The Boys’ School Account Book
In issues 53 and 54 of the History Group Review there was a brief history of two of the three former schools in Walsham le Willows, which were commonly referred to as The Girls’ School and The Boys’ School. A few months after these publications “The Boys’ School Account Book” emerged from a deep recess and eventually made its way into my hands. At first sight it was a typical, rather impressive Victorian account book: foolscap size, leather bound, with nicely marbled fly-leaves. Once inside it was not quite so grand; the first twenty or so pages had been ripped or cut out rather untidily, and you can just see that the book had been used for an earlier set of accounts started in 1815. It was almost as though those starting out on this new school venture were not totally assured of success and didn’t want to waste money on a new book.
A Group Comes Together
Walsham’s first village school had been opened in 1832, but it proved very popular and quickly became overcrowded. It was therefore decided that a second National School should be built specifically for boys, and the earlier building could then be used for girls. The first page of the book is headed “Trustees of Boys School appointed by Deed – Date 8th July 1848”. There follows a list:
Clergyman for twice being 1
J. H. Wilkinson 2
H. J. Wilkinson 3
John Wardale King 4
H. J. Wilkinson Jnr. 5
T.M. Golding 6
Revd. Saml. Golding 7
John Martineau 8
This list gives quite an insight into how Victorian village society functioned. Ownership of land or involvement in key professions such as the law, the church, medicine and the civil service were attributes which gave both status and in most cases a sense of social responsibility. In 1848 John Hooper Wilkinson (JHW) was 60 years old and lived in West Lodge on West Street. He had served for many years with the East India Company and presumably accumulated some wealth before moving to Walsham. He now served as a Justice of the Peace, but was unmarried and had no direct heirs. He is quite clearly the driving force behind the establishment of a new school. He acts as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer to the group, and the accounts are in his writing until he hands over to John Martineau in October 1869.
Hooper John Wilkinson (HJW) was John’s brother and had moved to the village from Middlesex before him. At the time of the 1851 census he was 51 years old, lived with his wife Anne in Walsham Hall and farmed 240 acres; this was a substantial acreage by the standards of the day and employed 8 labourers and 4 boys. At the time they had five children – four daughters and a son. The son, (also Hooper J. Wilkinson), was 28 and had qualified as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn.
John Wardale King was also a lawyer; in White’s Directory of 1844 he is listed as a solicitor and in the Walsham entry there is a legal firm given as Golding and King. A Samuel Golding is also shown as a solicitor and it is quite possible that he was intended as one of the trustees – he appears in the list at number 4, but the word “dead” has been written next to his name and J. W. King has been moved up to number 4. There are several Goldings in the area: the curate at Wattisfield is the Revd. Thomas Golding, the Revd. Josiah Golding is in Rickinghall, and Henry Golding owns Hillwatering Farm in Langham, but it is a Revd. Samuel Golding who becomes a trustee.
The Project Gets Underway
The first page of the accounts goes back to 1847 and starts with two very substantial contributions to the fund; on April 14th JHW gives £50 and in May the “Trustees of (Village) Charities” match this with another £50. The application to the National Society to start a new school was sent on April 6th 1847 and so these initial contributions may well have been to show the level of local support for the scheme and therefore help the application.
In 1848 Fund Raising begins in earnest. Both JHW and the Charities give a further £15 each, and monies then appear in sums ranging from £1 to £10 given by the trustees, their friends and relatives. The Council on Education contributes £68, an Improvement Society donates £20 and HJW gives £25. By the autumn the school building is complete and there are bills totalling £349.18.02 to be paid – there is a shortfall of over £68. JHW covers this himself but is later able to recover most of the sum through a contribution of £5 from Lady Lloyd, £25 from the Diocesan National Society and £20 from the Central National Society. It seems very impressive indeed that the application, the planning, the fund-raising and the actual building are all completed in eighteen months – the school was opened on 10th October 1848.
The next page of the account book shows the actual costs of Building the School. To start with, Mr. Golding is paid £100 for the site, although an additional £20 goes to Mr. Miller for the “entrance ground” and Mr. Playton (?) receives £1 for “crops” – presumably this is compensation for loss of production. The bulk of the building is done by Mr. Rednall, a contractor from outside the village, but virtually all of the smaller tasks are put in the hands of Walsham tradesmen. Mr. Rednall gets a total of £182 in three separate payments, but most of the other payments are for less than £5 each. Charles Howe advertised as a builder, or sometimes a bricklayer, and received five different payments for various minor works. He lived on Palmer Street in what is now Foxglove Cottage.
