c. 1899

Group photo Coborn Girls

Following the Education Act of 1870, which provided for free schooling for all primary aged children, a new scheme was formed for the Coborn School under the Endowed Schools Act. Initially, the Coborn Governors sold some property in Essex to provide the funds to purchase and renovate the Stepney Grammar School in Tredegar Square; however, the Governors had overstretched themselves financially and the new school did not prosper.  The girls’ department was eventually closed down and the school was taken over by the Coopers’ Company to re-house their Grammar School. The picture shows girls sitting under the mulberry tree that was planted in the 1700s by the French Huguenots. The headmistress, Miss Sarah Chell, was a real Victorian who imposed strict rules of conduct.  Girls were expected always to wear gloves, never to go upstairs on buses or trams, and never to talk to the Coopers’ boys.