two people on header title pyramid with an eye in the centre
grants approval
  • Modest termly grants to help with the education of children at junior or secondary school.
  • Modest one-off grants to help with the cost of text books or equipment for children transitioning into further education.

  • qualification criteria
  • Schools attended by the child must be within the UK and be fee paying.
  • Applicants must hold British nationality and be able to prove they are of Huguenot descent, normally by means of a family tree showing they are directly descended from a French Protestant refugee who left France because of religious persecution in the 16th, 17th or early 18th century.
  • Financial need must be demonstrated by a full declaration of household income and expenditure.
  • Please note that the desire for an independent education that you cannot afford to buy for your child on your own is no reason to apply to a grant-giving trust. Such applications will be rejected.

    how to apply

    Print off and complete the application form below.
    Get the support of an independent person of standing (e.g. doctor, solicitor, magistrate) and ask them to sign the application form.
    Send the form with proof of Huguenot descent and financial need to:           
    The Secretary,
    5 Poulters Wood,
    BR2 6JD. 

    PDF LogoClick here to download the application form

    approval process
  • The Governors meet twice a year to consider applications, in mid-May and mid-October, and aim to ensure that all available funds are allocated on each occasion.
  • Once a grant has been approved for a child in primary or secondary education, it is the policy of the Governors to continue payments until the child leaves school provided there are no changes which would, in the opinion of the Governors, make continued payment inappropriate.
  • It is a condition for the continuation of grants that school reports are submitted regularly and the Governors be kept fully informed about any changes in the applicant's financial circumstances and any other factors that may affect continued payment of the grant.

  • privacy

    By completing and submitting a grant application to the Westminster French Protestant School Foundation you consent to your personal information being held for the time during which assistance is provided and for such period thereafter as the Secretary may require but not normally exceeding five years. Additionally, genealogical information including family trees and copies of Birth and Marriage Certificates may be passed to the Huguenot Library for historical purposes only.

    You also have certain rights under existing data protection laws, including:

    1. Right to access: the right to request information about, access to and copies of the personal information about you that we are holding.
    2. Right to rectification: the right to have your personal information rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete.
    3. Right to erasure: the right to request that we delete or erase your personal information from our records.

    Any requests for information should be made to the Secretary. Please note that if you withdraw your consent to the use of your personal information for purposes set out in our Privacy Policy, we may not be able to provide you with access to our services.


    The Foundation
    The original French Protestant School was founded in 1747 and closed on 18th July 1924. The adjacent French Protestant Episcopal Church of the Savoy closed at the same time. In place of the school, the Westminster French Protestant School Foundation was sanctioned on 29th April 1927 with a view to assisting qualified beneficiaries to attend schools where they could prove they are of Huguenot descent and are in financial need.

    Pupils of the school outside Hadham Hall, Herts around 1910

    Pupils of the school outside Hadham Hall, Herts around 1910

    The School 
    The French Protestant School, catering for girls only and known also as the Blue Coat School, moved to its final site at 233 Shaftesbury Avenue in London’s West End in 1846. Madame Flecknoe acted as school mistress from 1894 until its closure in 1924.  She was a widow and it seems that she was retained on a very small salary and had to run the school on a shoe-string. She normally stood in class as straight as a poker with her hands behind her back. She is buried in Hillingdon cemetery.

    Although the regime had Dickensian overtones, Madame Flecknoe had the respect and love of her pupils. She had to make all the girls’ dresses herself and her successful management of the school was evident in the admirable qualities of the pupils when they left the strictness of school for the rigours of business and domestic life afterwards.

    The pupils wore a blue serge dress, summer and winter, with red flannel petticoats and a white mob cap based on 18th century French costume. The tuckers worn at the top of the dresses around the neckline had to be crocheted by each pupil herself.

    Tea consisted of bread served from a large pewter platter and any girl considered to be disobedient was denied this and had to go to bed hungry. There was a hot dinner on Wednesday but because it was hot, there was no pudding.

    There was never any butter or jam but sometimes the girls had treacle on dry bread – the treacle being served from giant size Golden Syrup tins. As for puddings, there was just apple pudding on Sunday and on Saturday apple peelings. For this, the girls used to sit on the wooden stairs to the kitchen and one girl used to go round giving each pupil a handful.

    When apples were scarce, tapioca pudding took its place. This was made by two of the older girls and when Madame Flecknoe was out of the way, they used to make small extra ones in patty tins. If she was heard approaching, they were hidden in what was known as the beetle cupboard because the kitchen, like most in those days, was infested with large black beetles. The girls also used the grouts from the coffee Madame Flecknoe had – they never had proper coffee themselves.


    Liquorice powder was administered every Tuesday night. There was no bathroom and only one toilet for the girls’ use in the basement. Their bedrooms were on the top floor, the schoolroom below this and the Committee Room on the floor below that. This had long black boards around its walls bearing the names of those who had given donations to maintain the school in gilt lettering.

