Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Jan/1868) - Opening of the Meltham Church Memorial Schools

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


The beautiful Church Schools, erected at Meltham, in memory of the late Rev. Joseph Hughes, formerly incumbent of Meltham, were publicly opened on Saturday. The schools are situate a short distance from the road on the south side of Meltham Church, and are commodious, lofty, convenient and thoroughly ventilated. The land upon which the schools are erected, as well as the ground for a play ground, was generously given by Charles Brook, jun., Esq., of Enderby Hall, and the cost of their erection has been defrayed — with the exception of a small debt still to be provided for — by public subscription. For many years the old national school has been inconvenient, and inadequate to meet the requirements of the locality. The want of an infant school was also felt, but by the erection of the new schools the wants of the village will be fully supplied. The old school was opened on Monday last as an infant school, Miss Walker from the Ripon training college being appointed mistress. A night school for girls was opened at the same time.

The opening proceedings on Saturday, commenced by divine service being held in the Parish Church. The sermon was preached by the Rev. G. Hough, incumbent of South Crosland, from the 78th Psalm, the 5th, 6th, and 7th verses. There was a large congregation. At the conclusion of the service tea was provided in the new schools of which nearly 500 persons partook. The room was tastefully decorated with flags, banners, &c.

In the evening a crowded public meeting was held in the same room, presided over by the Rev. E.C. Watson, the incumbent. Amongst those present were the Revs. G. Hough, C. Green, incumbent of Helme; J.R. Jagoe, incumbent of Meltham Mills ; — Richards, curate of Meltham ; J.S.E. Spencer, incumbent of Wilshaw ; Chas. Brook, jun., Esq., J. Hirst, Esq., Messrs. E.C. Gooddy, E. Brook, W. Brooke, Honley ; T.A. Haigh, A. Thewlis, J.W. Carlile, James Ramsden, — Harrtop, Doncaster ; A. Beaumont, T.D. Scholes, J.S. Kirk, and others. The Church choir, assisted by Miss Crowther, Messrs. R. Stead, T. Woodhead, and W. Kenyon, was present, and diversified the proceedings by singing a selection of music. Mr. Richard Wood, the organist, presided at the pianoforte. The Meltham Mills band was also present, and added to the pleasures of the evening by their spirited performances.

In opening the meeting the Rev. Chairman expressed his thankfulness to God that He had spared them to witness the opening of the schools, the foundation stone of which was laid in faith and prayer, and had been begun, continued, and ended in praise to God. They had heard an admirable sermon that afternoon from a clergyman whom they all respected and esteemed for the purity of his religious principles, and the piety of his life. In requesting Mr. Hough to preach the sermon on that occasion, he (the chairman) believed he had acted in accordance with the desires of the parishioners, and the wishes of him to whose memory those schools had been erected. After alluding to the service held that afternoon, and showing the connection of the church with the schools, the rev. gentleman proceeded to point out the difference between religious and secular education, and said the education that did not comprise religious instruction was no education at all. He believed it was religion that would fit them for both time and eternity. The reading of the Bible in the schools was not enough, explanation should be given, so that those who read might understand what they read. The Bible was the book that could give light and comfort in the darkest and dreariest hours. For this reason he was anxious to place these schools on a proper footing, and with that object he had obtained the assistance of Mr. Edward Brook and Mr. Gooddy in the management of them. In order to bring education within the reach of all classes, the terms had been fixed at 2½d., 4½d., and 6½d. per week, so that it might not be considered altogether as a charity school. He believed that a low paying school would be a bad school, but a school in which the terms were reasonable would be a self-supporting school. Last year they had a good report of their school from the Government Inspector, and he trusted that character would still be maintained. The managers were converting the old school into an infant school, which would be under the care of Miss Walker, for whom he enlisted their good wishes. The terms in this school would be 2d. per week. After alluding to the earnest manner in which Mr. Hirst and the Building Committee had performed their duties, the chairman referred to the importance of the early training of children, and the facility with which those in the infant school would be transferred to the larger one. He considered that the care bestowed in teaching the children was one of the signs of a standing or falling church, just the same as in the case of a falling or standing family ; and so long as children were thoroughly taught the way in which they should go, there would be no fear of a falling church. In conclusion, he publicly thanked Chas. Brook, Esq., for his munificient gift of the land on which the schools stood, and also for his presence there that evening, as it was an indication of Mr. Brook's unabated interest in the moral and spiritual welfare of the people of Meltham. He also thanked Mr. E. Brook, the treasurer, Mr. Gooddy, the secretary, the members of the Building Committee, the churchwardens, teachers, and others of the Sunday school, and the subscribers — many of whom had given, not of their abundance, but of their penury — for the exertions they had already shown in this good work, and hoped they would further those exertions by wiping off the debt still remaining, which amounted to about £400. He urged this because he believed there was no better way in which a wise man could show his wisdom, or a patriot his patriotism, than by standing forth in the cause of popular education.

Mr. E. C. Gooddy, the hon. secretary, congratulated the building committee on the successful completion of their labours. In a lengthened address on education, he dwelt upon the duty of all who were above actual want to do their utmost for the spread of moral and religious education among their poorer neighbours.

The Rev. G. Hough next addressed the meeting, and pointed out the great benefits arising from religious training, and urged the meeting to uphold the Church schools, and strengthen the hands of its teachers and managers.