Mr. Jaggard was paid £5.16.00 for making the furniture; this probably consisted of a set of long benches and a desk and seat for the teacher – he also did work on the gate. At the time there were several members of the Jaggard family, living mainly on Church Street, who advertised variously as carpenters, machinists and cabinet makers. By 1864 William Jaggard & Sons had expanded into being builders, machinists and brass founders producing such things as farm machinery, cast iron water pipes, stoves and carts. There was then the blacksmith’s bill of £1.16.00, a payment of 9s.6d. to Mr. Clamp for paints, £1.12.00 to buy a stove and two separate payments of £1.14.06 and then £3 12.00 to buy books. The solicitor’s fees were paid, not surprisingly, to Messrs Golding & King and amounted to £10.06.02 although this did include Stamp Duty. Mr. Golding also provided “gravel & marle” but made no charge.
Balancing the Accounts for the Year
The next two pages refer to 1849 and give a clear indication as to how school finances are to be managed over the following years. The biggest expenditure is paying Mr. William E. Young, the newly appointed head teacher, who receives a salary of £55 per annum paid in four quarterly sums of £13.15.00. In the 1851 census Mr. Young is recorded as being 27 years old, the National School Master, and living in Brook House on Wortouts Lane – now more politely known as Grove Road. Brook House may well have belonged to Mr. Golding or the diocese, because there is a payment of £20 to Mr. Golding for “house rent” – presumably a rent-free house went with the post of headteacher. There are also some bits of work to finish off on the school: Mr. Pollard does “work at yard & plantn.”, Mr. Clamp paints the bridge over the stream to the Boys’ School, Mr. Howe fits a ventilator, and someone else is paid for “fencing agst. Baker’s land”. The total cost for the year is £80.07.09.
On the income side we begin with a contribution of £20 from JHW and £15 from the Trustees of the Town Charities. Smaller subscriptions come from people who helped in the previous year and also from John H. King – a solicitor living in Four Ashes, Walton Kent – a surgeon and general practitioner living on Church Street, and the Gapp family who were farmers at Cranmer Green. This left a deficit of £18.01.09 which was met by the Treasurer – this means that John Wilkinson met almost half of the annual costs of running the new school !
The pattern of accounts for 1850 is almost identical. Income is being produced by roughly the same group of supporters in very similar sums to 1849; JHW and the Trustees of Charities again donate £20 and £15 respectively, but at the end of the year the Treasurer (JHW) adds another £10.06.00 to balance the account. Mr. Young receives his quarterly payments of £13.15.00, Mr. Golding receives £20 for rent on the house, and Mr. Pollard is paid 4 shillings for some odd jobs at the school. There are also three separate payments totalling £4.08.00 for books. What the account is not clear about is the money being collected each week from the boys. Towards the foot of the page is a note added later in pencil stating “Amount of Boys Payments = £13.05.06”; at this stage I think that each boy was paying one penny per week, so this sum would be very roughly equivalent to an average weekly attendance of between 70 and 80. The agreement had presumably been that these monies went directly to Mr. Young.
The Accounts Settle Down
In 1851 the later pencil note shows that payments from the boys had dipped slightly to £12.05.11 but in 1852 they were up to £17.04.11 – either that school-room was becoming very crowded or they had started to introduce a scale of payment whereby the sons of tradesmen and farmers paid more than the sons of farm labourers (see Review No 53). In 1853 the added pencil note shows £16.15.03, but in the second quarter Mr. Young’s salary is cut to £12.10.00. It appears that JHW’s pencil notes show a man coming to terms with just how much the headmaster was collecting for himself from the weekly payments. Clearly the original agreement had been rather too generous and so the annual salary seems to have been renegotiated!
The accounts begin to look much more healthy in 1854. This is partly the result of the new salary level for the headmaster, but also because Mr. Martineau has appeared for the first time as a major benefactor. He starts making an annual donation of £10, which when added to the sums from JHW and the Village Charities now covers roughly two thirds of the running costs. At the end of the year JHW only has to add 12 shillings and six pence to balance the account. He is not however, a man to rest on his laurels. Having been relieved of some of the burden of the annual costs he now makes personal payments for additional improvements: he pays £1.13.00 for new book shelves, £2.05.00 for a cess-pool to be built near the bridge, and, particularly important, gives £3.10.00 as a salary for an additional monitor. He also seems to have leant on the village Charities who give an extra £3 for repairing the bridge across the stream to the Boys School.
