In the 18th century life at the Boys’ Charity School was harsher still, as can be seen in this passage taken from Chapter six,'Amusements, Learning, and Literature'; 'Reminiscences of Sheffield in the 18th Century' by R.E.Leader:
"The chief ‘function’ (in 18th century Sheffield) .... was the Assemblies, held in their earlier days in two rooms of the Boys’ Charity School, where, Mr. Hunter tells us, "the company enjoyed conversation, or the mazy dance, by light not of wax, which beamed from sconces of tin". It was not the tallow-candles that shocked the feelings of the benevolent Samuel Roberts, but the fact that the master of the school farmed the children and made his profit out of famishing them, pocketing everything he could save from the sixteen pence per head per week allowed for their maintenance. And it was further to enlarge his income that this worthy was allowed to hire out the rooms in which the boys ought to have slept, for the dancing and card assemblies. That it was possihle for the beauty and fashion of Sheffield to disport itself to the detriment of young lives, gives us a vivid insight into the callous state of public feeling but perhaps it may be charitably ascribed rather to want of thought than to lack of heart. The scandal was stopped in I762, when the subscribers erected for themselves the Assembly Rooms at the corner of Norfolk Street and Arundel Street."
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