    There were two very large bedrooms called the Upper Room and Lower Room with single iron beds, each with a small enamel chamber pot underneath. As there was no bathroom, two large tin baths were utilised. They normally hung on the wall in the scullery next to the kitchen.  The older girls bathed the young ones and themselves in front of the kitchen fire which seemed like luxury except for having to empty the baths by hand afterwards.

    Otherwise, the girls had a strip-down wash each morning with water being obtained from a cold tap outside on the landing and poured into old-fashioned basins in the bedrooms.


    The girls rose at 7am and had to perform all domestic tasks themselves with one to be done before breakfast - which consisted of porridge made with half a pewter mug of milk. The whole kitchen, stairs and outside steps had to be scrubbed, the stove black-leaded and all furniture polished. Meal tables were furnished with pewter plates.

    There was even a real-life Cinderella at the school. The older girls laid out and lit the large stove first thing in the morning and one – whoever was on the rota – had to sift the cinders, taking the ash to the dustbin in the outside yard and returning the useable cinders to the fire. A special frock called the ‘cinder frock’ had to be worn by the girl performing the duty which involved swallowing much dust over their years at the school.

    After breakfast each girl, still seated at the one very long table, read a verse from the Bible. In the Committee Room were shelves of red-bound books, all being stories of escaping Protestants. Madame Flecknoe encouraged the girls to read a lot in their very little leisure time.


    Pocket money
    The Committee met monthly and the invitations for it were written out by a pupil chosen by the school mistress. For this she received sixpence, but this was taken from her because the girls were allowed no money whatsoever - other than one penny a term as pocket money – enough to enable them to buy sweets at a shop called Scammels in Seven Dials.

    The girls at the school acted as the choir for the Savoy Episcopal Church next door and St Anne’s Church, Soho when the Savoy Church was closed for a time. They were taught singing by Miss Stollery, the niece of the school mistress.

    Going Out
    There were two annual trips – one to the French Hospital in Victoria Park where the school sang to the residents and the other to Hadham Hall in Hertfordshire owned by Miss Minet.

    Three of the older girls were also allowed to go to see a pantomime in the Princes Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. They sat in the gallery, which probably would not have cost more than threepence a head.

    useful links

    French Church, Norwich
    St. Mary the Less Church stands in Queen Street, Norwich tucked almost out of site behind the Woolwich Building Society.

    In 1902 the Norwich French Church Charity was established by the Charity Commissioners, to be responsible for the income arising from the Church. The Church has recently been sold by the Trustees and the proceeds invested to provide an annual income.

    Half the income is still given to the French Hospital in Rochester, Kent. The other half is used to help the education and training of Norwich and Norfolk people. Priority is given to those who can trace descent from Huguenot families, and then to those whose education or training is threatened by financial difficulty.

    If you think that you or a member of your family might qualify for help, please contact Mr GH Smith, Clerk to the Norwich French Church Charity, Hansells Solicitors, 13 Cathedral Street, Norwich NR1 4DS.

    The French Huguenot Church of London Charitable Trust
    The Trustees administer funds to assist the secondary education of pupils not necessarily of Huguenot descent. Grants are also available to help young people under 25 to carry out projects at home and abroad. An annual scholarship is also awarded for post-graduate research in Huguenot history. For information apply to the Clerk to the Trustees, The French Huguenot Church of London Charitable Trust, Haysmacintyre, Fairfax House, 15 Fulwood Place, London. WC1V 6AY.

    The French Hospital
    Sheltered accommodation for descendants of Huguenot families. The French Hospital's presence in Rochester started with the purchase of 19 terraced houses that made up Theobald Square in the cathedral city of Rochester in Kent. The square had been laid out as an elegant speculation in the 1840s on the site of an old brewery, whose vaults still lie beneath the road and gardens. The houses were completely restored and rearranged to make 39 self-contained flats where residents could enjoy privacy and have their own furniture and belongings around them but with help in sickness or emergency always at hand.

    The Huguenot Society
    In 1885 the Society was founded by directors of The French Hospital to promote the publication and interchange of knowledge about the Huguenots in Great Britain and Ireland.

    The Huguenot Museum
    Objects from The French Protestant School can now be seen on display at the Huguenot Museum in Rochester. These include pewter tableware and a doll dressed in the girls' uniform. Replica school uniforms for both boys and girls are available for 'dressing up' in the galleries and the Museum runs a 'French Protestant School Day' as part of its learning programme for schools. For more information see

    The Directory of Grant-Making Trusts
    Published by the Charities Aid Foundation, 48 Pembury Road, Tonbridge TN9 2JD and available in most public libraries.

    The Educational Grants Directory
    Published by the Directory of Social Change, 24 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2DP and available in most public libraries.

    The ISC Educational Grants Advisory Service
    Refers genuinely deserving cases to charitable trusts and is operated by the Joint Educational Trust at 6 Lovat Lane, London EC3R 8DT.

    Educational Trusts Forum
    Membership comprises registered charities that are prepared to consider grants and awards to assist families in need who cannot afford educational or boarding fees. The website lists the organisations who are members of the Forum together with a very brief summary of their individual criteria.  

    Site published by Westminster French Protestant School Foundation, 5 Poulters Wood, Keston, BR2 6JD