Tuesday 14 January 2014

The Blue Coat Charity Children of Wren's Chapel, Hatton Garden and Other Blue Coat Schools of London

These distinctive figures seen around London mark a charity school or chapel used by the school. Many date to the mid-16th century, with the costumes being normal school attire of the period. Blue was used for charity school children because it was the cheapest dye available for clothing. Socks were dyed in saffron as that was thought to stop rats nibbling the pupils’ ankles! I just wish the Blue Coat maid was showing us her sampler, though!

This Blue Coat maid and boy can be seen on Wren's Chapel in Hatton Gardon, London. But here are many more dotted around - click here to find out where they are.


  1. How interesting! I've just hung a little watercolour in my work "corner" which depicts the beautiful blue dresses, grey shawls and white aprons for a female charity school in Hammersmith, dated 1810 - a school which I can find no record for. A sad detail is that each girl wears a number on her sleeve.

  2. I wish they were still charity schools. My son goes to a blue coat school and they are private (fee paying) schools now. they still wear the long blue coats and yellow stockings though at special events.