The First Ragged School: A New Pupil for John Pounds, (painting)
Wehnert, E. H.
Appears in exhibition catalog as entry no. 183 (Sale info: For Sale).
Member of the New Society of Painters in Water Colours. John Pounds, the cobbler and "founder of Ragged Schools," was born at Portsmouth in 1766. The adopting of a little nephew seems to have been the beginning of the noble career for which he has been celebrated; for, thinking the boy would learn better with a companion, he took the son of a very poor woman to join him in his studies, and, becoming fascinated by the occupation of teaching, he gradually increased the number of his pupils. The little workshop in St. Mary Street, Portsmouth, measuring only 18 feet by 6, where he made and mended boots and shoes, . . . now became crowded with children of the lowest and poorest classes, sometimes amounting to nearly forty boys and girls. Pounds used often to go down to the quays, and, by bribes of roasted potatoes and such-like, induced the ragged little children to come to his school. Besides reading, writing, &c., he taught them to cook their victuals, and to mend their clothes and shoes. He was often their play-fellow, their doctor, or their nurse. As he would never take payment of any kind for his trouble, he selected his pupils from the most wretched; and sometimes, when he has learned that parents in a position to pay a schoolmaster have fraudulently gained admittance to his school for their children, he has dismissed them to make room for others more needy. . . . [Pp. 30-31.]
American Exhibition of British Art. Oil Pictures and Water Colours. 1857. W.H. Tinson, Printer, 43 and 45 Centre St., N.Y.