Wivenhoe and the School Board Question 1886-91
Transcripts of records of meetings with regard to Wivenhoe and the School Board Question as reported in the Essex County Standard and Ipswich Journal of the day
Added by Pat Marsden
Tuesday, 12.10.1875, Ipswich Journal, Issue 7361
EDUCATION REPORT FOR ESSEX (extract)
The Committee of Council on Education, in their annual Blue Book, had included the report of the Rev. Nevill (sic) Green, the Inspector for Essex.
Mr. Green, in opening his report, says that at no preceding period had the work of education proceeded with such rapid strides in his district, and gives some very interesting statistics showing the increase under various heads since 1868, by which we find that children present at the examination in 1868 was 17,665, had increased in 1874 to 36,691. The Government Grant in the like period had increased from £6,215 to £15,263, and the income of the schools from £17,479 to £42,861. Of the number of schools, the Church of England supported 155, 20 were Board Schools, and the remaining 55 were those attached to different bodies of Dissenters. Mr. Green, reported that he found very few places destitute of all means of education, but where there was, on representation to the various authorities, the deficiency was willingly remedied where possible, and otherwise the School Boards had supplied the deficiency. Upon his report upon Dame Schools, he universally condemned them, and said not only were the rooms inadequate for the children, but writing and arithmetic were accomplishments which the majority of teachers did not themselves possess. The chief instruction in most of them consisted of the reading of the Bible, which was done with wonderful accuracy. To illustrate his report under this head he related a rather amusing circumstance of his visit to one of these schools, which we reproduce as follows:- “In one of these, in the town of Harwich, to which the Vicar conducted me, after climbing a staircase more like a chimney, we found an old dame who had taught after this fashion for many years, and who did not at all approve of our intrusion upon her premises, until in the midst of her scolding, the Vicar informed her that I was a gentleman sent by the Queen to see what her school was like. Upon this she immediately altered her tone, and received us most graciously, inquiring particularly after the health of Her Majesty, and saying that she should very much like to see her. Her one room was made to answer the threefold purpose of a bed-room, a school-room, and a kitchen, in which ventilation was a thing unknown. Notwithstanding this becoming loyalty, I am still hard-hearted enough to condemn this system of dame schools, which in many parts of my district is a very great hindrance to education.”
Mr. Green says, where the School Boards have been established these schools have mostly disappeared, but where there are none – at such places as Wivenhoe, Colchester, and Harwich – these inefficient schools abound, and are objects of hindrance in two ways – by robbing the efficient schools of their scholars and the scholars of their proper education.
The straw plait schools have been closed by the Factory Act, which has been the great cause of the sudden increase in schools in the district, and Mr. Green thinks all schools which have been pronounced inefficient by the proper authority ought to be closed in like manner. Strenuous voluntary efforts have been made to meet deficiencies, and new school rooms have sprung up in all directions, and the schools in a very large number of parishes have been enlarged. In two instances he found that where the clergy had failed in promoting the education of the people, the matter had been successfully carried out by farmers.
The School Boards are generally regarded with much displeasure, but where they have been elected they have done much good, especially in such places as West Ham, where a large number of children have been reclaimed, whom it was almost impossible to reach by voluntary effort. Mr. Green considers that the voluntary rate school system is almost as effective and by far a cheaper method than a School Board. There are no election expenses, and no officers to pay, while its mode of operation is do easy that he wonders it has not been more frequently adopted. In several parishes in his district the system is found to work well; all that it appears to lack is the power of compulsion.
[Further details follow concerning girl’s schools and infant schools and the standard of literacy achieved in various schools and the effect the Education Act has had in raising the value of Certified Teachers]
WYVENHOE AND THE SCHOOL BOARD QUESTION
– Only those living in a district afflicted with a School Board can fully realise the advantages of the voluntary system of education. From beginning to finish red-tapeism characterises the School Board – there are officials, there is advertising, and there are numerous other expenses which do not exist under the voluntary system – hence a rate has to be levied, in some cases a heavy one, to meet liabilities, and complaints can always be heard in a School Board district of the unfair way in which this levy operated. This being the case we are sorry to learn that there is a danger of the establishment of a School Board at Wyvenhoe for that place and the adjoining parishes. Wyvenhoe is a prosperous yachting and fishing village three miles from Colchester, and contains a population of about 2,300, yet the National School, to which children from Elmstead and other surrounding parishes go, is capable of accommodating less than 200. A meeting to consider the matter was held under the presidency of Mr. Hector J. Gurdon Rebow, on Monday. One of the propositions brought forward was that the present school should be enlarged so as to be capable of accommodating both Wyvenhoe children and those from Elmstead, Alresford and Fingringhoe, who have themselves no parish school to attend. Plans for this purpose were produced. Another gentleman (Mr. Madder) made a more sweeping suggestion in the shape of a proposal that the present school should be pulled down and new ones erected, with master’s residence above. Mr George Harvey did not approve of Wyvenhoe providing for more than its own requirements. Considerable conversation followed, but no decision was arrived at, and seeing that under existing arrangements a large number of children are absolutely without a schoolhouse, we have no doubt the Education Department will soon intervene. If the required accommodation could have been provided by voluntary effort it would have been far preferable, as we fear our friends will ere long discover. – First appeared in the Ipswich Journal on Thursday 25 November 1886; Issue 8551
THE WYVENHOE SCHOOL
To the Editor of the Essex Standard,
Sir, – My attention has been called to a paragraph in your issue of the 27th ult. headed “Wyvenhoe and the School Board Question” quoted from the Ipswich Journal.
As my name is mentioned as Chairman of the meeting, I think it is right to put the real facts before you and the public. The meeting of the School Committee was held on the 22nd ult. Two letters from the Education Department were read on the subject of increasing the accommodation in the Boy’s School, the plans for which, had been recently forwarded for the approval of the Board, and which had been returned to the Committee for revision. I may as well inform you that the present accommodation provides for 133 boys, 133 girls, 112 infants; total 278 (sic), not under 200, as stated in the paragraph in your paper.
It was decided to send the architect of the Committee (Mr. J. W. Start, of Colchester) to confer with the architect of the Education Department in London as to the plans, and report to the Committee at their next meeting. The proposed additions would provide a class-room for infants, and accommodation for about 70 more boys.
There was no question of providing accommodation for other parishes, with the exception of a few children from Elmstead, who happen to live nearer the Wyvenhoe than the Elmstead School. There was a proposal made to pull down the present Schools and build new ones, with a Master’s house over, but there was a proposition to utilise the present Master’s residence and adjacent premises for extending the present school accommodation.
I do not know from what source the Ipswich Journal derived its information, but as Chairman of that meeting, with the minutes before me, I can safely say that the statements of your Correspondent are not correct, and I should be obliged by your mentioning the fact in your next issue.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
H. J. GURDON-REBOW
Hon. Sec. Wyvenhoe
Wyvenhoe Park, Colchester, Nov 29th 1886.
THE SCHOOL QUESTION.
