|St. George’s School|
1946, saw the Centenary Celebrations of
St. George’s, Church of England School.
This interesting history was recorded to celebrate the occasion.
The first Church of England School in New Mills was built on a site below Beech House, in Church-lane, given by William Henry Frederick Cavendish, of Codecote Lodge, Hertfordshire. It was known as the “National Day and Sunday School.”
The schools builders were Messrs. Dennis and John Rangeley, of Hayfield, who contracted to build the school for £730. The Committee of Council on Education made a grant of £300 towards the cost, the National Society gave £180, Humphrey Nicholls, of Manchester, donated £100 and Her Majesty, the Queen Dowager gave £10. The remainder was raised by public subscription. The town has a proud history of raising money for the public good.
The first stone was laid in August, 1845, and the opening of the school was celebrated in St. George’s Church, on Sunday, August 30th, 1846.
The school was maintained by fees paid by the scholars, and the following extract is from a poster dated May, 1848.
“The Managers of the Schools, feeling anxious that a sound superior, and Scriptural Education should be offered to the children of New Mills and its neighbourhood, on the lowest possible terms, have great pleasure in announcing that they have decided to make a reduction –
For the 1st and 2nd Classes, in which the following branches are taught – reading, history, grammar, geography, writing, arithmetic. . . . 4d. per week.
For the 3rd and 4th classes – reading, spelling and writing on slate. . . . 2d. per week.”
Owing to a lack of funds, the school was closed on November 9th, 1848, but was reopened on January 8th, 1849.
In 1860, the Marple, New Mills and Hayfield Junction Railway Co., obtained an Act of Parliament to extend their line to Hayfield and, as the school occupied a site where the railway bridge now stands, the property was purchased by the Railway Company for £1,200, which sum was ordered to be paid into the High Court of Chancery, and by a subsequent order of the Court, the sum of £200 was paid for the present school site to the Earl of Cawder and others, and the balance of the purchase money was expended in the erection of the present school buildings.
Teaching was commenced in the new building in March 1864. There were 135 children present and, in the afternoon, they were regaled with spiced bread and tea by the managers.
The infant school was added in 1894, at a cost of £350, the money being raised by subscription. In 1904, the gallery in the infant’s room was removed, and a partition was erected in the large room in the school, dividing it into two classrooms and a main room. The infant’s school was enlarged in 1905, at a cost of £408, and made into a separate department with Miss Alsop as first head mistress.
Owing to a large increase in the number of children attending the school, permission to use the hut as a classroom was given in 1929, and continued for many years.
Permission was given in 1935 to have a class in the Parish Hall, and in addition, it was used as a dining-room about seventy children partaking of mid-day meals supplied by the Schools’ Cooking Depot, at Spring Bank.
In 1938, an appeal was made to raise £4,000 towards the cost of a new school to provide education for all at New Mills and Hayfield Church Schools between the ages of 11 and 15. The estimated cost of the school was £16,000, the manager’s share being £4,000. This would have been one of two senior church schools in the county, but, owing to a lack of support, the idea had to be abandoned.
As to the future of the school, the Parochial Church Council and the school managers decided that a church school should continue to be provided in New Mills for children up to the age of 12. To do this, the managers must be able to guarantee to find 50 percent, of the cost of the alterations to the existing buildings.
With the object of raising sufficient money, the School Reconstruction Fund was inaugurated some two years ago. Many events have been held to swell the fund, and an appeal is made to all past scholars, to parents of children now attending, and to members of the congregation, to make sure the managers are able to give the guarantee.
During the past seven years, thirty-four scholars have been successful in gaining admission to New Mills Grammar School.
In the schools 100 years history there have been seven vicars, each of whom has been chairman of the managers:
Rev. I. Carlyle was the vicar when the school was built, succeeding vicars being
Rev. John Rigg (1848-1868).
Rev. F. W. Newman (1868-1900),
Rev. J. L. Knowles (1900-1930),
Rev. R. P. R. Carpenter (1930-1935),
Rev. G. E. Martineau (1935-1939)
The present vicar Rev. G. T. Perry, who has been at New Mills since 1939.
Headmasters who have had charge of the school were:
Mr. F. Fox (1845-1848)
Mr. W. J. Johnson (1848-1848).
Mr. S. Turner (1848-1862).
Mr. J. Whitehead (1862-1865)
Mr. S. Whitehead (1865-1908)
Mr. A. Wallwork (1908-1922)
Mr. J. W. Beestall (1922-1925)
Mr. W. C. Robinson (1925-1928)
Mr. M. Sloane (1928-1938), now headmaster of Spring Bank Council School.
Mr. J. Cooper has held the position since 1939.
There have only been two headmistresses,
Miss Alsop (1908-1916) and,
Miss A. Attenborough, who recently retired after 30 years.
The present managers are the vicar (chairman), councillor Dr. L. Millward and Mr F. Peover (foundation managers). Mrs. V. Attwood (representing the County Council) and Councillor G. S. Hyde (representing the Urban Council).
With Mr. Cooper as headmaster, and the appointment of infants mistress vacant, the teaching staff now consists of: Mr. W. S. Ratcliffe, Miss M. E. Quinn, Mrs. Gillies, Miss S. C. Bradbury, Mrs. Waterhouse and Miss P. W. Redit (assistant teachers) and Mrs. Archer and Mrs. Beard (infants).
Miss E. Wright is the clerk, and Mesdames Simister, Bagshaw and Willis form the canteen staff. Caretakers are: Mr. W. Simister (school) and Mr. J. Swann (Parish Hall).