Local History: Maghull and Lydiate home

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A Souvenir Booklet in connection with the Centenary of any school would be incomplete without some reference to the history of that school during those hundred years. To many residents of Maghull much of this story will be already known ; but there is an increasing number of parents to whom it will be unfamiliar. We trust that both sections of the community will find in this account something of interest.

The Maghull National School was erected in 1839 and was invested in seven Trustees, of whom the Rector of Halsall, the Rev. R. Loxham, was one, and the Rev. Geo. Hoiden, Vicar of Maghull, another. The funds for the erection of the School and the Master's House were obtained partly by voluntary donations, and partly by grants from the National Society, and from the Committee of Council on Education. Much of the expense was obviated by gifts and by the offers of gratuitous services by local men: the land was the gift of Rd. Alison, Esq.; Mr. Samuel Holme, of Liverpool, gratuitously furnished the plans and specifications, and inspected the progress of the work, which was executed by Messrs. Rule and Anderson, of Liverpool; Mr. Welsby, solicitor, of Ormskirk, gave his professional services gratis, in the preparation of the enrolment of the conveyance and trust deed John Formby, Esq., gave the stone for the school yard wall while Messrs. Rigby, Harrison, Mawdsley and Whalley offered their services for the carting of material. The grant from the Parliamentary Education Fund was withheld for a time and the work would have been held up had not Mr. Rigby, one of the Trustees, loaned 165 19s. 5d. for the completion of the work, for which loan he subsequently refused to accept any interest. The whole cost of the School was 450 7s. 0d.-an interesting figure by comparison with modern rates.

The Maghull School, having been erected by these and other means, was entrusted to seven trustees, and by unanimous resolution it was placed under the superintendence and direction of the Rev. Geo. Holden. The original enactment stipulated that "the trustees do and shall hold the land, school rooms, house and buildings in connection with the National Society for promoting the education of the poor In the principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales; and do and shall use and employ the same premises as a school for the instruction of poor children of both sexes resident in Maghull and the neighbourhood thereof, on Sundays in reading and in the Church Catechism, and in the principles of the Christian religion, and on working days in reading, writing, arithmetic and other branches of useful learning; and do and shall permit the same school to be conducted in conformity to the principles of the said National Society and towards the advancement of its ends and designs. And upon further trust, they, the said trustees for the time being, do and shall at all times pay and apply the said fee farm rents or yearly sums hereby granted, bargained or sold for towards the stipend or stipends of the master, mistress or mistresses of the said School."

The fee farm rent referred to above was an endowment of 11 18s. ld. per annum given by Mr. and Mrs. John Formby, and was paid to the first headmaster (as part of his salary), for which he was to teach twelve boys belonging to the town-ship of Maghull until capable of reading the Scriptures. Three scholars a so had to be taught writing and arithmetic-an interesting fact when one compares this with the modern, crowded curriculum. The Rev. G. Hoiden and the Rev. A. B. Forde were empowered to elect the twelve boys mentioned above, and to dismiss them. This free scholarship was last approved of in 1846.

At that time-and until September, 1887-there were two distinct departments, boys and girls, each divided into three classes, presided over by a Master and a Mistress respectively. The Rev. Geo. Hoiden was also appointed Visitor, with power to make such rules and regulations as he thought proper for the management of the Schools-and in this was included the power to draw up the course of instruction.

In 1844 the Visitor made the following regulations: Girls who come to the Maghull Girls' School may attend the master during the hour devoted to writing and accounts in the morning and afternoon of each day. The Master may instruct such girls in writing and accounts during the time above specified on receiving from the mistress 2 /- per quarter for writing and 2/6 for accounts for each pupil. The master shall not teach during school hours any girls who do not attend the Female School.

In 1845 the Master and Mistress resigned- The new Master was to be paid the endowment, together with the house to reside in ; and the Mistress was to have an annual salary of 5 " provided the funds in the Treasurer's hand would allow it, and so long as their conduct (master and mistress were husband and wife) should be approved by the Trustees. Both the Master and Mistress shall assist in teaching in the Maghull Sunday School".

The same year it was resolved that 30 boys and 30 girls be chosen by the Visitor to be taught on the following terms:

The Master and Mistresses were allowed also to receive into the school and instruct other children residing in the Maghull district, upon the following terms :

Boys.            Reading and Spelling   4 /- per quarter
                 Do. with Writing       5 /-       "
                 Do. with Arithmetic    6 /-       "
Girls.           Reading & Spelling     3 /-       "
                 Do. with Sewing &
                        Knitting        4 /-       "
                 Do. with Writing &
                        Arithmetic      5 /-       "
Grammar, Geography and History 6d. per quarter in addition.
Each scholar shall pay one penny per month for fire, 
and those who write 2d. each per month for pens and ink."

