10th October 2021 — Founded in 1722, The Blue Coat School owes its origin to Reverend William Higgs, Rector of St Philip’s Church, Birmingham, now Birmingham Cathedral. The original school, built on the eastern side of the pleasant churchyard surrounding St. Philip’s Church, dated from 1724 and its purpose was to educate children aged nine to fourteen from poor families within the city. In these early years just 32 boys and 20 girls were clothed, fed and educated there.
The school was enlarged several times in the eighteenth century and largely rebuilt between 1792 and 1794 as a four-storey neo-classical building. Further increases of pupil numbers meant that eventually new premises had to be found. In 1930 a new school was planned and built, on the site of a large private residence, Harborne Hill House, in the pleasant suburb of Edgbaston and remains its location today. The main entrance plan of the present building is based on the original school in central Birmingham, complete with statues of a boy and girl in their Blue Coat uniform.
Next year will be the School's 300th anniversary and ahead of their special year of commemoration, all 627 pupils and staff members both academic and support, came together for their first anniversary project. Head of Creative Arts, Mathew Hegenbarth was delighted to welcome mosaic artist Jackie Nash to help pupils and staff to create a huge mosaic which once completed, will be installed on the end of the Centenary building overlooking the playground so that everyone will be able to see it and try to spot the part they helped to make.
The mosaic depicts a Blue Coat boy and girl walking towards St. Philip's Church and is a 'nod' to the School's beginnings but it will also incorporate academic, musical and sporting elements which reflect the broad curriculum and opportunities enjoyed by BCS pupils of today.
What a creative way to celebrate a 300th birthday!