Over the following years the accounts start to look very stable. The same people are making the same contributions each year and generally the only outgoings are to Mr. Young. In 1856 the £20 that has been paid to Mr. Golding for rent is replaced by a payment of £15 direct to Mr. Young “for house rent”. He has moved away from Brook House and in !861 is living in East Street (or Finningham Road), in a house which, if the entries in the census returns are in a logical order, was probably situated beyond “The Cherry Tree” but before Cranmer Green. This was a larger property, which allowed his wife Martha to set up a small private boarding school; in 1861 the census records just two boarders, but in 1871 there are seven boarders, (plus possible day pupils), and Mr. Young’s daughter, who is also called Martha, is employed as a School Assistant. In 1859 £12 is spent on another new bridge and 4s.6d. is paid to repair the school clock! In 1860 the school is painted and in the following year some repair work is done on the walls. Mr. Jaggard gets called in to do some work in 1866 and two years later he is paid £3.19.04 for what must have been quite a serious repair to the roof.
A Change of Leadership
In October 1869 John Martineau takes over the role of Treasurer and signs the account book to say that he is now going to be the guarantor for the school. The basic outgoings remain the same at £65 per annum but at the end of the year it is Mr. Martineau who pays in £14.04.00 to balance the account; three other members of his family have already paid “subscriptions” earlier in the year.
The school has now been open for over twenty years and it seems fairly obvious that Mr. Martineau thinks that the time has arrived for the project to be taken forward. In 1871 the Jaggards are paid over £20 for putting in a new brick floor, whitewashing the walls, repairing the wall and palings next to the river, repairing the parapets and coping, and putting new palisading on the bridge. For the first time since the single reference in 1854 the issue of monitors is addressed: F W Thurmott and George Smith are appointed and receive various payments during the year. I is quite possible that the arrangement was somewhat experimental to start with, but they complete the year and are paid in total £3.14.06. There is also the purchase of a new Log Book and new registers, and again for the first time the “school pence” (the money collected from the boys) goes through the school account book. The “pence” add up to £27.08.10 which is equivalent to over 50% of Mr. Young’s actual salary. These important improvements come at some considerable cost to Mr. Martineau who has paid for the monitors himself and then pays £47.05.01 at the end of the year to balance the account.
Central Government Accepts (Some) Responsibility
These improvements may well have been encouraged by the passing of the Elementary Education Act of 1870, (the Forster Act), which recognised that the education of the poor could not just be left to voluntary organisations and that central Government needed to contribute. In 1872 the accounts move from using the calendar year to the academic year, and we see the first “Grant from the Education Department” of £6.12.06 – this is not a huge contribution! Jaggards are again doing a lot of work including building up the wall on the stream bank and building a new porch and “offices” (or toilets); they also install new desks, window frames, blinds, and make an easel and slates. In all £35.04.11 is spent on improvements in 1872, while John Walters, George Smith, and later in the year J. Hockett are employed as monitors at a total cost of £2.19.09. The school buys some maps – probably those big wall maps mounted on canvas with wooden stays at each end which many of us can remember from our own school days: one of Europe, one of England and one of Norfolk & Suffolk. Was this under the influence of the Education Department? Were all schools being expected to have such things in order to encourage a sense of national identity! They also purchased a wall chart of “The Metric System”, which could well mean that Walsham was roughly a hundred years ahead of the rest of the country in this matter. Mr. Martineau’s contribution for the year is over £60 or about ten times what is coming from the Goverment. In 1873 the grant from the Education Department does rise to £30.09.00 and represents about 25% of the school’s expenditure for the year, although Mr. Martineau’s contribution is still slightly larger. The big change for the year is the extension of the building to create a new classroom. This is again done by Jaggards for a cost of £29.17.06.
Following this period of refurbishment and extension between 1871 and 1873 the entries in the Account Book become fairly repetitious. Receipts include a grant of about £30 from the Education Department covering roughly a quarter of the running costs, another grant from the Walsham charities for £15, and six or seven “subscriptions” ranging from £1 to £5 including three from various members of the Martineau family and one from Hooper Wilkinson. There is also the “school pence”, which is then paid to the headteacher, and a balancing item paid each year by John Martineau; this varies considerably but is typically about £30. Expenditure is dominated by payments to Mr. Young: he receives a quarterly salary of £12.10.00, an additional £15 for a year’s house rent, and about £30 from the money collected each week from his pupils. This gives a total of about £95 per annum.
