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The newspaper proprietor and editor, Robert Raikes the Younger (1736-1811), set up the first Sunday School for working-class children in the home of a Mrs Meredith, in Sooty Alley, Gloucester, in 1780. he advertised the development of this school in his widely circulating newspaper, the Gloucester Journal, on 3 November 1783, and by so doing initiated the Sunday School movement. this would provide the first schools of the English state system, which, by 1831, was providing an education for 1,250,000 children.
centenary celebrations of the first Sunday School, in 1880, included the erection of a statue of robert raikes by Thomas Brock in Victoria Embankment Gardens, on the north bank of the Thames. Phil May’s drawing, made two decades later, shows one of his favourite types of characters – working-class boys – expressing their disapproval of Raikes’ benevolence, by pelting this statue with snowballs.