– A meeting of the rate-payers was held in the School-room on April 29th to consider the best means of providing further accommodation, and also for the general management of the schools in the future. In the absence of the Rector, Mr. Ham, one of the Church wardens, was voted to the Chair. The trust deeds of the present Church of England Schools state that they shall be entrusted to the care of seven trustees, of whom the Rector shall be Chairman in all Committees, and that he shall regulate the religious instructions carried on in the schools. Nonconformists are prohibited from taking any part in the management of the schools. – The Rev. W. F. TYLER, as representing the Dissenting portion of the inhabitants, said he rejoiced in religious teaching, but he could not consent to the schools being carried on as at present. – Captain H. BROWN thought if the Dissenters were dissatisfied they should build a school of their own. – Mr. WILKINS read a circular from the National Society which stated that the cancelling of the deeds would be unprecedented. This Society contributed £40 to the schools in 1849, and another £40 in 1874. The Diocesan Society contributed £105 in 1874. These Societies were therefore very reluctant to part with or transfer the schools to any other Committee or Board. – The CHAIRMAN suggested a voluntary rate to carry out the wishes of the Education Department. – The Rev, W. F. TYLER would not consent to a voluntary rate under the present system. – After a lengthy and desultory conversation, it was proposed by Mr. J. W. GIRLING, and seconded by Mr. SQUIRE, “That the decision of the Court of Chancery be obtained as to whether they will transfer the property to the parishioners of Wivenhoe, it being the wish of the Trustees that it should be so transferred.” – The question is thus left in statu (sic) quo.
THE NEW SCHOOL BOARD.
– A School Board for the parish of Wyvenhoe having been ordered by the Education Department, the first election of members of the board took place on Monday. Admirable arrangements were made by the Returning Officer, Mr. C. H. Thompson, as Clerk to the Guardians of the Lexden and Winstree Union, the Presiding Officer being Mr. H. H. Elwes, of Colchester, and poll clerk, Mr. R. Edwards. The poll was opened at 12 o’clock, and continued till 8, but at no part of the day was any excitement exhibited. On Tuesday morning the Returning Officer, Presiding Officer, &c., attended to count up the votes, and at its close the result was declared as follows: – Mr. J. A. F. Goodwin [a builder], 293; Mr. H. J. Gurdon Rebow [the local squire, who had also been a magistrate, a lieutenant in the Essex Rifle Militia, a deputy lieutenant of the County and in 1882, a High Sheriff. He played cricket, for Colchester and East Essex, also football and tennis. He was described as ‘a cheery companion, a good friend, a generous landlord and a popular sportsman ’ – although later he was financially ruined and forced to sell the Wivenhoe Park estate and retire into complete obscurity], 207; Mr. A. K. Trotter [who supervised the upstream shipyard (Messrs. Forrestt & Son) from 1888 until his death three years later, and who chaired the meeting held on 1 March 1889 to investigate the suggestion that the town should build itself a public hall], 182; Mr. T. C. Goodwin [landlord of The Black Boy], 163; Rev. W. F. Tyler [the Congregationalist minister 1883 – 1927], 126; Mr. J. E. Heath [oyster merchant?], 111; Mr. W. Felgate, 58; Rev. E. Washer, 48; Mr. S. N. Squire [local doctor], 44; Mr Claude E. Egerton-Green [a popular tenant of Wivenhoe Hall who took a leading part in local affairs and became a county councillor of Essex County Council when it was formed in 1889], 12. The first five were elected, of whom all are Churchmen with exception of the Rev W. F. Tyler].
THE SCHOOL BOARD.
– At a meeting of the newly elected School Board, a few days since, present – The Rev. W. F. Tyler, and Messrs. H. J. Gurdon-Rebow, J. D. Ward, T. C. Goodwin, John Goodwin, S. Watcham, and A. K Trotter – being all the members of the Board – Mr. Gurdon-Rebow was elected Chairman, Mr John Goodwin, Vice-Chairman, Mr. C. H. Tompson (solicitor, Colchester), Clerk, and Mr John Bawtree (Colchester), Treasurer [involved in the purchase and sale of houses on Queens Road?]. Bye-laws were also adopted, subject to the approval of the Education Department, and it was resolved to appoint a School Attendance Officer, and to keep on the present staff of mistresses and pupil teachers, at the salaries paid by the Trustees of the National School until Michaelmas next. There were 207 applicants for the post of Master of the Boys’ School and a Committee, consisting of Messrs. Trotter, T. C. Goodwin, John Goodwin, and the Rev. W. F. Tyler, was appointed to go through the applications and testimonials, and to report to the Board the names of those they considered most eligible. The Clerk was also directed to write to the Education Department, asking to be informed when the School Board were to take over the management of the present Schools, and to receive the School pence, and also whether they would send down an Inspector to meet them in order to consider the best steps to be taken either to enlarge the present Schools or to build new ones, as it was necessary to provide accommodation for an additional 150 children.
– At another meeting of the Board on Tuesday. Mr GURDON-REBOW in the Chair, and all the other members being present, together with Mr Tompson, the Clerk, THE Committee appointed to consider the applications for the post of Master of the Boys’ School, submitted the following seven names for the Board to make a final selection from:- Mr. Burgess, East Dulwich; Mr Collins, Wyvenhoe; Mr Jenkins, Bridge End, Pembrokeshire; Mr Knight, Colchester; Mr Mollitt, Tewkesbury; Mr Pearson, Greenstead, Colchester; and Mr Whitehead, Royston. In the result, the Board elected Mr. Jenkins, the remuneration being fixed at £60 a year with a fourth of the Government, and residence.
14.12.1889, p 7
– The monthly meeting of the Wyvenhoe School Board was held on Monday morning last, at the School-House. All the members of the Board were present. The CLERK read a letter from Mr Morris of High Street, Wyvenhoe, asking that his daughter (whose time as pupil teacher is now expiring) might be retained as Assistant in the Girls’ School until next July. That request was unanimously granted. A long letter was read, addressed to the Chairman from the Rev. E. WASHER, relating to the report of the last meeting, which questioned his right to lend the Schools. – After discussion, it was resolved that the Clerk acknowledge receipt of the letter, and invite him to meet the Board at the next meeting, in order to have an understanding between them. – A letter from the Education Department was also read, signifying their acceptance of the plan to use the ground floor of the Old School for the boys. – The Architect stated that the probable cost of alterations would be about £150 (not including necessary repairs, painting, cleaning, &c., It was thought that an absolute transfer of the Schools could be obtained. –The Architect also produced the plans for two new Schools, which he stated would cost including fixings, £6 per head, there being 500? girls and infants. The cost would be about £3,000? – it was resolved that the plans, as reconstructed be submitted at once for final approval. – the Christmas holidays were fixed from Friday before Christmas to the following Monday fortnight.
THE SCHOOL BOARD.