The arrangements seem to have sufficed until July, 1869. In that year a complaint was made by the Government Education Department that the superficial area was insufficient, and future alterations were considered. The Rev. J. G. Leigh, Vicar and Trustee, made an effort to raise funds for enlargement, and by 1873 sufficient money was obtained to defray the cost of adding an upper storey.

The 'Seventies provide evidence of several interesting resolutions and enactments. In 1874 it was resolved that the Master's salary be as follows :

Government grant, less 1 16th. School pence rates of 3d., 6d. and 9d. per week. A donation of 5 per annum.

It was also decided that the Master and Mistress no longer provide the coals for the School The following year the Girls' School fees were increased by 6d. per quarter the amount thus raised to be used to pay a pupil teacher. The Master's rent for the school cottage (next door to the school) was fixed in 1876, at 9 per annum-the tenant to keep the house in repair. And in 1879 it was resolved that the Mistress of that time be allowed another trial during the ensuing year on condition that she reside in the parish, and give more of her time to visiting parents of children attending the School!

A complete list of the heads of the Schools appears on another page, but one of them claims mention here. In 1882, Mr. Jas. Thomas, who had been Master of the Boys' School for eighteen years, went for a cruise in order to try to regain his health. On his return he had to resign owing to continued ill-health. The Trustees accepted his resignation with; regret, and as a mark of appreciation presented him some time later with an illuminated address and a purse of money. For some years after this Mr. Thomas kept a private school at his residence, " Rose Dene," Liverpool Road. Mr. Richard Sumner one of our present Managers, attended this private school, and was a school-mate of Raphael Sabatini, the famous author. Later, Mr. Thomas left the district. He is buried in Maghull Graveyard. Mr. Thomas had played a very prominent part in the building of the new Church, which was opened in 1880.

Mr. John Robinson was selected from a hundred applicants in September, 1882, as Mr. Thomas's successor, having, been head master of Holy Trinity C.E. School, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, where he had been first a scholar and then a pupil teacher. The Staff in the Boys' School at that time consisted of the Head Teacher, and a female teacher (under article 32), of over 18 years of age. The Inspector's report of the previous year had stated that the School should do better the following year, and that the Teaching Staff should be strengthened by the appointment of a qualified Assistant Teacher or a Pupil Teacher, transferred from another school. The latter course was adopted, and Mr. Edw. Cropper, of Aughton, was indentured in 1884. He died two years later, and was succeeded by Mrs. Jessie Cook, at a salary of 30 per annum.

The Mistress of the Girls' and Infants' School, Mrs. Oxford, resigned in September, 1887, and at the suggestion of Mr. Robinson, the Trustees unanimously agreed to the School in the future being a Mixed School under himself as headmaster. The Staff was to consist of three qualified Assistant Teachers, one of whom was to be certificated and to have charge of the Infants. The sewing was to be in charge of a trained Certificated Teacher. Mrs. Owens was appointed Assistant Mistress in the Mixed School, and Miss E. G. Leeson in the Infants' Department at a salary of 40 and residence.

This was a period of financial difficulty-income was slight and improvements had to be made. In 1888 the Ratepayers agreed to pay a voluntary rate of 3d. in the on all rateable property assessed at 12 and upwards, in order to prevent the introduction into the parish of a School Board. The following year the rate-was 2d., but still the Authorities were in difficulties. Then on September 1st, 1891, the Free Education Act came into force and the Trustees unanimously agreed to accept the 10 /- fee grant offered by the Government for every child in average attendance between the ages of three and fifteen.

Three years later the Education Department required additional cloakroom accommodation to be provided, and by the following year improvements to the School Buildings costing 160 were effected. Towards this outlay the St. Andrew's Church Sale of Work Committee contributed 120. By 1897 a piece of land was acquired as a playground (previously the only playground was the small rectangle into which the entrance nearest the Police Station leads in the present old building). Thus the 19th century closed in an atmosphere of struggle to keep solvent while maintaining pace with educational progress.

The developments in our system of National Education begun during the Nineteenth Century have gained impetus during the present century. This Age undoubtedly belongs to the Child, and evidences of this movement are widespread.

It is a tribute to the controlling bodies of Non-Provided Schools that they have in so many instances kept abreast of these developments, and to the general public whose generosity has made these improvements possible. The people of Maghull are no exception.

In 1901 half-an-acre of land was purchased as a lay-ground for the children, at a cost of 75, and in the following year parishioners were asked to subscribe in order that the School could come under the new Education Authority (established by the 1902 Act) free of debt. This was duly done.

The resignation of our friend Mrs. J. Robinson, from the post of Sewing Mistress occurred during this period. Her resignation was accepted by the Managers with an expression of regret at the loss of her valuable services. Who remembers Seargent Leverton as Drill Instructor?

