This used to be an orphanage. Poor orphans! St Johns Park, New Town. March 2011.
The King's Orphan School, later, the Queen's Orphan School, was built in 1833 to provide for people who weren’t quite orphans; that is, the children of convict women, orphans those whose parent were unable to support them and abandoned children.
It seems that the ‘school’ was a bleak and over-crowded establishment, with headmasters who were more interested in their own profits than they were the wellbeing of the children in their care.
The minutes of one of the Board of Management meetings makes for grim reading.
… Children had never been furnished with Porridge, but merely a very thin Gruel -- that the Oatmeal provided for making a thick porridge could not have been used, & that what had been used was never weighed or measured.
-- that the Childrens Tea was made in a Boiler contg about 6 Galls of water, a handful of Tea with some Sugar & Milk being thrown into the Boiler, without being weighed or measured, and thus boiled all together, & then taken to the Childrens Table in an Iron Pot, where it was laded out, Leaves and all, by the Childrens panakins & so placed before them.
The 3 Servants likewise stated that the Master fed his poultry, consisting of Turkeys, Geese, Ducks & Hens, regularly twice a day, with Oatmeal, taken the Store Room and mixed with water. Also that the Children would sometimes pick up Bones, Turnip paring &c, thrown out from the Kitchen, & pick the one and eat the other, & ask for Bread & other things complaining of Hunger.
For an extended trip down misery lane, check out this little expose from the hard hitting Colonial Times, dated 23 April, 1839!