Skip to content

Location

Hampshire Map

My three times great-grandmother married a man called John Pounds, so wandering around Portsmouth and seeing the signs to the John Pounds Memorial Unitarian Church, I couldn't help wondered if there was a connection. But, sadly, there is none.

The Portsmouth John Pounds, was born in 1766.

When he was twelve years old, he was apprenticed as a shipwright in the royal dockyard. However, three years later he fell into a dry dock and was crippled for life.

He became a shoemaker and began teaching local children reading, arithmetic, cooking, carpentry and shoemaking. He soon had over 40 pupils attending his lessons and, unlike other schools, he did not charge any fees.

After his death in 1839, his example inspired Lord Shaftesbury and others to form the Ragged School Union and the creation of over 200 free schools for poor children.

Along with the memorial, a replica of his workshop has been created next to the church named in his honour.

This is visible through the windows, but if you want to go inside you need need to call at least a week in advance to check opening times. The phone number is listed on the church website.