– A special meeting of the Wyvenhoe School Board was held in the School House on Friday, Nov. 15th. Present – Mr. H. G. REBOW in the Chair; Messrs. T. C. Goodwin, J. A. Goodwin, A. K. Trotter; REV. W. Franklin; Rev. W. F. Tyler; and Mr. S Watsham. The CLERK read an application for the Assistant Mistress in the Infant School from Miss Pullen, who has served her time in the School. It was unanimously resolved to offer her the appointment at £30 per annum. – The question of the new buildings was them fully discussed, the CHAIRMAN still believing that if the case was properly presented to the Education Department the old buildings could still be utilised. He advised the Board to make another effort in this direction. – The Rev. W. F. TYLER remarked that he should agree to this, providing the Government could be satisfied with a small outlay for alterations, but should not support a heavy expenditure on the old buildings. – Eventually the following resolution was proposed by Mr. T. C. GOODWIN, and seconded by Mr. A. K TROTTER, and unanimously agreed that Mr. Start be instructed to prepare a plan for converting the ground floor of the Old School into a Boy’s School. – The question of lending or letting the Schools for entertainments, &c., was brought forward by Mr. J. GOODWIN, who stated that an entertainment had been given by a travelling conjuror, he having applied to two members of the Board, and both had refused to give permission for it to be held. – Questioning the Schoolmaster on the matter Mr. JENKINS said that the Rev. R. E Washer came into the School, and said that he had given permission for the entertainment to take place. – the CHAIRMAN remarked that in his opinion, Mr. Washer, not being one of the old Trustees, nor a member of the School Board, had not the power to give much permission. – Several members of the Board thought it a pity that the entertainment should have been given at all. – A letter was read from the Superintendent of the Church Sunday School (Mr. J. E. Wilkins) relating to the charge for firing on the Sunday. It was unanimously agreed that the sum of 9d. each Sunday be charged.
RATEPAYERS MEETING AT WYVENHOE
THE SCHOOL BOARD CENSURED
On Friday evening, April 25th, an enthusiastic meeting – convened by Bill – of ratepayers of the parishes of Wyvenhoe and Elmstead was held at the Board Schoolroom, Wyvenhoe, to discuss the general expenditure by the Board School, and particularly the proposed expenditure of about £5,000 for building a new school and other purposes. Mr. E. WILKINS was unanimously elected to the Chair, Mr Gurdon Rebow (Chairman of the Board) having written to Mr. MacColla expressing his inability to attend. There were also present: Mr A. K. Trotter, Mr. T. Goodwin, and the Rev. W. F. Tyler (members of the School Board), and Messrs. H. Bartlett, E. C. Bonner (Relieving Officer), B. Bloyce, E. Baillie, H. Baillie, N. C. C. Lawton, B. Bloice, J. Bush, S. Barrell, E. Brown, B. Barr, Charles MacColla (Colchester), D. Chapman, E. Chapman, A. Cuthbert, J. Crosby, T. Eagley, J. Felgate, J. Granger, A. Grimes, J. Heath, C. Hilditch, D. Ham, W. Madder, E. Nowall, F. Price, J Summers, W. Timothy, J. Went, H. Bartlett (Rowhedge), and Captains H. Brown, W. Chaney, D. Cole, J. Chidwick, C. Ellis, T. Gardner, J. Ham, W. Ham, N. Ham, W. Ham junior, J. Hadley’ H. Harlow, J. Harlow, F. Harlow, T. Innew, F. Langmaid, R. Mason, A. Rudkin, W. Rand, W. Wadley, &., &.,
THE CHAIRMAN having read the Bill convening the meeting, said he did not think that at the present stage of the proceedings it would be fair for him to make any remarks biasing them in favour of the new Wyvenhoe School Board, or of the old management of the School which existed until about three years ago. It would be perfectly clear to the eyes of any gentlemen present, if they glanced at the walls and the ceiling of the school, that they at any rate, required ‘white-washing’ before they could be regarded as clean. The meeting was a much larger one than he anticipated, because as a rule, when public meetings were convened in Wyvenhoe, they were not largely attended. (Laughter) He only hoped that the proceedings that evening would be of such an orderly character that would enable them to get through a certain amount of work. (Hear, hear.) So he thought it would be well to suggest one or two things for the conduct of the meeting. Any gentleman who spoke would have to address himself to the Chair, and failing to do so after being remonstrated with, he would be ruled out of order and prevented from taking part in the meeting. (Hear, hear and laughter.) Secondly, that as many gentlemen wished to say something relating to the new School Board and the management of the schools at the present time, it would be well to make a rule than no person be allowed to speak longer than ten minutes, unless of course, it was the special wish of the meeting that he should continue his remarks. Referring to the notice convening the meeting, the Chairman said they would be sure someone was responsible for its production and he therefore took it that someone was prepared to say something on the matter in question. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. W. HAM. I have been asked, Mr Chairman, by many parishioners to enquire whether the present School Board have gone so far that the parishioners cannot interfere in the matter? If you can kindly inform us whether that’s a fact, we shall feel obliged. If it is so, this meeting and the voice of the people will be of no use. (Loud applause) I have no wish to occupy your time, but we have heard that a piece of ground has been bought for this school at a very great expense, and I wish also to ask whether it is necessary that the whole of the ground should be occupied by these schools?
The CHAIRMAN. Would Mr. Ham kindly specify the piece of land he refers to?
Mr. HAM. The little piece by the railway.
Mr. MACCOLLA said he was in a position to say that matters had not gone so far as to render the present meeting unnecessary. Only that morning he received a letter from the Education Department in reply to one of his, stating that they would take into consideration certain representations as to the proposed loan, which they were there to discuss, and unless the actual members of the Board were in a position to say that the Education Department had granted the request they had made to borrow £7,000 – and not £5,000, as they saw on the bills, which would startle them more than ever – the meeting could proceed, when he would be able to furnish them with certain pledges the Board had made. (Hear, hear.)
The CHAIRMAN said he saw two or three members of the School Board present, and unless they thought fit to enlighten them in any way upon these matters it would have to rest, for he could not do it himself.
The Rev. W. F. TYLER. The question which was brought forward by Mr. Ham has been answered by Mr MacColla, so there is no need whatever for any members of the School Board to interfere.
Mr. TROTTER. Quite true.
Capt. H. BROWN. If the members of the Board would answer the question, and let us know what they have been doing, it would be very much better than working under a bushel as they seem to have been doing. (Hear, hear.) We hardly know what they have been doing. (Applause.)
Mr. MACCOLLA. I can give the meeting certain explanations as to what they have been ding, and perhaps they would like to hear them. (Hear, hear, and loud laughter.)
The CHAIRMAN. We will wait two minutes to see if any member of the Board is disposed to give us any information respecting their movements, and what they have been doing during the two or three years they have been in office.
Mr. TROTTER. It is only two years.
The CHAIRMAN. With regard to Capt. Ham’s question, I take it that if the wall is built round the piece of land in question, it would form the basis of a contract which the Wyvenhoe School Board have or have not yet made, and even if they give the information as to whether they have bought it – they may not be disposed to go into details as to exactly how and what they are going to build upon it – I think we should not take it as discourteous of the Board’s part if they do not reply in detail.
Mr TYLER said the present position of things appeared to be extremely mysterious. Here were bills circulating through the parish calling a public meeting to discuss the doings of the School Board, and now the ratepayers present publicly stated that they knew nothing about the doings of the Board. and that they wanted to know something before they discussed the matter. Therefore it seemed to be altogether premature, and if Capt. Brown had read his papers he would have know better. (A VOICE. “I will send you one, Brown, and you can read it” (Laughter) Continuing, the speaker said they must confess that they had worked a little secretly. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) As far as publishing the reports of the meetings of the Board, it was at his instigation and doings that they were published so that the ratepayers might know how things were going on. He did not think he was personally in a position to say anything to them that night.