In comparison the quarterly payments to two monitors who each receive £1.17.03 over the whole year may seem a rather small sum. In 1871 the monitors were Frederick Thurnott and George Smith. Frederick was 13 years old and lived with his mother on Church Street. She appears to be a single parent and, although she is working as a harness maker, there are four children to support and so any income at all from the oldest child is probably extremely welcome. George also lives on Church Street and is just 12. His father is a blacksmith, but again he is the oldest of four children. In 1876 we have the first record of anyone being paid to do any cleaning: “Roper for attending to offices, ¾ year” – seven shillings and sixpence. There will then be a series of smaller payments for books, stationery, coal, carting the coal, and paraffin oil, as well as ongoing repairs and redecorations. In 1877 Harry Nunn takes over from Jaggards for general repairs and maintenance. At first payments are to “Hayhoe & Nunn”, but then just to H. Nunn.
The Final Pages of the Account Book
The latter parts of the Account Book also provide a record of the succession of Headmasters. The school had probably been extremely fortunate to have Mr. Young in post for over three decades from his appointment in 1848, but in 1881 he was succeded by Mr. F. R. Lyne. There now follows a period of change with seven different headmasters in fourteen years; this rate of managerial change may well be acceptable in a Premier League football club, but in a small village school it must have been extremely disruptive. In the summer of 1884 Mr. W.E.Saunders takes over; by 1891 Mr. Greenslade is in post for just four weeks in November and on December 1st. William Henry Pitt is the new head. A similar transition takes place in 1894-95 when Mr Dunnett is appointed as a “temporary master” for two months until Mr. W.B.Wadsworth arrives. As part of his initial month’s salary he receives an additional £1 for his return fare from Cheltenham to London. Does this represent his interview expenses? Was he interviewed in London? Why was his salary £70 per annum while his predecessor had received £80? Perhaps he was a young and inexperienced teacher. Mr. Wadsworth’s salary payment for March 1895 which was made on April 2nd is the final entry on the last page of the Account Book.
In 1883 there had been a dramatic change to the “Received” pages. Prior to this the annual subscriptions had come from just six or seven or possibly eight individuals; they were generally the major landowners of the village, their friends and families. Suddenly in 1883 the list is expanded to about thirty. The new subscribers are generally contributing just £1 or ten shillings or less; they include at least nine smaller farmers such as Herbert Woods (Hall Farm), Solomon West (Four Ashes Farm), Mrs Sarah Hatten (Sunnyside) and Thomas Easlea (Brook Farm). There were also Mr Clarke, the landlord at The Cherry Tree, Henry Drake, a plumber and decorator, and Taylor Sons & Dowson who were brewers, maltsters, wine and spirit marchants. What lay behind this sudden change? Has John Martineau decided to try to involve a wider segment of the community or has he reached a point where he feels that more people should be shouldering the load? Is society witnessing the growing influence and self-confidence of the middle classes or is the Victorian sense of philanthropy establishing wider roots?
The final entry in the Account Book covers the academic year 1894 – 1895 although the Boys’ School does continue as a separate institution until the major reorganisation of 1911 when the Boys’ School and the Girls’ School are amalgamated and the former Boys’ School building is extended. The Account Book gives us an intriguing insight into the creation and running of a nineteenth century village school – how it was established and maintained, and who did what. Of course the number of people involved was considerable, but it is highly significant to see the extent to which the actions of just two individuals, John Hooper Wilkinson and John Martineau, were absolutely pivotal in the campaign to bring education to the children of Walsham le Willows.
A Postscript – The Legacy of Miss Elizabeth Gapp
Miss Gapp was a member of the farming family that lived at Sunnyside Farm and for much of her life she had been a regular subscriber to the Boys’ School and supporter of all the schools in Walsham. As mentioned in Review No. 53 she died in 1891 at the age of 82 and left £100 to John Martineau “to be invested and held by him upon trust and the interest to be distributed in prizes of money or books or clothing as he shall think fit for the children of the girls school who have passed three subjects at the annual examinations”.
Stuck inside the back cover of the Boys’ School Account Book is a letter dated 23rd March 1893 and addressed to Mr. Martineau at his Belgravia residence in Eaton Place. It has been attached using four blobs of black sealing wax. The letter is from lawyers based at 9, Lincoln’s Inn Fields and reports: “Our Brokers have purchased £76 Great Eastern Consolidated 4 per cent Preference Stock with the amount of this legacy and I will send you the Transfer for signature as soon as I receive it. As you are aware it is difficult to invest the exact sum you have in hand and our Brokers were therefore obliged to give £100.10.06. I hope you will not mind having to provide the extra 10/6 “.