Lampton Hall is a private residence that was recently sold and converted into a public school by its unknown proprietor and benefactor, who later discloses himself to the protagonist as Mr Curtis. Previously, it was the country estate of the Hudsons, who left Darlington two years prior. Mr Curtis' motive for opening the school was his belief that all people should be able to receive an education, regardless of class and gender.

The estate includes a large courtyard and over thirty rooms, which Mr Curtis refurbishes into a comfortable learning environment. The school has various classes organised by the knowledge and progress of its students, which include the orphans Colin, Peter and Tabitha. They reside there with Mrs Mason, a stern but courteous housekeeper. Mr Simmons works as one of three schoolmasters there. Amongst other skills, the children there learn how to write, practice times tables and read poetry.