Capt. WADLEY. The question is have they purchased this piece of land? It is a very simple question for them to answer, and it will be very discourteous on their part if they don’t answer it. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. TROTTER. It is purchased subject to settlement, of course.
Mr. TYLER. The purchase has not been paid.
Capt. H. HARLOW said that he thought they had met to discuss the immense amount of money the Board were going to put on their poor little parish, and he thought they would all bear him out, every parishioner who was present, that £6,000 for a Board School for the accommodation of girls and boys was a scandalous charge, even to Great Britain. (Loud applause.) If he could help Mr. MacColla in any way to stop such an enormous sum of money being spent on a little place like Wyvenhoe, he would do so. They might be sure that tenants would have to pay for it, and not the landlords, because the latter were not able to do it. (Laughter.) It would be greatly for the benefit of the parish if Mr MacColla could by some means see the way to rid them of the burden. (Applause.)
Mr. MACCOLLA, who was greeted with cheers, said his name had been introduced to the meeting, and he must confess he had had a great deal to do with the summoning of it, and with their permission, he would like to throw a little light into the doings and workings of their representatives on the Board, which they felt somewhat bashful in explaining.
Mr. TYLER. Not as far as I am concerned.
Mr. TROTTER. They can do what they like. (Laughter.)
Continuing, Mr MACCOLLA said they were met to discuss the general expenditure by the School Board, and particularly the proposed expenditure of about £5,000 for building new schools and other purposes. The meaning of the bill was that they had to limit themselves to discuss not only what the Board proposed to spend on new schools, but also how far they had done their best in spending the monies which they had all contributed, many of them their hard-earned savings. Now as to the question of the proposed expenditure on schools, he had copies of a great many documents in the possession of the School Board’s Clerk (Mr. C. H. Tompson), which he knew how to obtain – (laughter) – and he would tell them the result of his enquiries. They stood in this position: On April 11th the Board met, and thirteen tenders were received for the building of new schools and the alterations of the present ones. The Board, after duly considering the same, decided to accept the tender of Mr. Dupont for £4,790, subject to the approval of the Education Department. The minutes of that meeting went on to say “The Clerk was instructed to write to the Education Department for their sanction for their loan of £7,000 for the purchase of the site and for the erection of the new schools and for the alteration of the present ones, the repayment to extend over fifty years. The Clerk was further instructed to write to the solicitors of the Wyvenhoe and Brightlingsea Railway, and that the Board would soon be having the funds to purchase the piece of land, and desired them to give notice to the present tenant in order that he might be restrained from cultivating the land. That, said Mr. MacColla, was the latest act he had been able to discover of the Board’s action. (Laughter.) Now, it was necessary for the Board to obtain the sanction of the Education Department before the money could be obtained, and it did not rest with the lower Board as some had led them to believe. (Mr. TYLER. “No, no.”) Whether this matter had been represented rightly or wrongly, they were entirely in their hands – it rested with them to provide proof to the Education Department of the necessity of this accommodation, and it rested with that body to say that the additional school accommodation was required in order to provide for the educational wants of the district, and the tender must be approved of by the Education Department as well as the plans. (Applause.) What the Education Department up to the present moment had done was to approve of certain plans sent to them. They had seen the tenders, and it might be that, by a strong resolution sent up from Wyvenhoe, this lavish expenditure would be stayed, whilst it would also show the Department their views. It would not cost them anything, they were asked to spend their money, and they might by a record of their views in the form of a resolution, probably grant an inquiry. Mr. MacColla then read the resolution as follows:-
“That this meeting of ratepayers earnestly hope, that the Education Department will not sanction the loan of £7,000, asked for by the Board, in April, as the ratepayers consider that the sum is too large for the requirements of a School Board, especially as both parishes are very heavily rated, and the ratepayers are desirous of explaining at any inquiry which the Education Department may feel disposed to hold on the subject.”
(Applause.) The resolution , he said might be put on one side by the Board.
Mr. TROTTER. Very probable.
Mr. MacColla said the Department might express their sorrow and say the money must be sent, but there could be no harm in sending up a resolution of this sort. (A VOICE. “Not a bit”) If they did not take any notice of it, then the ratepayers would simply have to thank the Board for placing them in this mess. (Laughter and applause.) He would read to them one or two letters now under the consideration of the Department. They were sent late in the day and at the request of Mr. Gurdon Rebow (the Chairman of the Board) he deferred summoning a meeting for three months, in the hope that the Board would have seen their way to arrange matters, by which they would have saved the ratepayers’ pockets. (A VOICE. “That’s it,” and applause.) But his hope had ended in nothing, and they had hanged themselves with their own rope.
Mr. TROTTER. Thank you, Mr. MACCOLLA.
In addition to that, said Mr. MacColla, they were hanging them, and that was the worst and most unfortunate part about it. (Loud applause.) Mr. MacColla then read a letter he wrote to the Department, and dated the 23rd April, which said:-
“The proposed loan of £7,000 is considered enormous by the ratepayers of Wyvenhoe, who are very heavily rated indeed. The ratepayers propose sending a formal petition to you to take fully into consideration the whole of this subject before assenting to the loan asked for by the Board. A suitable plot of land, adequate in every way for the purposes of a new school, could have been obtained for the sum of £200 instead of £500, by which means £300 could have been saved. Further, by not purchasing the plot of land now proposed by the Board, half the great expense of £1,100 for boundary walls might have been saved. The proposed expenditure will mean a rate of about 2s in the pound in respect of the School Board loan.”
In reply to that letter, he received a formal acknowledgement, also mentioning that further communication would be made if necessary. The ratepayers would now see exactly the position of matters with regard to the proposed loan.
The CHAIRMAN. Ten minutes have expired, but I suppose you want to hear more. (Cries of “Yes, yes.”)
Mr. TROTTER. Let him go on as long as he likes. (Laughter.)
Mr MACCOLLA said he found there was a certain amount of shyness in producing correspondence. He asked the Clerk to produce letters or copies of letters written by him to the solicitors of the Brightlingsea Railway as to the purchase of this piece of land. His reason for that and sufficient enquiry after correspondence was given by Captain Ham, who had asked about this particular piece of land and what was being done, but he (Mr. MacColla) had failed to get full particulars as to it. But he was able to say that as far as he could trace, the sum of £500 was offered for the land, without any careful, cute, negotiation to try and obtain it for less, and he should have thought that such cute business men of whom he was speaking would have tried to have bought it for less, and not given £500 straight away.
Mr. TROTTER. They never did. They never did.
Mr. TILER. Let him go on, Mr. Trotter.
Mr. MACCOLLA said it was the fault of the Board if he had misunderstood the things that had been shown to him, because they had not chosen to give proper instructions to their Clerk to produce the proper letters. But as far as he could see there were no efforts made to purchase it for £200 or £300, but £500 was offered for it. That was the price they intended to give, and that was the price which Mr. Trotter said was almost paid for, and they who knew Wyvenhoe were perfectly well aware that they could have purchased a piece of land for half the money.
