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Not Brentford New

Mrs Trimmer's Sunday School

Mrs Trimmer's Sunday School, built in 1786, is in an area of Brentford which is being redeveloped during 2016. Thanks to Roger Williams for a link to Mike Paterson's London Historians' Blog, which tells the disappointing but unsurprising story of the insensitive handling of this small, unique building by the developers.

A few images of the building: an early 1900s postcard, Quentin Pickard's photo from the mid 1960s; and finally a photo taken in 2002 by Janet McNamara. If you are interested in the Trimmer family search for Trimmer on the home page; there are several references to members of this family including articles by Selby Whittingham.

Some newspaper articles

The earliest article dates from August 1787, the year after the school opened, and describes how Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, took an interest in Mrs Trimmer's school:

Derby Mercury 23 August 1787
On Thursday last Mrs Trimmer, the Patroness of the Sunday School at Brentford, had the Honour to be sent for to Kew, by the Queen, to whom, by her Majesty's Command, several of the Children were introduced. Some of these children are not only taught to read on Sundays, but are usefully employed on other Days, in spinning with a peculiar Kind of a Wheel, at which five Girls spin at a Time, whilst a Sixth turns it round. Her Majesty wishing to see them at Work, one of these Wheels was sent to Kew, and the Children spun in the Royal presence for a considerable Time. Mrs Trimmer then read a very edifying and very intelligible Lecture, suited to the Capacity of the young Spinners, and was graciously dismissed with Approbation and Applause for her Abilities and Humanity.

The same article was printed in the Kentish Gazette, 4 September 1787; then in the Northampton Mercury and Norfolk Chronicle on 8 September 1787 and It probably did the rounds in other local papers.

Shortly after, on 4 October 1787, the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette published a hymn written for the Ealing and Old Brentford Sunday Schools (I could not spot the author's name):
To the Printer of the Bath Chronicle
As the Hymn I now send you has met with general approbation, I am satisfied you will readily give it a place in your paper. - I had the pleasure to hear it sung at the Protestant Dissenters Meeting at Brentford, by the Sunday School children, where Mr & Mrs Trimmer, and several Ladies and Gentlemen of the Church of England, attended. - The Sermon preached on the occasion, for the benefit of the Sunday Schools, did honour to Mr Bradshaw, as a Minister of the Gospel and a real Christian. - The mutual exertions of the members of the Church of England and Dissenters, to promote the success of the Sunday Schools, shew a liberality of sentiment that is truly characteristic of the Christian and good subject.

AN HYMN
Composed for the Use of the SUNDAY SCHOOLS at EALING and OLD BRENTFORD.
Father of Mercies! God of Grace!
Each perfect Gift is thine;
Through various Channels flow the Streams,
The Source is still Divine.

Thy Kindness call'd us unto Life,
And all the Good we know,
Each present Comfort, future Hope,
Thy liberal Hands bestow.

The Friends whose Charity provides
This Refuge, where to flee
From Want, from Ignorance, and Vice,
Were raised up by Thee.

To thee we owe the full Supply,
Which by their Hands is given;
To make us useful here below,
And train our Souls for Heaven.

May Health and Peace attend them here,
And every Joy above;
While we improve with grateful Hearts
The Labour of their Love!

Published June 2016