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ROGERS, William (1819-1896)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0372 ROGERS
Held at: Bishopsgate Institute
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Full title: ROGERS, William (1819-1896)
Date(s): 1837-1994
Level of description: Fonds
Extent: 3 volumes, 1 folder
Name of creator(s): Rogers | William | 1819-1896 | educational reformer


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Rogers was born in November 1819, was the son of William Lorance Rogers, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn and a London police magistrate, and his wife, Georgiana Louisa, daughter of George Daniell QC; sent to Eton College in September 1830; Oxford University, matriculating from Balliol College in 1837, and graduating BA in 1842 and MA in 1844. While at Oxford he obtained no academic distinction, but became well known as an oarsman. He had in May 1837 rowed in the Eton boat against Westminster. He took an active part in founding the Oxford University boat club, and rowed number four in the fourth race between Oxford and Cambridge in 1840; left Oxford and went with his mother and sisters on a tour abroad, staying mainly in Florence, and on his return entered the University of Durham (October 1842) for theological training; ordained to his first curacy--at Fulham--on Trinity Sunday 1843. In the summer of 1845, Rogers was appointed to the perpetual curacy of St Thomas's, Charterhouse, City of London; remained for eighteen years, and worked to improve the social conditions of his parishioners, particularly by establishing schools; exploited the influential friendships he had formed at Balliol with the likes of Lord Coleridge, Stafford Northcote, Lord Hobhouse, Dean Stanley, Jowett, and Archbishop Temple to carry through his schemes. He `eternally dunned' his friends, as he admitted, for his great educational work, but never for his own advancement. Within two months of his arrival he opened a school for street children in a blacksmith's shed and, in January 1847, he opened a large school building, erected at a cost of 1750. In five years' time he was educating 800 parish children at the new school, but was determined to extend his operations. He was encouraged by the sympathy of the marquess of Lansdowne, president of the council, who in 1852 laid the foundation of new buildings in Goswell Street, completed in the following year at a cost of 5500. Rogers had obtained 800 from the council of education; the remainder he obtained by his private fund-raising. But before the debt was extinguished he had projected another new school, in Golden Lane, and contrived to extract nearly 6000 from the government for the purpose. This was opened by the Prince Consort on 19 March 1857. Before he left St Thomas's, Charterhouse, the whole parish was a network of schools, described in the official reports on the schools published by Rogers successively in 1851, 1854, 1856, and 1857; appointed by Lord Derby a member of the Royal Commission to inquire into popular education, June 1858; returned at the head of the poll as a representative of the London school board, 1870; appointed Chaplain-in-Ordinary to the Queen, 1857; prebdendary at St Paul's, 1862; presented to the rectory of St Botolph without Bishopsgate, June 1863. There he energetically set about founding what were called `middle-class schools': secondary schools catering for the sons (he later added provision for girls) of tradesmen and clerks, intended for white-collar occupations in the City. At a time when secondary education was under review by the Taunton commission, Rogers became a leading promoter of such schools. The Cowper Street middle-class schools in Finsbury, for which he raised 20,000, were a model of their type. His next important work was the reconstruction of Alleyn's great charity at Dulwich, of which he was appointed a governor at the behest of the prince consort in 1857. After becoming chairman of the governors in 1862, Rogers had a stormy relationship with the headmaster, A. J. Carver, who was intent on establishing a leading public school. Rogers wanted the endowment to be used to establish middle-class schools in London parishes, an aim partly achieved, after four schemes had been mooted, in 1882 when the Alleyn School was founded as a separate institution from Dulwich College. Rogers advocated secular education, leaving doctrinal training to parents and clergy. He was much attacked in the religious press for an outburst in October 1866 against the obstacles to middle-class schools: `Hang economy, hang theology: let us begin' (Reminiscences, 167). This earned him the sobriquet `hang theology' Rogers. He supported the opening of museums and galleries on Sundays and was a founder of the non-sectarian Society for the Relief of Distress. In Bishopsgate, Rogers was active in the restoration of the church of St Botolph, and at all times, both in his own and adjoining parishes, the erection of baths, wash-houses, and drinking fountains, the extension of playgrounds, and the provision of cheap meals, industrial exhibitions, picture galleries, and free libraries had his heartiest support. His labours in his own parish culminated in the opening of the Bishopsgate Institute (24 November 1894). From the mid-1880s he was badly lame, which curtailed his activities. Rogers died Jan 1896.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of educational reformer William Rogers (1819-1896), including: miscellaneous certificates, correspondence and papers regarding Rogers' life and career, religious appointments and the administration of St Botolph's without Bishopsgate, 1837-1994; volume of press cuttings of obituaries of Rogers from various newspapers and periodicals, 1896.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

No further arrangement required.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Documents cannot be photocopied at present. Digital photography (without flash) is permitted for research purposes on completion of the Library's Copyright Declaration form and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Finding aids:

Handlist available; ADLIB catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

No further information at present.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Stefan Dickers.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
24 July 2006

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