Mr. TILER. Of course we could.
Mr. MACCOLLA said that £500 was to be spent in addition to the £4,790, which was only for the buildings, wall, &c. But if they added to that £500 for the land, it brought the sum up to £5,300. Then they must add to that the costs of both sets of solicitors of the Railway Company, and unless he was decidedly mistaken it would come to £5,600 at the least. Now they had to add to £5,600 the architect’s fees, and he was sure he was within the mark when he said it would amount to £6,000, (Cries of “Shame.”) What course, asked the speaker, did the Board adopt as to the architect’s fees? Why, they simply asked one architect to do the work, whilst the general practice was for the Board to select three or four to send in competitive plans, and then select the one who guaranteed to carry out the work at the lowest sum. (Hear, hear.) He had received a letter from one of the leading architects in London, who bore his statement out. “The architect,” the writer said “was generally supplied with particulars as to the required accommodation, and in addition was informed by the Board that the cost should be limited to so much per head, and if not he was required to show plans stating the minimum cost.” They did not do this.
Mr. TROTTER. That’s a story.
Mr. MACCOLLA said that he had got letters to prove it. (Laughter.) He would challenge the Board to say that was not the practice, and he would challenge hem to say that they took the ordinary precautions which business men would have done. They did not do as the London architect pointed out was the proper course, but they left themselves in the hand of one architect – (“Shame”) – and asked him to prepare plans which were sent to the Education Department. They did not tell the architect to prepare them at a particular price, which he thought was utterly wrong. The lowest tender was £8,000, and the highest £12,000.
Mr. TROTTER. The least was £6,000.
Mr. MACCOLLA said he was very much obliged for that, for it appeared that the architect actually advised the Board not to accept the £6,000, but the £8,000. I have got it. I have got it. (Cheers.)
Mr. TROTTER. You haven’t got it all there, I tell you; you haven’t got it there at all. They had to re-tender.
Mr. MACCOLLA repeated that the lowest tender was £6,000 odd, whilst the one preceding it was £8,000 and their architect said to the Board, “You had better accept Mr. Dupont’s tender.” Several interviews took place, and it was recorded that their own architect tried to persuade them to accept this man’s tender and to get Mr. Dupont to carry it out, and he challenged them to deny it. (Applause.)
Mr. TROTTER. I do deny it.
Mr. MACCOLLA. Well, gentlemen, we will have the minutes.
Mr. TROTTER. I don’t care a bit.
Mr. MACCOLLA said the next thing they came to were the second plans. He put it roughly that the ordinary charge would be 2 ½ per cent. on the first plans, because the Board did not hold they were useless – (Mr. TROTTER. Bosh!) – and 5 per cent on the £4,796, in addition to the 2 ½ per cent. on the £6,000. Then there was 2 ½ per cent. for tasking the quantities on the £4,790, or at least 1 ¼ in addition to the 5 per cent making nearly 10 per cent. on an average of £5,000. He thought the Board had acted carelessly. (Hear, hear.) This £7,000 would not have been required if they had been cautious, and had been careful to check these fees. (Cries of “Certainly not.”) He admitted the £5,000 might have been required, but the £2,000 upon the £5,000 was really more than they could bear. (Applause.) If he was not wearying them, he would quote some figures. (Cries of “Go on, go on”)
Mr. TYLER. You will leave time for some of us to reply?
Mr. MACCOLLA. What time do you rise? (Loud laughter.) Continuing, he said he should have a further resolution to propose, which would be limited entirely to the general expenditure and the management of the Board, and he would be able to show them that they had thrown away monies quite independent of the £5,ppp. (Loud cheers.) He would ask the Chairman to read the resolution.
The CHAIRMAN said that he didn’t think it was proper to put the resolution until it had been discussed. Before they committed themselves to the resolution, which might possibly entail a greater expenditure to the parish, he thought they should consider it carefully, and look at their position before they signed any petition.
Mr. TYLER said he would start with Mr MacColla’s remarks in reference to blaming the School Board for all this expense. He liked to see blame saddled on the right shoulders, and as a member of the Board he was perfectly willing to bear his share. He would ask the ratepayers present to remember that this was waking up very late in the day. It was not the School Board that had involved them in this expense, for they had it in their own hands. The movement had not been sprung upon them by their own people, but by headquarters. Mr. MacColla spoke as though the Board was doing all this. (A VOICE. “Some of it” and applause.) The Education Department had held that extra school accommodation was necessary, and so the School Board were practically helpless. He thought it was a preposterous thing that the blame should be saddled on the School Board. (A VOICE. “So is £8,000 against £5,000.”) The Department sanctioned the loan, or is most cases advanced it, and therefore they would have the buildings to their liking. He hoped the ratepayers would not blame the Board for all the expenses incurred by the ground. All of them would have been glad to have prevented that to a certain extent; but, as he had said before, and although a friend of free education, he was convinced that the elaborate expenses, the extravagant way of the Government, and the red tapeism that was going on was doing more to ruin that cause than anything else to the country, and he would impress upon the meeting that it was not the fault of the Board that these schools had to be built. Mr. MacColla had been gleaning, and he did not care for his way of gleaning at all. (Laughter.)
Captain WADELY. He is obliged to glean if he wants anything. (Applause.)
Mr. TYLER said Mr MacColla would have the parishioners believe that this ground was purchased without due consideration, and he threw it in the teeth of the Board that a suitable site could have been obtained for £200.
Mr. MACCOLLA. Yes, yes.
Mr. TYLER said the ratepayers ought to know that every trouble was taken to procure suitable ground and he presumed Mr. MacColla alluded to the ground on the Estate.
Mr. MACCOLLA. No, but at two or three places.
Mr. TYLER. Well, perhaps Mr. MacColla will mention the places.
Mr. MACCOLLA. Mr Heath offered them a piece for £200 or £300.
Mr. TYLER said the Board went to the expense of meeting the Lord of the Manor at Brightlingsea with reference to the purchase of this piece of land, and if Mr. MacColla said that their Chairman did not carry through that business transaction in a proper way he would leave him in that position. He believed the ground was worth the sum named – he had been told that more was offered for it than by the Board. As to the suitability of the ground he would not enter into, because he was not practical, although he was quite at one with Mr. MacColla with references to the position of the ground. Now he (the speaker) came to the only indictment Mr. MacColla brought forward in reference to the action of the School Board. The other matters were not worth a snap of the finger. (A VOICE, “That’s your opinion.”) The members of the Board well know that he (the speaker) alone brought forward a suggestion that they should have the plans of half-a-dozen architects. He was, however, overruled in the matter, and Mr. Start [Mr J W Start of Colchester, the architect to the Trustees of the National School] was entrusted with preparing the plans, which in his opinion, was the only blunder the Board had committed. (Cries of “Oh oh.”) He did not think Mr. Start had served them at all well, although he did not say it in a bad spirit. Mr. MacColla had said that nothing was done to curtail the architect’s expenses. He spoke without his books, as he (the speaker) put this question to Mr. Start; ”I hope you will understand that, with reference to the first plans, you confessed they were mistaken, and that you did not think they would come to so much.” The Board heard that put, and so he did not think after all the Board should be saddled with all the blame Mr. MacColla wished to put upon them.
