ragged school

World English Dictionary
ragged school
 
n
(in Britain, formerly) a free elementary school for poor children

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

ragged school

any of the 19th-century English and Scottish institutions maintained through charity and fostering various educational and other services for poor children, such as elementary schooling, industrial training, religious instruction, clothing clubs, and messenger and bootblack brigades. The schools were allied in 1844 with the founding of the Ragged School Union in London. They rapidly died out after 1870 with the introduction of national compulsory education, though a few remained into the 20th century.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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