The Old Grammar School – Market Harborough, England - Atlas Obscura

The Old Grammar School

Market Harborough, England

This iconic building was founded as a school for the impoverished, but became one for the sons of the local gentry. 

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Constructed in 1614 by funds donated by local benefactor Robert Smythe, this building was designed to house a school for impoverished children from the town.

Children that attended the all-boys school were provided with bibles and were taught Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Many of the students went on to serve in the clergy of the Church of England. The building continued as a school until 1908 when a new academy was built in the town. The Old Grammar School was eventually home to fee-paying students, who were the sons of the city’s more wealthy inhabitants. By 1673, the majority of the 60 students at the school were children of the local nobility and gentry.

The building was designed on stilts to allow local farmers’ wives to use the covered area for their weekly butter market. The most famous former student who attended the school was Nobel prize winner William Henry Bragg, who won the award in 1915 along with his son William Lawrence Bragg for their work on x-ray crystallography.

The building is currently available to rent for exhibitions and functions. It was fully refurbished in 2014.  

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