The CHAIRMAN remarked that Mr. Tyler had been in possession of the meeting ten minutes. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. TYLER. I don’t remember another remark, so I will sit down. (Laughter and applause.)
Mr. T GODWIN said that he had not the slightest thought that any member of the School Board would be called upon to give an account of their stewardship. (A VOICE. “Hem.”) If any application had been made to the Board it was unknown to him, and as one of the seven he certainly should not think of doing or saying anything without an application to that body, whence a meeting could he held and an answer given from the whole Board. (A VOICE. “Privately.”) Yes, privately. (A VOICE. “Yes, they spend their money privately, and its kept in the dark.”) If they made application in the proper manner there was not the slightest doubt but that their Chairman would be very happy to confer with them on the subject. (A VOICE. “I think we ought to know without asking him.” (Hear, hear, and applause.)
The CHAIRMAN remarked that it was now two years since they committed themselves to a School Board. (A VOICE. “Didn’t you them?”) They were not at all satisfied, and from 1882 to 1884 the most – and he was speaking as a trustee – strenuous exertions were made to prevent the voluntary system being thrown over, and the formation of a School Board in Wyvenhoe. (A VOICE. “That was the time,” and applause.) The Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, Mr James Jackson – (applause) – exerted himself to the utmost to maintain the schools on the voluntary system, but the contributions were not forthcoming from the ratepayers. (A VOICE. “We know all about that,” and cries of “Order.” and applause.) I don’t know whether you wish me to continue. (“No, no,” and laughter.)
Mr. MACCOLLA. We are talking about the present School Board, and not what took place two years ago. (A VOICE. “We know all about that,”)
The CHAIRMAN was then allowed to continue, when he said that if they adopted the resolution, they must prepare themselves for some expenses, and they all knew what the alternative would be. It might be that they could get out of that £2,000 expenditure. He did not know whether it was possible at the end of three years to overthrow the Board.
Mr. MACCOLLA replied in the affirmative. (Applause.)
Mr. TROTTER. Next year is the election. (Applause.)
The CHAIRMAN said they had it in their hands then to do away with the Board and take to the voluntary system again, but in that case guarantors would be required that the needful funds would be forthcoming.
Capt. H. HARLOW. I don’t know whether we want to stop here all night. I think you are perfectly satisfied – –
The CHAIRMAN. I am in possession of the meeting.
At this stage Mr. Goodwin was in the act of leaving the building, when cries of ‘”Don’t go yet.”
Mr. GOODWIN. I am always ready to contribute to the voluntary system, and will again when you do away with the Board. (Applause.)
In reply to Mr. MADDER, Mr. TYLER said £400 was to be spent on the existing schools.
The CHAIRMAN then repeated his former remarks, when several gentlemen rose at once to speak, whereupon Mr. WADLEY was understood to enquire whether there was to be a certain sum of money to be spent on the present system.
Mr. MACCOLLA. The resolution carries that.
Mr. HARLOW said that if the job could be done for £5,000 it ought not to cost £8,000, and seconded the resolution.
Mr. MACCOLLA then read the minutes of the Board meeting of August 28th, 1889, which went to prove that the lowest tender was £6,854, and that Mr. Start was instructed to interview Mr. Dupont – whose tender was accepted at £8,593 – with the specifications and quantities, and with the object of making considerable reduction in them. On the 7th Sept., the revised tender was produced for £7,223 being a reduction of £1,370.
The CHAIRMAN was about to offer a few remarks, when he was greeted with cries of “Put the resolution.” He did so and it was carried amidst loud applause.
Mr. TYLER. No hands were held up against it. I suppose it pledges a Government Enquiry?
Mr MACCOLLA. No, it does not. It says that we mean to explain anything at an inquiry. We do not ask for an inquiry.
Mr. TROTTER. And the expense will come out of Mr. MacColla’s pockets, I suppose? (Laughter.)
Mr. C. ELLIS said he begged to move that a vote of thanks be accorded Mr. Tyler for his action, re the employment of architects. He should also like to congratulate him on the very neat manner in which he had evaded the question of the purchase of this piece of ground. (Loud laughter.) They knew no more about it than at first. He wished also to congratulate Mr. MacColla for the clever way in which he went gleaning. (Loud applause.)
Mr. MACCOLLA said he had a further resolution to submit to the meeting, and he thought Mr. Tyler ought to hear it. – Mr. Tyler was about to leave the room when he was met with cries of “Don’t go yet; stay and hear it.”
Mr MACCOLLA then read the second resolution as follows:-
“That this meeting of ratepayers of Wyvenhoe and Elmstead, whilst satisfied that their representatives on the School Board have honestly tried to do their duty as their representatives, yet they have not been as careful in the expenditure of the ratepayers’ monies as they should have been, and they hope that the Board will be more careful in the future in the general expenditure. That the ratepayers again desire to request the Board to deposit the books relating to the Board’s management and expenditure in some convenient place in the parish of Wyvenhoe, 3 days before the annual audit, to enable them to have a full opportunity of inspecting the books, instead of, as they did last year, depositing the books at Stanway, some miles distant.”
Mr. MacColla said the points in the resolution were – one, as to the books; and, two, as to certain expenses incurred by the Board in the past. At a vestry meeting in that room a short time ago a resolution was passed asking the Board to deposit their books in Wivenhoe, so that the ratepayers might inspect them and see what they had to pay for. They had been asked before, but they did not do it. The resolution was forwarded to the Board, and they took a month to do so, and he should have thought that any treasurer would have been only too glad to have produced the books showing what had been done with the monies. (Hear, hear, and applause.) The Act of Parliament said that they must produce the books for three days in the parish where the School Board was, or in such other place as they might think proper, and they were shuffling under this alternative. The Board had no business to deposit the books seven miles off. It was for the Board – and he said it respectfully – as their servants to carry out their wishes, and he hoped they would come to a different sense of mind and carry out the business in conformity to their wishes. (Applause.) Now as to the expenditure of certain monies. He did not know whether the meeting was aware that they were paying twice for the same things, and that was a startling proposition to make. (Laughter.) The Board had appointed a Clerk at £40 per annum. On the 29th May they instructed him to write to the Education Department to enquire when the School Board were to take over the management of the present schools, and for which he charged the sum of five shillings, although he was their Clerk and in receipt of a salary of £40 a year. (Cries of “Shame, shame.”) This was, he thought, a more important matter than any they had been discussing, and what no Englishman would tolerate. The writing of these letters was the Clerk’s duty, and for some reason or other the Board had to pay him for writing them, in addition to his salary. If the Clerk wanted to be paid, he (Mr. MacColla) thought the Board should pay him and not the ratepayers. (Hear, hear, and applause.) There was even a far more important point than that. The Clerk was instructed to negotiate with regard to this mysterious piece of land.
Mr. TROTTER. Not very mysterious.
Mr. MACCOLLA said the Act of Parliament gave each of them the power to inspect all letters and documents belonging to the Board at the Clerk’s office. He (Mr. MacColla) would not charge the meeting for that advice. (Laughter.)
Mr. TROTTER. You would if you could. (Renewed laughter.)
