Ragged School Museum

Things to do Mile End Free
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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 (© Ragged School Museum)
© Ragged School Museum

Ragged School Museum

 (© Ragged School Museum)
© Ragged School Museum
 (© Ragged School Museum)
© Ragged School Museum
 (© Ragged School Museum)
© Ragged School Museum
 (© Ragged School Museum)
© Ragged School Museum
 (© Ragged School Museum)
© Ragged School Museum
 (© Ragged School Museum)
© Ragged School Museum

Ragged schools were an early experiment in public education: they provided tuition, food and clothes for destitute children. This one was the largest in London, and Dr Barnardo himself taught here. The Ragged School Museum is now a local museum of the East End which examines the experiences of the children who attended the school. As well as a complete mock-up of a ragged classroom, the museum also features an Edwardian kitchen equipped with utensils for visitors to handle. On the first Sunday of every month, visitors can attend a Victorian lesson reenactment. 

A new permanent exhibition, 'Ragged Children, Manded Lives', opened in October 2015, revealing the experience of a nineteenth-century East London childhood with images, objects and materials.


Venue name: Ragged School Museum
Address: 46-50
Copperfield Road
E3 4RR
Transport: Tube: Mile End
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This museum is above all else great for kids. The theory is that you take your children there and sign them up for one of the old ragged school lessons. These lessons are done as they would have been done in the actual ragged schools in the past. The teacher is dressed up in period clothing and the kids get to dress up to. I watched a lesson take place and the kids seemed to be having a genuinely great time and we're obviously learning a lot about history at the same time. Double win! Parents are also allowed to sit in the classroom so you don't have to abandon your kids all are welcome. And the most important thing is that this museum is completely free and so makes a great day out for the whole family.

There is also a small museum area on the entrance level, a shop and a cafe in the lower floor. It's aimed more at kids than adults and as an adult I'd read everything the museum had to offer within half an hour but if you've got kids this is a really great place to take them.

The Mile End park next to the museum is also a really nice park to walk through and has a couple of picnic tables right opposite the museum so why not take a picnic along and make a day of it. Perfect :-)