Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
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THE ROYAL JUBILEE SCHOOL.
This useful institution for teaching the children of the poor Reading, Spelling, Writing, and Arithmetic, according to the Lancasterian system of education, was established March 23, 1810, at a general meeting of the subscribers held in the Guildhall. The money subscribed for this purpose was in lieu of an illumination on his majesty George III. entering upon the 50th year of his reign. Much discussion took place before the business was finally arranged. Some gentlemen conceived that the peculiar tenets of the established church ought to be inculcated, and that all the children should attend their parochial churches; whilst others insisted that their religious instruction should be confined to reading the scriptures, and that they should be at liberty to attend whatever place of divine worship their parents or friends pleased. The latter party ultimately prevailed; in consequence of which, several gentlemen withdrew their support from the establishment, apprehending that it would tend to facilitate the rapid and alarming increase of the Dissenting interest.
The foundation-stone of the school-house, which stands near the Keelmen's Hospital on the New Road, was laid by Major Anderson on the 4th of June following the meeting, it being the anniversary of the king's birth-day. It is a noble, chaste, and substantial building, from a plan furnished by Mr. John Dobson, architect. In its erection, two objects were professedly in view; one to provide the requisite conveniences for the new course of instruction, the other to erect a durable monument of public respect to a venerable monarch in the 50th year of his reign. One of his memorable sayings, "May every poor Child in the Kingdom be able to read the Bible," is cut out on the base of the pediment. The building, including furniture, cost £2194, 18s.; of which sum, £779, 15s. 6d. was subscribed in lieu of an illumination, £315 was given by the corporation, (fn. 1) and £652, 18s. was given by individuals, including a donation of £50 from the late Duke of Northumberland, and two benefactions of £50 each given by Major Anderson. The deficiency, £347, 5s. 6d. was soon liquidated out of the surplus of the annual subscriptions. This structure being finished, the scholars, on March 14, 1811, were removed from premises, the use of which had been given gratuitously by the late Mr. Dobson, upholsterer. In 1823, it was found necessary to renew the roof, which cost £164, 9s. 10d.
The general annual meeting of subscribers to this school is held on the 5th day of June. The permanent officers are,—Patron, His Grace the Duke of Northumberland. Presidents, Sir Matthew White Ridley, Bart. M. P.; Cuthbert Ellison, Esq. M. P. Vice-Presidents, Archibald Reed, Benjamin Sorsbie, Robert Ormston, William Batson, James Losh, Samuel Walker Parker, George Anderson, Thomas Gibson, Esqrs. Treasurer, Mr. Thomas Hudson, Newcastle Bank. Secretaries, Rev. William Turner; Mr. John Bruce. The managing committee are chosen annually from amongst the subscribers. The institution is liberally supported, and there is always a balance in hand. The subscriptions for the year ending April 30, 1826, amounted to £219, 14s. 6d. Of this sum, the corporation subscribes £26, 5s.; the Duke of Northumberland, £10, 10s.; Sir M. W. Ridley, Bart, M. P. £5, 5s.; C. Ellison, Esq. M. P. £5, 5s.; Sir J. E. Swinburne, Bart. £5, 5s.; W. Ord, Esq. M. P. £5, 5s.; Major Anderson, £5, 5s.; Robert Ormston, Esq. £5, 5s.; the Tanners' Company, £5, 5s.; the late Dr. Hutton, perpetually, £5; besides sixteen subscriptions of £3, 3s. and £2, 2s. each, and many for lesser sums. Annual subscribers of half a guinea are entitled to recommend one scholar; of one guinea, two; and of larger sums in proportion. The receiving days are the first and third Mondays in the month. Since the commencement, 3650 boys have been admitted. The present number upon the books is 482. (fn. 1)
The master's salary is £120 per annum. The school was first organized, and for ten years conducted by Mr. Richard Drury. On his resignation, Mr. Bolam was chosen master, who, in consequence of severe indisposition, very shortly after resigned, and was succeeded by the present master, Mr. C. F. Springmann, who has brought the school into an admirable state of discipline. Indeed, his whole mind appears devoted to the duties of his office; and, by the judicious tempering of strict discipline with kind attentions, he secures the affections as well as the respect of his numerous pupils. The alterations and improvements he has introduced into the Lancasterian system are valuable; and it is believed that this school stands unrivalled amongst similar institutions. The acting committee visit the school in turns, and there are both quarterly and annual examinations. Rewards are given to the Monitor Generals and their assistants, to the Monitors of Classes, and to the scholars, for regular attendance, rapidity of progress, general good conduct, and attention at Sunday-schools.
