A Singing Lesson at the Jews' Free School (1908). Courtesy of the Jews' Free School [School's own website]

A brilliant pupil at University College School in Bloomsbury, Moses Angel overcame a family scandal (his father had been transported for robbery) to become the revered Headmaster of the large Jews' Free School in the East End. This grew to an astounding 2,400 pupils by 1870. Indeed, according to Gerry Black, it would eventually top 4,000 under Angel's leadership, becoming probably the largest school in the world. Matthew Arnold, in his role as School Inspector, was greatly impressed by it. When Picard shows Angel at the roadside, picnicking with his army of pupils after a school outing to the British Museum and the Surrey Zoological Gardens, we too pause to admire this man who did so much to integrate immigrant Jewish children into the mainstream of English society.

Related Material


Black, Gerry. "Angel, Moses (1817-1898)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Web. 15 April 2007. (Black is the author of The History of the Jews' Free School since 1732 (1998) to which Picard refers).

Jackson, Lee. A Dictionary of Victorian London: An A-Z of the Great Metropolis. London: Anthem Press, 2006. [Review]

Picard, Liza. Victorian London: The Life of a City, 1840-1870. London: Phoenix, pbk ed. 2006. [Review]

White, Jerry. London in the Nineteenth Century: "A Human Awful Wonder of God." London: Cape, [Review]

Last modified 30 April 2006