The Higgs & Cooper Educational Charity was launched in 1974 from the Higgs Educational Foundation and the Charlton Kings Educational Foundation. It was named after its two original benefactors.
In 1810, when he was only 13 years old, Charles Cooke Higgs inherited a number of properties in Charlton Kings – from Glenfall through to the Old Bath Road. By the time he was an old man he owned around 160 acres of land in Charlton Kings – that’s about 90 football pitches! His generosity funded both Holy Apostles Church and the original Holy Apostles school (the school moved in 1993 and the original premises are now used by a local undertaker). That cost him £7000 back in the 1860s – the equivalent of around £615,000 today. In addition to Holy Apostles Church and school, Mr Higgs also built a night school (the building still exists and is used by the Charlton Kings Scouts as their HQ). In 1880 he set up a trust which derived its income from 9 acres of land now occupied by Charlton Kings Junior School and Glynrosa Road. That trust was the beginning of the Higgs Educational Foundation, which existed until 1974 when it merged with the Charlton Kings Educational Foundation to become the Higgs and Cooper Educational Charity.
If you are ever in St Mary’s church you might find the memorial to Samuel Cooper, who died in May 1743. The memorial is written in 18th century English, and takes a bit of deciphering, but in short it describes how he wanted the rent derived from two of his properties in Charlton Kings – Cutham Butts and Battle Downs – to be used to buy books and to provide two years’ of reading lessons to six children in the parish of Charlton Kings (at the end of the two years, six more children were to be chosen – though it’s not clear from the memorial whether that was to go on forever!). Any money left over was to be used for fuel for the aged and disabled of Charlton Kings who were not receiving parochial collection or pension, plus 10 shillings for their clothing. In case you’re wondering where or what Cutham Butts was – it was the name of a field in Charlton Kings, close to where the Infants’ School now stands. And yes – you’ve guessed it – Cooper’s Court was named for Samuel Cooper.