It is a curious and pleasing spectacle, to see above 400 boys, in one room, actively and cheerfully engaged in acquiring the elements of education, while their movements are conducted with the regularity and celerity of disciplined troops. The master has only to be careful that the officers execute their duty, and that no part of the moral machinery fall into disorder. Wherever an aptitude to learn exists, it is sure to be exercised, noticed, and rewarded; and some of the boys in the higher classes display an acuteness and rapidity of thought almost incredible. Certainly, the new and improved plans of education must soon bring into disrepute the old, stupifying practice of fixing the trembling pupil to his seat, where he dozes over his hated task.
ROYAL IMPROVED SCHOOL FOR GIRLS.
The very encouraging support given to the Royal Jubilee School, induced the committee, at a very early period, to recommend the formation of a ladies' committee for establishing a school for girls. Many ladies, distinguished for active benevolence, undertook the task; and a school on a limited scale was opened in the Carpenters' Tower, on July 27, 1812, and which was arranged by Miss Springmann, from the Lancasterian school in the Borough Road. Measures were soon after adopted for procuring more commodious premises; and the corporation having granted a plot of ground, part of the King's Dykes near to New Bridge Street, subject to an annual ground-rent of 20s. a plain brick building was erected thereon. It cost about £1000, and was opened on October 10, 1814.
This institution, of which the Duchess of Northumberland is patroness, has been liberally supported out of the funds of the boys' school. The annual subscriptions last year, ending May 11, 1826, amounted to £109, 4s. There was at one time a heavy balance against the school, which is now reduced by donations, &c. to £51, 6s. The present mistress, Isabel Watson, has held the situation upwards of eleven years. Her salary is £70 per annum, out of which she remunerates her assistant, Mary Hudson.
The school is chiefly conducted on the Lancasterian plan of education. The scholars are taught Reading, Spelling, Writing, the first four rules of Simple and Compound Arithmetic, and Needle-work. During the last year, 519 articles of wearing apparel were made or repaired. Two hours per day, in four days of the week, are allotted to all the children for Needle-work, two hours for Reading and Spelling, and two hours for Writing and Arithmetic. Each monitor and assistant is instructed by the mistress to cut out and fix her own work. Girls may bring work from home, provided it be previously prepared, and adapted to their respective classes. Since the commencement of the institution, 2000 children have been admitted, of whom 204 are now on the books. When the roads in the vicinity of the school are repaired, and the flues improved so as render the school-room warmer in winter, there is no doubt but that this school will be better attended than it is at present.
THE CARPENTERS' TOWER SCHOOL FOR GIRLS.
This school, which is under the patronage of the Wesleyan Methodists, was formed in 1822. It contains about 150 children, who are taught Reading, Spelling, and Sewing, according to Dr. Bell's system, for one penny per week; but those who learn Writing and Arithmetic pay three-halfpence a week. The mistress, Margaret Hownam, was taught by Mr. Armstrong, of St. Edmund's school, Gateshead.
THE UNION DAY-SCHOOL FOR GIRLS.
This school, which is situated at New Court Cottages, between the Forth Lane and the Westgate, was opened August 19, 1822, for learning 100 poor girls to read, spell, write, keep accounts, sew, knit, &c. for the small sum of 2d. per week. It is under the united patronage of the congregations belonging to New Court, Zion, Postern, Clavering Place, and Tuthill Stairs chapels; but any lady that chuses may visit the school, or subscribe towards its support. A subscriber of 4s. may recommend a child. Miss Thomson is the present mistress.