of the experience. After roll call and a washed-hand inspection, the kids will pass out slates and chalks–a far cry from today’s tablet computers– to copy their lessons from the board. When two of the three Rs have been complete, you can quietly join in as they recite their times tables. Through it all, everyone had better mind their manners if they don’t want to wear the dreaded dunce cap. But certainly your little Dickensian orphans will follow the rigorous classroom etiquette – no talking, fidgeting or slouching – so treat them to an after-school snack from the Towpath Cafe while gazing out at the tranquil Regent’s Canal right outside.

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Ragged School Museum

46-50 Copperfield Rd London E3 4RR

44 20 8980 6405

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