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History of the Newcomen Collett Foundation
Elizabeth Newcomen died a childless widow in 1675 and amongst other bequests in her will, left a sum for 'educating, clothing, apprenticeship and placing out poor children'. This money was used to establish and run a school which was latterly a voluntary-aided girls school run by the LEA specialising in training for catering and nursery nursing. In 1971 it was closed, as the local schools became comprehensive. The Newcomen Centre, an assessment centre for young children, moved into the school buildings in Newcomen Street while new premises were being built for them in the grounds of Guy’s Hospital. When they moved out, the site was sold to the hospital and now provides accommodation for hospital staff.
The Foundation maintains a special interest in the Newcomen Centre (including Sunshine House which carries out similar work in the Borough), helping with small projects and providing specialist equipment for children attending the Centre.
John Collett had two sons who predeceased him and in his will of 1711 left the rent of some rooms at an Inn, 3 Cranes Court in Borough High Street, to provide apprentices with their tools and to found a school - now the Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary Overie. The school receives £2,000 unconditionally each year from the Foundation and can request more for specific projects.
The Foundation now
The Foundation currently awards total grants of around £100,000 a year. The twelve appointed Governors meet quarterly to consider applications from individuals and groups. They dispose of their income to further the education of residents in the London Borough of Southwark who are under the age of 25, whilst continuing to give special consideration to the Newcomen Centre, Sunshine House and the Cathedral School.