Everyone has a favourite London Museum. If you were to poll east London primary school children however, there is one that is sure to come up time and time again. The Ragged School Museum in Mile End is a former Dr Barnados Day School dedicated to telling the story of East End poverty and Victorian schooling. Hours of school-trip fun have been spent dressing up, being good-as-gold in mock lessons (the ‘schoolmistress’ is still genuinely terrifying), being threatened with the cane and writing on slates. Surprising fun for a nine year old.
All these fond memories made it seem even more upsetting to hear news that the Museum’s grade-two listed building (it has hopes for a heritage fund grant) was vandalised and forced to close earlier this week. Museums like the Ragged School (which is a registered charity) run on a shoestring, meaning that losing one day’s business is a massive blow. It appears that we are not alone in this however. Coverage of the vandalism has resulted in twitter being overcome with its favourite emotion (outrage), and heart-warming messages of support and donations have flooded in over the past couple of days.
The Museum has now re-opened and, in the words of its director, is ‘carrying on undeterred’. It will be open to the public for drop-ins on Wednesday and Thursday of half term (June 6/7) with a special Jubilee programme. That’s Victoria’s jubilee, of course. Ellie Clayton