Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (05/Jan/1874) - Memorial School at Netherton: Opening Ceremony

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 opening ceremony of the Hough Memorial School at Netherton, was celebrated on Saturday evening last, in the presence of a large and fashionable audience. The proceedings were commenced with a substantial tea, to which about 300 persons sat down in the Oddfellows' Hall, which was handsomely decorated for the occasion. Besides the Memorial School there is a teacher's house, and these are built on the south side of Moor Lane, leading from Netherton to Armitage Bridge, and are in the Gothic style of architecture, from designs prepared by Messrs. John Kirk and Sons, architects, of Huddersfield and Dewsbury, and under whose superintendence the works have been carried out. The school and teacher's house are semi-detached, and when the boys' school is added, which is proposed to be done at some future time, will form a very pleasing front, with the teacher's house, clock, and bell turret for the centre. The infants' school forms the left wing, which projects from the main front about 10 feet with a gable, in which is a bold five light tracery headed window. Over this window carved in stone, is the inscription "In Memoriam." The school has an open timbered roof, stained and varnished, supported upon molded and carved stone corbles. The walls are plastered and lined out in blocks to look like ashlar. The school is lighted by three very handsome coronas of a pretty design, painted blue, relieved with red and picked out with gold. The school is very effectually warmed with hot air, which does great credit to Mr. John Grundy, of Manchester. Between the school and the teacher's house are the porch and lavatory, and behind these a large class-room, 18ft. by 15ft., entered from the porch. The lavatory contains three wash-basins and double rows of pin rails, and shelves for caps and cloaks. The teacher's house contains on the basement, a coal cellar and keeping cellar, on the ground floor, porch, staircase, sitting-room, kitchen and scullery, and on the chamber floor two bedrooms and dressing room. The above schools stand upon an acre of ground, and are entirely walled in with a good and substantial lime wall, finished with three carved toppings. The front gateway has two bold and handsome posts, and an ornamental iron gate. The grounds have been laid out by Mr. Joseph Hey, of Berry Brow, and are very tastefully done. The school will accommodate about 200 infants, and the entire cost, including the teacher's house, boundary walls for an acre of ground, architects' commission, furniture, &c., will be £1,600 ; deducting £400 for the teacher's house will leave £1,200, or £6 per child. The following is a list of the builders :— John Moorhouse and Co., masons, Meltham ; James Blakeley and Sons, joiners, Meltham ; Nathan Jessop, plasterer, Berry Brow ; Francis Drake, plumber, Meltham ; John Brook, painter, and William Goodwin and Sons, blue slaters, of Huddersfield. About the origin of the movement nothing need here be said, as the secretary's report furnished below gives all necessary particulars.

After tea a public meeting was held in the new school room, under the presidency of the Rev. G. Hough, vicar of South Crosland. There were also on the platform the following gentlemen :— The Rev. R Collins, vicar of Kirkburton ; the Rev. T.B. Bensted, rector of Lockwood ; the Rev. G.E. Wilson, vicar of St. John's, Birkby ; the Rev. John Jones, vicar of Honley ; the Rev. F.G. Deedes, curate, South Crosland ; Thomas Brooke, Esq., who was announced to declare the school open ; and Messrs. F. Greenwood, Thos. Brook (Kirkburton), Jos. Wrigley, James Wrigley, Geo. Dyson (Laycock, Dyson and Laycock). Jos. Wrigley, jun., G.H. Wrigley, J.A. Wrigley, N. Wrigley, E. Walker, and James Kirk (architect).

The members of the choir of the Parish Church (Huddersfield), were in attendance and kindly gave their services, singing at intervals during the evening a choice selection of anthems and other sacred music. After the Old Hundred had been heartily sung, and a fervent prayer offered by the rev. chairman.

