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"Is this real goId, Auntie?" asked Michael, "No, not really, but it does look good, I admit. What does it say on it?" I asked, "Robert Raikes on the top of the medal and, underneath, Robert Raikes, 150th Anniversary, founder of the Sunday Schools, 1780 - 1830," was the reply. "Oh, I had forgotten that a medal was issued to commemorate the opening of Sunday Schools. Yes, that gentleman was born in Gloucester more than 200 years ago. When I was a little girl we used to have a big picture on the wall shewing some young boys and there was a lot of rough play going on. I suppose it was similar to what we often hear about these days in some of our cities and this was meant to represent what Robert Raikes saw near his home on Sundays and he thought he could suggest better things for the young people to do. In 1780, therefore, he opened a Sunday School and it was an immediate success."

So on and on I went with a story that I had heard time and time again. I have heard it said that other people around at that time had started similar groups but to them no honour has been accorded. However, it is to Robert Raikes the credit is given as the promoter of this movement which spread rapidly thoughout the country. Manchester welcomed the opportunity to gather the young life of the city and its environs into channels where the ignorance and misery could be handled and opportunities made to mould any character forming material which could be seen in the young Iife they had manages to interest.


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Failsworth View 1840

'Robert a'th' View' - Chapter list