13. Hitchin British Schools

41 – 42 Queen Street, SG4 9TS

Hitchin British Schools were founded in 1810 by philanthropist William Wilshere for “the sons of the labouring poor”. The present building, dating from 1837 with several later additions, includes the only surviving Lancasterian schoolroom in the world, where 300 boys could be taught by one master in a single room. It is Grade II* listed and the rest of the site Grade II. Also included are a galleried classroom, Victorian and World War II schoolrooms, and the headmaster’s and headmistress’ houses. It is now a unique educational heritage centre, run by a charitable trust, open to the public on certain days and with a thriving programme of school visits.

William John Fitch was appointed Master in 1854 and, despite ill health and being somewhat lame, he remained in post for 45 years. More on this remarkable man can be read here (external link).

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