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(71) King Street, The Old Charity School / King Street School / National School

History of 89 King Street

According to the 1831 New Guide to Cambridge, The Old Charity School is ‘ a very spacious and commodious but plain building recently enlarged. The school was established in 1703 by voluntary subscription procured through the active exertions of the celebrated William Whiston, then Lucasian Professor; and among its early patrons were Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Patrick and Dr Bentley. It was originally instituted for children of both sexes but the boys are now removed to the New Free School near Pound Hill to which institution this school makes an allowance of 30l per annum.’

The 1959 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments Survey of  Cambridge states that the former National School was built in 1816. It had two storeys but by 1959 was being used as a garage and workshop.

In 1815 the Governors of the Old Schools Trust replaced their scattered dame schools for girls by a National School in King Street. The school was free until 1820 when fees were charged at 1s a quarter. The girls were taught scripture, reading, writing, accounts, needlework and knitting. In Cambridge in 1835 the ration of children at day schools was 1 in 8 overall, better than the national average of 1 in 10.7. (See Romilly’s Cambridge Diary April 1842 editor’s note)


Abraham Newland, 51, schoolmaster, b Bucks


Maria M Realfe [?], 29, schoolmistress, b Kent


Mr C K Baker, headmaster

Miss Duncombe, headmistress





1913 King Street Girls’ and Infants’ Schools

Miss L Smith, head mistress

Miss Bradley, assistant mistress


2018 King Street Housing


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