Queen's Orphanage, New Town

Queen's Orphanage building

The King's Orphan School, later Queen's Orphan School, was built in 1833. It was originally intended to provide for children of convict women, orphans those whose parent were unable to support them and abandoned children. Some local children who were unable to attend other schools were also enrolled on a fee paying basis.

Before long, the number of children housed at the school far exceeded the number it was designed for, by a couple of hundred, so the guidelines for whether a child could be admitted had to be changed. I found it interesting that a child with a mother but no father was given priority over a child with a father but no mother. The father was expected to earn the income that supported the family, so a child with no father was in dire need of government support.

The general impression of the school is a bleak, over-crowded institution, with occasional headmasters who were more interested in their own profits or wellbeing than the children in their care. Not to mention the perpetual problem of any government funded institution - lack of money.

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