In 'Paddington As It Was', by 'Cantab', 1887, the writer says:-

'This rather Bartholowmew Fair system has for some years discontinued, and a more sensible distribution adopted. Bread and coals are now given by the parish officers and ministers to the poor residents of the parish, a list of whom is annually drawn up by the churchwardens, giving their age, residence, and employment, and the number of their children under 10 years of age. I believe the recipients are duly selected from the most worthy and deserving. From one to two 4 lb loaves and one or two hundreds of coal are thus delivered to each family, according to its numbers. In this distribution there is no distinction between parishioners and unsettled resident poor, nor in those receiving parochial relief.'

Building a School

The Victoria County History of Paddington summarizes the story of other local charities and they need not concern us here, except for one thing. In 1818, it had been decided to build a school for the poor children of the parish. It was calculated that a school for 300 could be built for £650 and would cost £175 per annum to maintain. The sale of pieces of common land for building was to be devoted to this project, but it was not enough and the scheme hung fire.

However, in 1822 the new school rooms were built on Paddington Green, or rather on a part of the site of the 'Town Pool'. This would have been the pond in the Chatelain watercolour dated 20th October, 1750. The school is shown on the corner of Margaret Terrace and Church Street of the 1847 Lucas map. In 1980 it became the site of the North Westminster Upper School Gymns and was later developed for housing.

This school was for the poor children of the Parish. There were fee paying schools as well of course.

'In January 1822, when Emma Wedgewood (who later married Charles Darwin) was fourteen and her sister Fanny nearly sixteen, they went to a small boarding school on Paddington Green, then a semi-rural village on the western outskirts of London, where they stayed one year'.

'Charles Darwin', by John Bowlby, 1990, p. 231.

To return to the Parish School. In 1838 an Act of Parliament was obtained which allowed the funds from the remaining charity estates to be rearranged. Three fifths of the whole estates, freehold as well as leasehold, were devoted towards the support of the Paddington Parochial National and Infant Schools.

The school appears to have flourished. On April 5th and 6th 1845, there was a school inspection. 200 boys out of a possible 210; 115 girls out of 131; and 180 infants out of 190, were present. The report said that the 'boys and girls were instructed in 2 rooms, well built, warmed and ventilated. The buildings handsome and well arranged.' Unfortunately no picture of the school has been found, but one may surface.

The Victoria County History says that the plot was extended to the east in 1779. An inscription in 1825 stated that the parish had built 13 dwellings in 1714, to which S. P. Cockerell had added two more as almshouses and two for the master and mistress of the charity school. The buildings formed a single-storeyed range, standing west of the school and separated from it by Church Place in 1842, by which date their land immediately to the south had been taken for a vestry room, watch house, and infants' school. 1t was at this stage that Thomas Hosmer Shepherd painted the picture of the Almshouses which is now in the British Museum.

The Paddington Green Alms houses by T. Hosmer Shephard


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