Chas. Brook, jun., Esq., in the course of his address, passed a high eulogium on the late Mr. Hughes, who, during his life, had long wished for additional school accommodation, and who complained that he could get no one in Meltham to move in the accomplishment of that object. This pious man expressed an idea to him (Mr. Brook) that he should die before the good work was begun. As soon as he (Mr. Brook) heard Mr. Hughes thus complain, he went to Huddersfield — knowing the plot of ground on which they then stood was for sale — and, before 20 minutes had elapsed after his arrival in that town, he succeeded in purchasing it ; and it was a singular coincidence that the following week Mr. Hughes died.

Josh. Hirst, Esq., of Wilshaw, spoke of the kind and genial manners of the late Mr. Hughes, to whose memory those schools had been erected, and congratulated the inhabitants of Meltham on having such magnificent schools as they were then in. He pointed out the responsibility that rested on the parents, whose duty it was to second the efforts of the teachers in inculcating right principles into the minds of their children ; for, without the assistance of the parents, the labours of the teachers would be of little avail. Meltham, he said, was blessed with good schools ; therefore the people ought to make rapid progress in an educational point of view.

The Rev. J.R. Jagoe, also addressed the meeting in a similar strain.

Edward Brook, Esq., of Bent House, the treasurer, in a few remarks, gave the financial report. The total cost of the building was £1,843 8s. 3d. Towards meeting this outlay, the subscriptions received and promised amounted to £1,482 18s. 6½d., leaving a deficit of £360 9s. 8½d, which he trusted would be cleared off in about ten days.

Addresses were also delivered by the Rev. J.S.E. Spencer, Messrs. J.W. Carlile, T. Lawford, and others, and the interesting proceedings closed shortly after half-past ten o'clock.

The following is a description of the building:—

The plan of the school is a parallelogram, 65 feet by 30 feet within the walls, and 26 feet high to the ceiling, and has separate entrances for boys and girls by means of a double porch, which is lighted by a four-light window filled in with tracery. At the east and west ends there is a five-light tracery-headed window, and on each side there are two-light tracery-headed windows. At each external angle there are two buttresses, and over each window and doorway there are hood molds with carved terminations and relieving arches, with alternately pitched and bosted archstones. The eaves are finished with molded and ornamental sunk corbling to support the spouts, which are also of an ornamental character. In the gable over the principal entrances there is an elaborate inscription stone bearing the following inscription and year:— “S. Bartholomew’s Church School, 1867. In memoriam,” which is neatly executed in letters of the same character as the building. The gables are finished with canopied footstones and shaped ashlar coping. At the top of each gable there is an ornamental saddlestone and iron finial, finished in gold and maroon.

All the joiners’ work is of Baltic fir, stained and varnished, the roof is entirely open to the collar beams, having curved and molded ribs supported on carved stone corbies. All the walls are finished with V jointed boarding and molded capping 4 feet high from the floor. The doors are of diagonal framing covered with V jointed boarding and hung with ornamental wrought iron hinges. In the centre of one side of the room there is a platform and teacher’s desk, the room is also fitted up with desks and seats which have been prepared at Windsor. All the walls are finished in bastard stucco, coloured and lined in imitation of ashlar. The ceilings are plastered between the spars and finished white. All the windows are glazed with sheet glass in lead lights. The heating of the school is by hot air on Grundy's patent system, and the ventilation is from "flues in the walls and patent iron casements in the windows for ingress of cold air and the egress of vitiated air is by a ventilating chamber above the collar beams in the roof and a large ornamental ventilator in the ridge. The artificial lighting of the schools is by gas, having ornamental coronas and brackets, supplied by Messrs. Hibbert and Co., of Manchester, and Messrs. Lidster and Armitage, of Huddersfield.

In connection with the school there are two class-rooms, 20ft. by 15ft. each, having separate lavatories for boys and girls, fitted up with washbasins and drinking cups, and hook railing for caps and cloaks. Each classroom has a fireplace with molded stone chimney piece and fender, so that they can be warmed at any time without the use of the heating apparatus. Under one of the classrooms is formed the heating apparatus room and coalplace, which is entered from the outside, this room is also fitted up with a boiler and oven for the preparation of tea. Behind the classrooms are fit up separate out offices for the boys, girls, master, and mistress. The whole of the buildings are covered with the best blue Welsh slates and crested ridge tiling.

In connection with the schools there are spacious playgrounds for both boys and girls, and the whole is enclosed with boundary walls, finished with molded ashlar coping, ornamental palasading, gates, and massive stone piers.

The style and character of architecture adopted is gothic of the 13th century, and is boldly treated in detail from designs prepared by Messrs. John Kirk and Sons, architects, of Huddersfield and Dewsbury, under whose superintendence the works have been executed.

The tradesmen employed in the works were Messrs. George Moorhouse and Co., of Meltham, masons ; Mr. William Myers, of Meltham, joiner ; Mr. James Wilkinson, of Holt Head, plasterer ; Mr. Francis Drake, of Meltham, plumber and glazier ; Messrs. J. Preston and Sons, of Meltham, painters ; Messrs. William Goodwin and Sons, of Huddersfield, blue slaters ; George Schofield, of Huddersfield, and E. Pogson, of Meltham, smiths. The entire cost of the schools is £1,843 11s. 3d.