January, 1907 brought with it a change of name, for the Authority intimated that the school was henceforth to be known as the Maghull Church of England Schools.

The next decade was one of continued progress and improvement but a real milestone in the history of the school was arrived at in May, 1918. By this time it was evident that the Great War was drawing to a close, and accordingly certain prominent parishioners had begun to evolve a plan for commemorating the fallen sons of the Parish. Some discussion took place at even this early date about erecting a Memorial Church of England School, and offers of generous donations were made. Later a fund was opened, and by 1928 the Maghull Church of England War Memorial School was erected, a tribute worthy of the aims of its promoters. Subsequently, the School was extended by the addition of a classroom in memory of Jasper M. Wood, Esq., J.P., one of the prime movers in the erection of the School. There is a plaque in the end classroom (the extension) which notes this fact.

"This Classroom was erected in memory of Jasper Muirhead Wood, ].P., of Bank House, Maghull, who was for many years Trustee, Manager and Treasurer of Maghull Church Schools. He opened the Memorial Schools on June 30th, 1928. He was a generous benefactor of Maghull Church and Schools."

Another plaque in the corridor of the Memorial Schools commemorates Dr. J. F. Gordon, M.D., also an outstanding friend of the Church and Schools. The insription runs:

"In memory of John Frederick Gordon, M.D., of Maghull, who was a Manager of these Schools for many years. His friends subscribed a fund to perpetuate his memory, which provides prizes for Religious Knowledge in these Schools whilst they belong to the Established Church of England. July, 1928."

Meanwhile, in December, 1919, Mr. John Robinson had resigned the headmastership of the Schools, after nearly 38 years in this position. The Managers assed the following resolution: "The Managers wish to place on record their high appreciation of the faithful services of Mr. Robinson, who for nearly 38 years has been Head Master, during which time he has discharged his duties in a most exemplary manner, and maintained the School in a high state of efficiency, and to the complete satisfaction of the School Managers and His Majesty's Inspectors. The Managers hope he will long enjoy his well earned retirement."

Mr. Robinson was succeeded by Mr. H. 1. Recton, who commenced his duties on January I st, 1920. Thus Mr. Recton saw the erection of the War Memorial School and was its first headmaster. He saw, too, that building extended, and on 12th August, 1929, he saw another change. On that date the Maghull Church of England Central School came into being, with the object of carrying out the recommendations of the Hadow Report. The Central Department housed the senior pupils from the Parishes of Maghull, Melling, Aughton and Lydiate.

The Nineteen Thirties bring many of us to more familiar names and times. October, 1930 gives us the Staff as follows :

Mr. Recton, Miss Holme, Miss Tyrer, Miss Mallinson, Miss Smith, Mr. Holt, Miss Gregory, Mr. Hodges.

The Vicar, the Rev. R. E. E. Whitaker, who had done so much to further the interests of the school, passed away on the 18th May, 1931, and the 7th September of the same year saw Canon Frazer enter the school for the first time.

Then comes the period when Maghull began to develop so rapidly, and with its development began the inevitable growth of the school. With bewildering regularity there were Managers Meetings and conferences with Officials regarding staffing and other problems arising out of the building programmes. The Managers co-operated with the Authority and one result was the erection of the temporary Council School. More recently we have had the opening of the new Senior Council School, and to them we extend our sincere good wishes for the future.

With mingled feelings of regret and congratulation, Mr. H. J. Recton concluded his duties at our school on the 5th August, 1938, and left to take up his new position at the Senior School and shortly afterwards Mr. W. Higham was appointed as Headmaster in his place.

This history has been necessarily brief, and even events of domestic importance have failed to find a place. But if walls could speak, what a story they could tell ! Victoria, Edward VII George V., Edward VIII George VI Boer War, Great War, Suffragettes, Social and Industrial Revolutions


Historically we cannot prophesy, but we can say this with truth and confidence. . . . that the history of our school has been one of effort and determination, of sacrifice and pride, of devotion and public spirit. With your help it will continue to serve honourably and successfully. May it go on from strength to strength and continue to prosper from year to year.

The main item in the - children's celebrations during the Centenary year will take the form of a Birthday Party and Entertainment given to all attending the School and arranged by the Staff and O.P.F.A. Committee.

It is hoped that as many Parents, Friends, Old Scholars, Teachers, and Scholars, will attend a short Commemoration Service of praise and thanksgiving in the Parish Church, at a time and date to be announced later.

The grateful thanks of Parents and Teachers are due to the Police for their monthly Safety lectures, and for the daily shepherding of the children across the main road.

A reminder. Donations may still be sent to either Mr. John Robinson, ---Eversley,- Liverpool Road, or to the Rev. Canon Frazer, or to the Headmaster.

Mental Arithmetic ! If every scholar who has passed through the school gave a minimum of one shilling, how much would the school fund benefit?

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