British Schools Museum
British Schools Museum
41/42 Queen Street
1810 to 2010 - the British Schools site in Hitchin is over 200 years old! Today the British Schools Museum celebrates the history of elementary education in Britain from 1798 to the 1960s.
The listed buildings include the only surviving Lancasterian School-room (1837) where ONE master taught 300 boys, and the Galleried Classroom (1853) for 110 boys. Also includes refurbished Edwardian and WW2/1950s classrooms and include examples of children's work. The Girls' and Infants school (1857) includes display areas, cafe and gift shop. Headmaster's House is a listed mid-Victorian house has been restored and furnished to the late Victorian period.
Around the site there are Victorian toys to play with, and a Family Discovery Trail to explore this unique collection of buildings. Come and sit in the classrooms, use a dip pens, and discover what the headmaster kept in his parlour! Children can dress up in pinafores, bonnets and caps to experience early school days!
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Museum, Archive, Heritage site
Open to public between 14 February - 27 November 2012
Open Tuesdays 10am - 4pm; Saturdays 10am - 1pm; Sundays 2pm - 5pm
Visit website for information on extra openings and special events in 2012.
Schools groups, clubs, societies and private groups are accommodated throughout the year by arrangement. Please telephone for details.
£2 children (5 - 16 years)
Family ticket £12 (two adults and up to 4 children of school age)
Pre-booked group visits £7 incl refreshments and a Victorian lesson, or an extended talk on the history of elementary education.
Regrettably the Victorian architects and builders did not cater for visitors with disabilities, but we have greatly improved accessibility by installing slopes and ramps where steps used to be. We regret that the Gallery Classroom is not accessible to wheelchairs. The Headmaster's House has one step to negotiate.
The Museum houses the Jill Grey Collection of Childhood and Educational Material. Around 35,000 items related to education of children from the 17th Century collected by Hitchin resident Jill Grey (one-time personal assistant to Frank Whittle). There have been many later additions to the museums resources acquired after the death of Jill Grey.
Toys and Hobbies, Social History, Archives
Key artists and exhibits
- School Museum
- Schoolroom Museum
- Schools Museum
- British Schools
- British & Foreign Schools Society
- Jill Grey Collection of Childhood and Education Memorabilia.
- Benchmark Collection of childhood material.
- Joseph Lancaster - education for the working poor
- Monitorial Teaching
- Lancasterian Schoolroom
- Galleried Classroom
- A unique collection of 19th and 20th Century Schoolrooms.
- Museum of Victorian life and childhood - toys to play with.
- Victorian School lessons for School groups.
- Early elementary education and educationalists.
- Educational, School Registers and Archives.
- Victorian Toys
- Cartes de Visite
Sundays with the Family
On the last Sunday of each month, enjoy events specifically for families to enjoy together at the British Schools Museum, for example experience a Victorian school lesson.
Times vary according to the event so check the website for specific details.
How to obtain
Admission fees apply to the museum. Check the website for details of specific events and extra charges. Booking is essential for most events so call the museum on 01462 42014 in advance.
Victorian Schooldays at the British Schools Museum
School classes dress as Victorian children for a sample Victorian school lesson, then visit the museum room with worksheets to work with displays of toys and home life. They then sit and discuss "treasures" with a "Victorian" lady or gentleman. Wednesdays and Thursdays are preferred days, from 9 or 9:30 am to around 1pm. Space available for pupils bringing packed lunches.
How to obtain
Please telephone the Education department on 01462 420144 to determine availability, and you will be sent a data pack and form.