Mr. MACCOLLA, continuing, said he wrote to Mr Tompson on the 21st April, informing him that some of the books had not been made up since February, and asking to be allowed to see the vouchers, &c., up to date, and all letters from the Education Department. He received a reply to the effect that the letters were written as solicitor and not as Clerk, and therefore he declined to produce them. They would have a pretty bill there, said Mr. MacColla, a very pretty bill. (Laughter.) – (A VOICE. “He knows.”) (Renewed laughter.) The minutes of the meeting, however, showed the letters were written by Mr. Tompson, as their Clerk, and not as a solicitor, and it would be very hard for the Ratepayers if solicitor’s charges were to be made. The man was their Clerk at £40 a year, and if he had 5s for each letter he wrote, and he told the ratepayers he was not their Clerk, it was a battledor and shuttle cock piece of business. (Laughter.) He thought the resolution was a mild one. He gave the Board the fullest credit for honestly doing their duty, but like many other people who did their duty, the result was not worth having. (Applause.)
Mr. TROTTER. Thanks very much indeed. All right, Mr. MacColla. (Laughter.)
Mr. TYLER. said he trusted these matters would meet the earls of their Clerk, who was quite able to defend himself. Mr. MacColla knew perfectly well that these amounts had all been passed, and he (the speaker) wanted to know if they were safe in the hands of the Government auditor. Did they imagine that the Government auditor would allow them to spend the ratepayers’ money in this way? Mr. MacColla was three days at the Union –
Mr. MACCOLLA. I beg your pardon. (Loud laughter.) Continuing, Mr. TYLER said Mr. MacColla was at the Union trying to find out one little item which was left for future explanation, and which was explained by their Clerk. He did not defend their Clerk, for there were things about him he should like to see different. The charges of Mr. Tompson were perfectly reasonable and right.
Capt. H. BROWN said he understood Mr. Tompson’s expenses were £117.
Mr. TYLER. They have been put up at the Post Office.
The CHAIRMAN, who said they were greatly indebted to Mr. MacColla, read the second resolution. In reply to a question, Mr. MacColla said the Board had the fullest power to deposit the books in the parish.
Mr. TROTTER. You will have to have a clerk down to keep them for three days.
Mr. MACCOLLA. What is the £40 a year for then?
Capt WADLEY then seconded the resolution, which was carried. Mr Trotter being the only dissentient.
The CHAIRMAN thought a vote of thanks was due to Mr. MacColla for the great trouble he had taken in the matter.
Mr. MACCOLLA said he simply did what everyone else would have done who had had his means of obtaining the information.
The vote of thanks was carried with acclamation.
Capt. W. HAM then proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, which Mr TROTTER seconded. The proceedings then terminated.
THE SCHOOL BOARD AND THE RECENT RATEPAYERS’ MEETING.
– The member (sic) of the Wyvenhoe School Board held a meeting last Saturday at the office of Mr. C. H.Tompson, their Clerk, at Colchester, when the statements made by Mr. MacColla ands others at the recent ratepayers meeting were considered. Mr GURDON-REBOW, the Chairman of the Board, presided, and there were also present the Rev. W. F. Tyler, Messrs J. Goodwin, T. C. Goodwin, A. K. Trotter, S. Watsham, and J. D. Ward. The proceedings were private, but we understand that the reports of the ratepayers meeting which appeared in our paper was considered, and that the Board, in comparing the statements made by Mr. MacColla and others with their own minutes, held them to be erroneous, and decided to take no further notice of the same. –It was also resolved to write tot he Education Department suggesting that an official should be sent down to meet the Board on the spot, and to enquire into all the particulars in reference to the proposed loan for the new schools and alterations to the existing schools, inasmuch as there seemed to be a great complaint among the ratepayers as to the large sum required; also stating that the Board could not see their way to a revision of the plans, taking into consideration the requirements of the Department. The Education Department having also asked for the observations of the Board on a letter addressed to them by Mr. MacColla, the Clerk was directed to reply that they were quite satisfied it was not possible to obtain a site for the new School which would be approved by the Department for the sum of £200; that everything had been done to obtain a suitable site at the lowest possible price; and that the Board, being aware of the large expense it would be to the parish, desired to reduce the same in any way the Department might suggest.
THE WYVENHOE SCHOOL BOARD AND THE RATEPAYERS
To the Editor
Sir, – Your edition of May 10 shows that the Wyvenhoe School Board had another “meeting” on May 3, but to quote the words of your report “the proceedings were private.”
At this private meeting it seems that the Board were busy in congratulating themselves and consoling each other (as only people can do in private), with the ratepayers’ censure on their extravagance staring them in the face. And yet, forsooth, “they are quite satisfied it was not possible to obtain a site for the new Schools, which would be approved by the Education Department, for £200, and that everything possible has been done to obtain a suitable site for the lowest possible price.” The ratepayers say the reverse.
The enclosed copy of memorial, signed by a large number of the principal ratepayers of Wyvenhoe, shows the ground of their dissatisfaction. Is not this a second vote of censure on the Board? If not, what is it?
Now, the Education Department has refused to lend to the Board the £7,000 for which they asked for building purposes, and I should add that I have handed in a memorial from the ratepayers’ numerously signed, all with the result that they (the Education Department) say as follows:-
“The limit at the rate of £10 per child would be £5,400, the amount asked for is therefore £1,100 more that the Department can sanction.”
These facts do not appear in your report of the private meeting. Why? Is it that £1,100 is nothing to a Board which asks for £7,000, to be, in effect, levied on the rates?
The Board have existed two years. The appointed an Architect to prepare plans, the plans became useless, the lowest tender for carrying out the work being £6,854. A second set of plans was prepared, the lowest tender being £4,790, add to which £500 for land and about £1000 for general expenses, such as fees, &c., making the grand total of over £6000. The Board then applied for £7,000, and the Education Department decline to sanction it. I may, perhaps be pardoned for likening the above to the fable of the mountains in labour, where it is recorded that the country people met to discover the cause of mountains re-echoing with unaccountable noises. After they had waited in anxious expectation, out crept a mouse.
In like manner the School Board of Wyvenhoe have unduly raised the expectations of friends and neighbours, and have disappointed the ratepayers by impotent conclusions, reminding one of the words
Oh, thoughtless mortals, ever blind to fate
Too soon dejected, and too soon elate.
Who is to pay for this luxury of the Architects abandoned plans? Who is to pay for these futile attempts of the Wyvenhoe School Board which have resulted in “a fiasco?”
If you, Mr. Editor, or one of your readers, will enlighten the Wyvenhoe people and myself on the above, I will always subscribe myself as
Your obedient Servant
May 15, 1890.
[The memorial is addressed to the Secretary of the Education Department, and has been extensively signed by ratepayers of Wyvenhoe and Elmstead. The memorial states that a more suitable and economical site for the new Schools might have been, and still might be obtained – for example, Abbot’s Field, within a few hundred yards of the existing Schools; also certain land and sheds belonging to Mr James Heath, a few hundred yards from the present School, could perhaps be had at less than half the cost of purchasing the proposed land. The proposed site is declared unsuitable, because it is to cost £500, whereas sufficient land might be obtained for £200: also because the soil of the proposed site is not suitable for building purposes, and expense would be caused through having to obtain a deep foundation, owing to the proximity of the Railway, which cause would also necessitate building walls, and involves danger to children, the bridge under which the trains pass (the parapets of which are only about 4ft high) immediately adjoining the Schools. The memorialists state that they have seen children frequently climbing over the bridge in a most dangerous manner.]
