York Spinning School was established in 1782 by a group of ladies led by Catherine Cappe who instructed thirty children who worked in the day spinning and were then taught in the evening how to read, knit and sew. By being paid for their work it enabled the children to continue in education, and there was also religious education provided on Sundays. In his book ‘Curious Tales of Old North Yorkshire’ Howard Peach noted that as a punishment the gowns of the girls would be turned inside out.
In 1833 there were forty children at the school, which by this time had started to focus on sewing, and in 1848 a legacy of 100 pounds was given from the estate of Mrs Anne Fountayne, daugher of the former Dean of York.
However in 1859 the school closed and the charitable assets were transferred to the Grey Coat School. The school was situated at St. Andrewgate, but the building has now been demolished.