Mr. Thomas Brooke said — It is about 10 days since my friend Mr. Dyson asked me to take some little part in the opening ceremony of this school. Although I have for a long time made a firm rule not to accept any engagement which would lead me out to evening meetings, yet I felt that this was such an exceptional case that I could not refuse. But after consenting to come, I was not a little startled to see the walls placarded with the mysterious announcement that I was to declare the school open, for I really did not know what was implied in making such a declaration as I am intended to make. I thought at first that I was to be a kind of high priest, who, with this table for an altar, was to offer up a substantial sacrifice of this building to the genius of good order, sound learning, and of a pure faith, who is henceforth to preside in this school. And such, I thought, would not have been a bad way of doing it, and in that case the way would, I suppose, have been for me, as representing those who have banded themselves together in the promotion of this work, to have handed over a trust deed to certain trustees to be therein named, who would enter into the possession of it and hold for the purposes for which it has been erected. But when I saw Mr. Dyson he completely put that idea out of my head, because he told me that that sacrifice had already been made, and that the school was already vested in a long roll of trusties, the names of which he read over to me. I gathered this, that I, as the mouthpiece of the trustees, the committee, and the subscribers to this institution, should hand it over, as it were, to the care of our beloved pastor, Mr. Hough, and ask him to take it under his special protection, and use it as a part, and a noble part too, of the ecclesiastical machinery of this parish. (Hear, hear.) But after all, I dare say that the principal object for which we have assembled this evening is that we may congratulate one another on the successful way in which the work has been brought to a conclusion, and that we may not only offer up our thanks for the way in which it has been carried out, but that we may also look forward and offer up an earnest prayer, in humble faith, over this building for those blessings which we doubt not will radiate from this centre. (Applause.) I think I must turn to you, sir, and ask you to accept this building in the sense which I have now named. I have not said anything — I have not said one word — is to the name and the circumstances under which this school has specially been erected, but I should be ungrateful indeed if I allowed this opportunity to pass without mentioning my grateful recollection of one whose name will ever be associated with this place, as well as my firm sense of the kindness and love which I have ever received from Mr. Hough himself. I ask you then, sir, to accept this room, to accept this building, to accept this work, not merely looking on the past as a memorial of one who has gone, but also as a token of respect to yourself, for the work which you have not swerved from doing in the parish for nearly 50 years, and also as a memorial for the future, in which we hope many generations may be trained up with the example you have set them. I know not that I can say any more, but if it is necessary I will now declare this school open, and I trust that this first opening may be followed by many which will indeed prove a blessing to this place. (Applause.)

The Rev. Chairman, who appeared to be labouring under strong emotional feelings, then said that that moment was to him one of the most singularly happy in his life. He had been looking forward to that school being built in Netherton for the instruction of infants for many years. It was first suggested to him by one of his honoured parishioners, now gone, and he had ever kept it in mind, although various circumstances had prevented him from putting it in execution. It was, however, more particularly the departure of his beloved sister that led to their final resolve that a school should be built as a memorial school to his dear sister. And now the pleasure that he felt was in connection with all the observations that Mr. Brooke had so very kindly made respecting the usefulness of the building, not only now, but he trusted for many generations to come. And it was a peculiarly happy thing for him — conscious, as he must be, that his time could not be very long among them — to reflect that there was now, after some 45 years of his residence at Netherton, a building in that village, which he had never had before, where he could meet his parishioners — in his own building so to speak — for divine worship, as well as for the instruction of the children through the week. After giving the whole history of the movement, the speaker, after begging of all present to stand, uttered a fervent prayer for God's blessing upon the work.

The Hon. Secrertary, (Mr. G. Dyson) (Laycock, Dyson and Laycock, Huddersfield), then read the following report:—

