Victorian Ragged School Museum reopens following major refurbishment


The Ragged School Museum, set in warehouses along the Regents Canal, which were converted into one of the largest Ragged Schools in Victorian England, will kick-start a busy summer of major visitor attractions reopening, as its doors open today to the public.

The historic school provided a place of safety, free education and activities for thousands of the poorest children in London and was saved with £4.8m funding in 2020 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Restoration and refurbishment of the 19th century building is complete, and this popular museum is set to welcome people of all ages to discover and experience Victorian life in the East End as it was felt over a century ago.

The Ragged School Museum with its authentic Victorian classrooms, is one of a summer programme of heritage attractions across the UK reopening to visitors, after major transformations, as a result of long-term investment of £55m grant funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

In its third year the Heritage Fund’s #HeritageIsOpen campaign is raising awareness of the variety of inspiring heritage that is new to explore over the summer months, including the following places:

National Portrait Gallery – reopening after a £9.4million investment from the Heritage Fund. Lots of new galleries to explore from 22 June.
Nottingham Castle – fun for the family reopening from 26 June.
Montgomery Canal, Shropshire – learn about the wildlife that lives around this restored canal from 26 June.
Templemore Baths, Belfast – see what a 130-year-old restored bath house has to offer from 27 June.
Ragged School Museum – experience how school used to be when the building opens its doors from 28 June.
Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds – glimpse the movies as they were in the last gaslit cinema left in the UK 30 June.
Sir Walter Scott steamship – cruise Loch Katrine in Scotland on this beautifully restored steamship in June
Boston Manor Park – outdoor fun at this newly restored lake, learning space & café from June.
Boston Manor House – a weekend of fun activities will mark the opening of this Jacobean Grade I listed manor on July 7.
Sheerness Dockyard Church, Kent – view an ‘architectural masterpiece’ from 22 July.
South Cliff Gardens, Scarborough – take in the coastal views from this 200-year-old garden.

Erica Davies, Museum Director, said: “The Ragged School Museum is witness to the movement for universal free education, and a tribute to the men and women who struggled to achieve it.

“We urgently needed to repair and restore this important building and preserve the stories of the children that are part of its history and the community that surround it.

“It has been a huge challenge, particularly as we were hit with the first national lockdown, three days into the project in 2020. We’ve overcome challenges to expand under-developed areas, improved access and make it a desirable venue.

“With thanks to National Lottery players, we are delighted to be able to share the newly renovated buildings with everyone, we will be combining a strong education programme, with hireable-spaces and a new canalside café. We cannot wait for people to see inside in time for summer.”