23.05.1891, p2 (part of lengthy minutes)
The CHAIRMAN. We don’t know what he charges yet?
Mr. WATSHAM said the Board agreed to give Mr Start a certain sum to complete the work, and so much to act as a clerk to the works, and when he asked for £50 he had had the work in hand for two years for the Old Trustees. It was no use putting it all on to the School Board that they were running the parish to these expenses; the old Trustees of the school employed him for two years, and run him up to London eight or nine times and to Wyvenhoe a number of times and never paid him. Mr. Start had a right to ask as he had done for payments on account, and he would be justified in asking for another £100 on account. Mr. MacColla had stated in public that he could demand even more than he had asked for. It might never answer Mr. MacColla’s purpose outside, but when he came there to stigmatise a respectable man –
Mr. MACCOLLA. I have said nothing against his character. I have said he has a right to be paid fairly for what he has properly done, and nothing more. Mr. MacColla went on to urge that Mr. Start could not claim to be paid for the original tenders which had been cast aside as worthless, and were mere waste paper.
A long and desultory conversation followed on this point, in the course of which Mr. WARD entered into an explanation of the whole matter of the employment of the architect, etc., remarking that he was one of the minority opposed to the erection of entirely new schools, but the majority carried the day, and Mr. Start was engaged to prepare the plans. The first plan came out at such a high figure that two members who had favoured entirely new schools became frightened and said “let’s utilise the old schools,” but in the result Mr. Start was directed by a majority of the Board to prepare fresh plans for new schools. Mr. Ward added that they ought not to blame the architect; it was the majority of the Board who were to blame. As to the rejected plans, they were at the mercy of Mr. Start, who was instructed to prepare them by a majority of the Board. He did not think that Mr. Start had been at all well used, and he thought the ratepayers were somewhat in the dark about it. It was thought by some the architect had been the Board’s master, but they had no master there, whether Architect, Clerk, or Mr. Rebow, their Chairman, but they had always put their opinions forward and the majority had had their way. He agreed in thinking that if Mr. Start was not bullied, but appointed in a proper way, he would meet the Board and Wyvenhoe people fairly.
The Rev. W. F. TYLER said he believed so too.
Mr. MACCOLLA wanted to know what was the “so much” which it was agreed Mr. Start should be paid.
The CLERK replied that Mr. Start was to have £70, as clerk of the works, but when the new plans came in he kindly offered to accept £40; and the estimate approved by the Education Department for the plans before they borrowed the money was £350.
Mr. MACCOLLA asked what Mr. Start had agreed to take, or what sum had been suggested?
SCHOOL BOARD MEETING.
– The monthly meeting of the Wyvenhoe School Board was held on August 4 at the Schools, when there were present:- Mr. S. N. SQUIRE (Chairman) [local doctor]; Rev. J. S. Carolin, Rev. W. F. Tyler, Mr. S. Watsham, Mr. Dick Ham. and Mr. J. D. Ward, with Mr. C. H. Tompson, Clerk.-
A memorial, signed by 66 inhabitants and ratepayers of Wyvenhoe, was produced and read, petitioning the Board to reconsider a resolution passed by them at the last meeting, to sell the surplus land purchased by the Board, and asking them to retain it for the present as a recreation ground for the children of the parish or for some other public purpose. – The Board having duly considered the memorial, a resolution was proposed by Mr. SQUIRE, and seconded by Mr. WATSHAM, that the land should not be sold for the present. – The Board was engaged for some time in discussing the question of furnishing the new schools, and it was ultimately resolved to constitute the whole Board a furnishing Committee, a special meeting to deal with the matter being fixed for next week.
WYVENHOE SCHOOL BOARD
The monthly meeting of the Wyvenhoe School Board was held yesterday (Friday) afternoon, in the National School-room. There were present Mr. S. N. Squire (Chairman); Rev Sinclair Carolin, Rev. W. F. Tyler, Mr J. D. Ward, and Mr. S Watsham with the Clerk (Mr. C. H. Tompson)…………..
SURPLUS LAND TO BE SOLD .- Mr. WARD, after a few explanatory remarks, moved “that it is in the best interests of the ratepayers of Wyvenhoe and Elmstead, and in accordance with the Local Government Board order of last autumn, the sale of surplus land belonging to the School Board be at once carried out.- Mr. WATSHAM seconded. – Rev. W. F. TYLER thought that the resolution involved some complications. If it was to be carried out their land would be sold. They only had two schools, and if they sold every piece of land, where were they to put the third school in case of any emergency?
– Mr. WARD replied that at present there was accommodation for more generations than he or Mr. Tyler would ever see. The two present Schools were quite sufficient for Wyvenhoe for 100 years, at any rate. – Mr. TYLER. Is Mr Ward conversant with the terms of the agreement? – Mr. WARD. Yes, I am. – Mr. Tyler. At the end of a period of time there is a possibility of our being turned out, and while that possibility exists we ought not, I maintain, to be without enough land to build a third school. Mr. TYLER then moved an amendment that enough ground be reserved for a new school in case of any emergency. – This was seconded and Mr. Ward’s resolution was then carried.
ARCHITECTS AND CONTRACTOR’S FEES. – Cheques were drawn in favour of Mr. F. Dupont (contractor) for £165 on the old schools and £130 on the new schools; and in favour of Mr. J. W. Start (architect and surveyor) for £70.
THE PLEASURE FAIR.
– This was held on Friday, Saturday, and Monday last on Mr. W Abbott’s meadow, near the Park Hotel. This is the first time the fair has been held out of Wyvenhoe Street for many years, in fact not in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. Owing to the Board Schools being built on the old ground, there was not room enough there. A tram car belonging to the fair, took people to and from the ground from the Grosvenor Hotel for the fare of 1d., and did a good business
[Also a report on rates paid for education in Wivenhoe at 7 ¾ in the £]
WYVENHOE BOARD SCHOOL.
– The new schools were opened on Wednesday last for the first time. The furniture is not in the schools yet.
THE SCHOOL BOARD AND THE BANK FAILURE
At a meeting of the Board on Jan. 5th, there were present Mr. N. SQUIRE (in the Chair), Rev. W. F. Tyler, Mr. S Watsham, and Mr. D. Ham, with Mr. C. Tompson, Clerk.- Mr. Claude E. Egerton-Green was unanimously elected Treasurer to the Board in the place of Mr. John Bawtree, resigned. – Mr. F. Dupont, of Colchester, the contractor, forwarded to the Board two certificates from the Architect (Mr. J. W. Start) for work executed and materials supplied for the building of the New Schools and the alterations to the old, amounting to £300 and £100 respectively. It was ordered that a cheque for £100 be drawn on account of the same, and the Clerk was directed to express the Board’s regret that owing to the failure of Messrs. Mills, Bawtree, and Co.’s Bank they were unable at present to forward him the full amount.