It has been known for some time that our much respected vicar has desired to have in the village of Netherton a building which might serve as an infant school and also as a mission-room, in which services might be held. Knowing his wishes for the welfare of the neighbourhood in this respect, shortly after the death of his sister, Miss Hough, a meeting of a few gentlemen was held, and it was unanimously decided, if agreeable to Mr. Hough, to erect a building suitable for the purposes required, as a tribute to the memory of his late sister. Miss Hough, who for so many years devoted herself to the best interests of the parish, and whose delight was to watch over and work with tender care for the instruction of the young. This was communicated to Mr. Hough, who was much pleased to think that the erection of a building he had so much desired was about to be carried out. Mr. Hough most kindly volunteered to purchase the ground required, and afterwards to give it. A quarter of an acre was at first considered sufficient. Mr. Hough afterwards wished to increase it, and half an acre was arranged as the quantity ; but he was not even satisfied with this, as in his bounty he decided to purchase and have conveyed to trustees an acre of ground, thus providing sufficient area upon which to erect a church, if at a future time it should be required. The purchase of this quantity was accordingly made by Mr. Hough, at a cost of about £200, from the trustees of Meltham and Honley Churches, from whom, and their agent, Mr. Abbey, the committee have received great consideration, and for which they are exceedingly obliged. The land has been conveyed to six trustees, namely, the vicar and Messrs. James Wrigley, Jos. Wrigley, Henry Wrigley, George Dyson, and Jas. Albert Wrigley, upon trust, for the education of the infant children, or in the discretion of the trustees, of children and adults of the labouring and other poorer classes, and for the residence of the schoolmaster and schoolmistress, and subject thereto, upon trust to permit the building to be used to hold meetings, or for such other religious, educational, or moral purposes in connection with the Church of England as the trustees shall determine. And by the trust deed it is declared that the school shall always be in union with, and conducted according to the principles of the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Church of England, as the same are set forth in the present Book of Common Prayer. The buildings erected comprise large schoolroom, in which we are now assembled, being 54 feet long and 27 feet wide, a classroom adjoining, 18 feet by 15 feet, master's or mistress's house, containing kitchen, sitting-room, and two bedrooms. The buildings, with the boundary wall, laying out of the ground, gates, gas-fittings, furnishings, &c., have altogether cost about £1,600, and it is with the greatest pleasure that the committee are able to report that the school is opened entirely free of debt. The committee would take this opportunity of expressing their appreciation of the great liberality in the numerous subscriptions received. They thankfully acknowledge the hearty and acceptable gifts of those in less affluent circumstances, and also most sincerely thank the larger subscribers for their noble and generous help. The committee also wish to acknowledge with many thanks the following gifts, viz :— forms and benches, by Mr. Hough, a clock for the clock tower, by Miss Mary Hough, the handsome organ now in the school, and played this evening, by Mr. Edwd. Wrigley, and the Bible and Prayer-book for the prayer desk, by Mrs. Dyson.

The Hon. Secretary also read letters, each enclosing a cheque for amounts varying from £100 to £20, expressing either inability to be present or sympathy with the work, from Mr. Dunderdale (Sir John Ramsden's agent), Miss Banks, London ; Mr. John Brook, Armitage Bridge ; the late Mr. R. Battye, Mr. Thomas Haigh, of Ham ; Captain Jessop, Honley ; Mr. Carlile, Mr. E. Brook, and Mr. W. Brook. He then observed that they had achieved their main object in one way, and that was to give some gratification to their respected vicar, Mr. Hough. The object of the school appeared mainly twofold — for religious service and for the education of the young — for which objects Mr. Hough had spent so many years amongst them — and the late Miss Hough had done so much. He believed that those who were taught there would be taught Bible truths, and he was pleased that a school had been erected at Netherton in which the Bible would be taught. To him it seemed very singular that all the professing Christians of the present day could not hit upon a plan whereby the Bible and Bible truths might be taught in our public schools. In conclusion, he said in erecting that building they had erected a useful memento to the memory of her whose high personal character and works of charity made her beloved by all who came into contact with her, and he believed that that school would serve as a permanent record to show the sincere affection and the deep veneration in which their rev. chairman was held, not only by his parishioners, but by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Mr. Joseph Wrigley, in proposing the "Health of the Archbishop, the Bishop, and the Clergy of the Diocese," made some interesting allusions to the extension of church and school accommodation in this district during the last 40 or 50 years, and then asked what would have been done in the cause of education had it not been for the clergy. He believed it was admitted by all that 70 per cent of what had been done in that direction had been done by the clergy. In speaking of the late Miss Hough, he remarked that he knew from his own personal experience that she lived a Christian and she died one, and when they were no longer that school would remind their successors of Miss Hough, who laboured so hard amongst them, and of her reverend brother. They had a school there, and thank God, the Bible would not be turned out of it. Indeed, the world was turned upside down now, for when he was a boy he was led to believe that everything depended upon the Bible. Take it away, and where were they ? For he reminded them that all their laws were founded upon the Bible.

