Monday, 24 March 2014

Sepia Saturday – Robert Raikes

A bit late this week due to a big birthday in the family and a trip interstate to all get together and celebrate it.
The Sepia Saturday prompt this week is a statue. I can only think of one statue linked to my family:

This is a statue of my 5x great grandfather, Robert RAIKES (1736-1811).

In 1880, a statue of him was erected on the Victoria Embankment (between the River Thames and the Savoy Hotel, London) to celebrate the centenary of the Sunday School movement. There is a copy of the statue in Gloucester and I think another in Canada.

Robert Raikes inherited the business of the Gloucester Journal from his father but is best known for establishing the Sunday School Movement.

We grew up with stories from our grandfather John Raikes GARRETT (1908-1992) about all this. 
Pa was quite a storyteller so we didn’t really believe him, especially as he never seemed to go to church himself.
Much later when I started my family history research, I learned that this story was true.

Robert Raikes started school on Sundays when he realised that crime was connected to lack of education. He opened the first school in 1780 with the aim of providing (initially) boys with the chance to learn to read when most of those from lower social classes worked six days a week. He used his own paper, the Gloucester Journal to promote the idea, and just 20 years after his death (in 1811) about 1.25 million boys and girls were regularly attending school on Sunday.

Robert had married Anne TRIGGE in 1767 and they had 10 children, (two dying by the age of two). My 4x great grandmother Mary RAIKES (1773-1812) was the second daughter to survive infancy.

Mary Raikes married Henry GARRETT (1774-1846) who went on to become Vice Admiral of the White. They also had 10 children who all survived childhood.
My 3x great grandfather, John Thomas GARRETT (1802-1852) was their second son. I have written about him and the family before, here.
It was John’s son, Henry Raikes GARRETT (1838-1876) who came to Australia in 1858.


  1. Well you certainly have one illustrious and worthy ancestor to boast about. Thanks for sharing the story.

  2. Nice to have the oral history backed up with fact, and very special to have some one in your tree who was so philanthropic.

  3. So many family stories are inaccurate or attributed to the wrong ancestor or just plain wrong so it's nice to hear one that turned out to be right.
    Robert Raikes must have been a very charismatic man to have had so much success in such a short time.

  4. That is a great story to have in the family. I know my grandmother told stories that she learnt to read by reading the bible. She only went to school for 6 years and was 8 before she started.

  5. Wow, now this is something to be very proud of.

  6. How cool to have your very own family statue! And for such a wonderfully fine reason, too!!

  7. Goodness! I can't think of anyone in my database who would merit a statue. Fantastic!

  8. Wonderul. For once I have acuially heard of the subject of the statue. I used to tell the story of Robert Raikes and the Sunday Schools, to my pupils.

  9. How fantastic to have an ancestor with a statue - and worthy of it!