British Schools Museum (The Hitchin British Schools Trust)
41/42 Queen Street
Phone(s): 01462 420144
Fax: 01462 422133
Web pages: www.britishschoolsmuseum.co.uk/
The British Schools Museum in Queen Street, Hitchin, is housed in a unique set of historic (listed Grade 2 and 2*) school buildings. They tell the story of elementary education in Britain from 1800.
The first school on this site was the first 'monitorial school' in Hertfordshire, opened and endowed in 1810 by William Wilshere for the education of the children of the 'working classes'.
Today the oldest building dates from 1837. The Monitorial, or Lancasterian, Schoolroom is where one master taught 300 boys in the methods advocated by Quaker educationalist Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838). The master would select and teach 'monitors' who then taught groups of 8-10 other boys. The Hitchin Schoolroom is believed to be the only survivor of its type in the world. The 1853 Galleried Classroom is adjacent to the Schoolroom and is another unique example of its type.
Girls were taught in the same way in separate buildings. The present Girls' and Infants' School dates from 1857, replacing the original converted malthouse that was badly damaged by fire in 1845. Houses were built for the Master of the Boys' School and Mistress of the Girls' School in 1857. The Masters' House is open and furnished to the late Victorian period. The Mistress' House serves as the museum offices.
The Museum is open from March to November. Please see the museum's website for opening times. And on other days throughout the year for special and pre-booked school visits and group visits. Events are organised through out the year.
As an independent museum and a registered charity there is a small entrance charge. Entry to the cafe and gift shop is free.
The Museum has a large team of volunteers and would welcome enquiries from anyone who would like to help.
Recommended parking for the Museum is Woodside all-day car park in Walsworth Road. Visitors should allow at least 2 hours, preferably 3 hours for their visit.
Registered charity number: 1010345
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