Cogan’s Charity School, Hull

The YAHS has collected many ephemeral printed items - this ranges from histories of buildings, pamphlets and guidebooks through to clerical sermons. Amongst these are some reports and descriptions of Charity Schools. One that caught our attention is about a school in Hull.

cogans charity school rules Hull“Rules to be strictly observed and enforced by the parents or friends of girls admitted into the Subscription School Salthouse Lane – together with an address to the parents” Hull 1811

These rules refer to Cogan’s Charity School, 56 Salthouse Lane which was founded by William Cogan Esq., Alderman, on the 2nd of July 1753 for “clothing and instructing 20 poor girls” for 3 years only. At the end of the 3 years domestic employment was found for the girls. If they completed 7 years service without getting into trouble they could apply for a £6 marriage portion.

By 1822 there were 40 girls in the school and £400 was provided to support them. The headmistress drew £50 a year and the clerk to the charity £20 a year. The school was no longer in existence by 1892 when the premises are recorded as a lodging house.

The children did not live on the premises. In summer, the school weekday was 8.30 to 11.45 and 1.00 to 5.00. Whilst in winter the school times were 8.45 to 4.00. Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day the pupils had to be at school by 10.00 and stayed till 2.00. During those 4 hours they were catechised and went to a church service. They also went to church on Tuesday evenings in the summer months. If they did not attend school regularly their place would be forfeited. They were fined half a penny if they were late and a whole penny if they missed half a day. Any child staying away for a fortnight would be expelled. There were holidays. One week at Whitsuntide, one fortnight in the season for gleaning, one week at Christmas, every Saturday afternoon, Shrove Tuesday afternoon, the King’s birthday and Hull Fair Days on the 11th and 12th of October.

The children were paid one shilling a quarter in advance and could earn money as they worked in the school. There were also financial rewards for good behaviour. When they left they had to give two weeks notice. All complaints from pupils or parents were to go to the Committee not the headmistress. All communications had to be in writing.

The girls had to be sent to school perfectly neat and clean, their hair cut short and no earrings or finery of any sort. There were to be no white frocks or bonnets, no sashes or hats turned up in the front, no tassels, feathers or anything that is not plain and decent – “which is most proper for their station in life”. The girls’ conduct in the streets had to be decent and orderly. They were not to molest passengers or passers-by with noise or rudeness. They were not to run about in the streets after dusk and certainly not play in the streets on a Sunday. Any time they were out of doors they had to wear a hat.

The address to the parents contained some sobering observations. The
committee stated that it was their “earnest desire to train up the children in habits of diligence and good order, cleanliness and neatness, the principles of religion and obedience to parents and prepare them to fulfil the duties required in the stations where they would be placed”. The parents were urged to “rejoice in the opportunity of bringing your children under that good instruction which may by the blessings of God strengthen their minds against those temptations to vice and wickedness which have ruined so many young persons”. The parents were also warned that “you are accountable to the Almighty Creator for your conduct towards your children”. They were urged to “amend your own lives for the good of your children”.

Salthouse Lane was so named as salt was stored there. Tickell calls it Salters Lane. It was probably called Pole Street at one time - the De La Pole manor house stood nearby. According to Tickell it was “an open airy street in which a few merchants reside”
Battle’s Directory 1814/15
White’s Directory 1826, 1851, 1858
Pigot’s Directory 1834
Noble’s Directory 1838
Bulmer’s Directory 1892
Tickell – History of Hull 1796
Rules for The Subscription School Salthouse Lane Hull 1811

Janet C. Senior, Assistant Librarian