The Rev. R. Collins also spoke to the same toast.

The Rev. G.E. Wilson proposed the following resolution :— "Success to the new school and the education to be given in it." He said he felt pleased to know that in that room, in which there must be members of different denominations, there was no one who was opposed to Bible teaching and Bible reading. The object of the school was partly for religious service and parochial meetings, and partly for the education of the young. The religious services they knew would he conducted in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, a Church which deserved to be honoured and to be loved, because it took its title deeds from the very Word of God, which they desired should be read in the day schools. And because the teaching connected with that school would be in accordance with the teaching of the Bible and the Prayer Book, which was founded on the Bible, he thought it had a very sure augury of success. The education to be given in that school was to be founded on the Bible, and that was the book they all wanted their young people to be trained in. They did not believe in casting it aside, for they knew from experience what had been done where education had been kept a part from the Bible. The history of Greece and the history of Rome told them what clever men might be who were not influenced by Bible teaching. It showed them that some of the greatest intellects the world ever saw were some of the most morally degraded the world ever saw, and so they were not going to be led away and they were not going to cast aside the Word of God.

The Rev. T.B. Bensted, M.A., endorsed the wish that that school should be successful, and that the education given in it might be of real good to the rising generation of that district. He impressed upon all present the great necessity there was for their support to the school now that it had been opened, the susceptibility of youthful minds to religious teaching and Godlike impressions, and the advantages of an education founded upon the Bible.

Mr. James Wrigley proposed the following resolution,

"That the thanks of this meeting be given to all those ladies and gentlemen who have been so liberal towards removing the entire debt off this place, and more especially to our kind friend Colonel Brooke for opening this school."

Without being formally seconded, the vote was carried, the audience rising en masse.

Mr. T. Brooke rose to acknowledge the vote of thanks proposed by his friend, the chairman of the Board of Guardians, and so cordially passed by them, the subscribers to that place. He did not rest his claims about being present on any of the grounds so facetiously brought forward ; but what had brought him was the fact that it was nearly 35 years since he became an inmate of Mr. Hough's house. A great many changes had taken place in that neighbourhood since that time, but he had never ceased to look back with pride and pleasure to that time. It was a pleasure for him to be at that meeting. Some of the gentlemen who had addressed them had rather hinted at than pointedly spoken of the system of education which was now being adopted throughout the country. He did not at all agree with what he called the ultra-clerical view of the matter, at any rate in their large towns. He believed it was absolutely necessary that a beneficent Act like that which was passed a few years ago should be worked in a way in which in a majority of cases it had been worked, if they were to nip in the bud that torrent of vice, crime, and ignorance which was to be found in our large populations. (Hear hear.) In reference to the remarks of Mr. Wilson respecting the philosophy of Greece and the manly training of Rome, which Mr. Wilson seemed to think had done nothing but harm (Mr. Wilson : "No, no.") he believed that those two systems together had done more than anything to prepare the way for the beneficent results of the Gospel. And much as he loved definite dogma — and no man loved definite dogma more than he — he still believed that a man would make no worse selection of that doctrinal truth of which his conscience and his principles approved because he had received in a Board School a sound and liberal education. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Joseph Wrigley, jun., proposed a vote of thanks to the committee and the teachers.

Mr. Herbert Wrigley acknowledged the compliment on behalf of the committee, and proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Parratt, Mr. Garner, and the members of the Huddersfield Parish Church Choir, which was also suitably acknowledged.

The Rev. F.G. Deedes proposed a vote of thanks to the ladies for having provided the tea, and Mr. George H. Wrigley responded on their behalf.

A similar compliment, on the motion of Mr. Mellor (Crosland), was passed to the architects and contractors, and was suitably acknowledged by Mr. James Kirk, jun., after which the proceedings closed with the doxology.