Schools in Cosby and Littlethorpe, 1818-1914

1818 (population 826 in 1811)

In 1818 vicar Thomas Rickards reported that there was no school for poorer children in Cosby, but that ‘The poorer classes are very anxious to possess the means of educating their children’.

1833 (population 1,009 in 1831)

There were now six infant schools in Cosby and Littlethorpe containing about 72 children, together with a daily school of 12 (presumably older) children, all of whom were instructed at the expense of their parents.


There were 70 boys and 94 girls attending an Anglican day school in Cosby in 1847.

From 1870

The old day school was said to have been ‘disused for many years’ in 1872. A site was given for a new school on the Croft Road by William Brooks Esq. A National School for 180 pupils was built and opened in September 1872. The building cost £1,600, paid for by subscription and grants from the government and the Anglican church, and the vicar was able to report positively to the National Society In 1874 that they had no need of any grant from that society. . The central part of the H-shaped plan contained the boys’ school, with the girls in one of the wings, and the master’s residence in the other wing. By 1877 the average attendance was 85, but some children appear to have been kept away to work in local shoe factories. Attendance had increased to 110 in 1895, when there were also 34 infants attending. By 1912, this school was being used purely or infants, and had an average attendance of 100. Older children attended a council school, completed in 1912 with sufficient room for 170 children. Average attendance that year was 140. The new school had handicraft and cookery departments.



Sunday schools

In 1818 there was a Sunday school in Cosby which was attended by 125 boys and girls. By 1833 the number of children attending had fallen to 60. The Sunday school was supported by parochial contributions.

The Sunday school attached to St Michael’s parish church at Cosby had an average attendance in 1851 of 100 scholars on Sunday mornings and 130 each Sunday afternoon. There was also a Sunday school attached to Cosby Baptist Church, attended by around 20 people on Sunday evenings



  • Education of the Poor Digest, Parl. Papers 1819 (224)
  • Education Enquiry, Parl. Papers 1835 (62)
  • National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church, Result of the Returns to the General Inquiry made by the National Society, into the state and progress of schools for the education of the poor … during the years 1846-7, throughout England and Wales (London, 1849).
  • 1851 Ecclesiastical census
  • Trade directories
  • Leicester Chronicle


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