In all history there are unsung heros and one of these must surely be John Pounds.
Born in Portsmouth Hampshire, in 1766, John Pounds was crippled after a fall in the dockyards where he was an apprenticed shipwright.
He became a shoemaker and was known as the crippled cobbler.
There were many destitute children living around the dockside in Portsmouth, for whom life was incredibly tough. John Pounds saw the need to help and started to teach them reading, writing and arithmetic at his cobblers shop in St Marys road in 1818
He also gave them some life skills teaching them cookery, carpentry and shoemaking. Giving them an opportunity to have a better life.
His school grew and is regarded as the first ‘Ragged School’ in the country, a charitable venture dedicated to the free education of destitute children.
The work of Ragged Schools was closely supported by Charles Dickens
Click on the link for a really useful website for the history of ragged schools or visit Portsmouth Unitarian church to see the memorial to John Pounds
To find out more intriguing historical facts about Portsmouth Hampshire and useful family history information visit our Counties and Parishes theme page