Speke School

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1881 census
Jane Noscoe              Wife                  52                                                  Liverpool, Lancs
Ellen J. Noscoe         Dau                  24        School Mistress            Aigburth, Lancs

Extract from letter 3/1/1867 from Geo Whitley

Speke school  

            I had a conversation yesterday with Mr. Gibson and told him the intention of allowing £25 p.ann. to the Curate at Garston on the condition that a portion of his time should be devoted to Speke, Mr. G said he hoped the money would be paid through his hands as otherwise it would entirely upset the arrangement with his Curate. I however think it ought to be paid to the latter leaving him and Mr. G to settle matters as they like, the only difficulty in this case being that he might be prohibited from attending the schools &c.

Extract from letter 18/1/1869 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

            Mr. Gibson having sent to me, being still unable to leave home, for payment of £12.10.0 which Mrs Gibson in a letter to me says I promised on the condition of his (Mr. Gibsons’) providing a service weekly at the Speke school room which had been done according to the agreement since June last. On the 12th inst I wrote to her as follows:

            “I received your note yesterday relative to the payment of the amount promised regarding the Speke Schools  enclose a receipt for the amount (£12.10/-) which I will thank you to ask Mr. Gibson to sign & will pay over the money to any person you may direct to call for it.

            You will excuse me for saying that the £25 was not ‘promised’ on the condition on his (Mr. Gibsons’) providing a service weekly at the Speke school rooms but on condition that the curate of Garston should have the sole control of the schools giving such services as he might think proper for which he was to be paid by Mr. Watts executors the sum of £25 p.ann. Mr. Gibson stipulating that the money should pass through his hands which as a matter of courtesy we agreed to. If however, as I gather from your note, that the Curate for the time being is not to be benefited I fear it may lead to some other arrangement”

            This produced a letter from Mrs. G dated 13th inst a copy of which is enclosed.

My understanding with Mr. Gibson was decidedly as I have expressed it – that was to pay the Curate himself for his work at Speke & not to pay part of his stipend as Curate of Garston with which Mr. Watts’ Trustees have nothing to do. It is an unfortunate misunderstanding & I much fear will lead to the withdrawal of the Curate from Speke. The receipt complained of was in the following form.

“Received of the late Mr. Richard Watts’ Executors the sum of £12.10.0 for half years gratuitons allowance for the Curate of Garston for superintendence and management of the Speke Schools from 1. June last to the 1st Inst” I have not yet answered Mrs. Gibson’s letter and shall cut the question of repairs of the Chapel very short. I much regret being obliged to annoy you on so many disagreeable subjects but shall be glad to have some advice.

                                           Garston Vicarage

                                                                                                13th Jany 1869

Dear Sir,

            Mr. Gibson being unable to write he has requested me to answer your letter. This I can do more easily as I happened to be present when you promised in your own name & that of Mr. Sprot that if Mr. Gibson authorized his Curate to superintend the Speke School & hold a service there the Trustees would give him £25 p. ann. towards his Curate’s stipend. Mr. Gibson distinctly said that he was not going to pay a Curate to assist him in his parish & let that Curate be employed by a third party unless some of the expense of the Curate Stipend was paid for him. Unless the Trustees are prepared to do this Mr. Gibson must decline letting his Curate hold any further services at the Speke School. He also declines signing the rect. sent as it is not worded according to his agreement with the Trustees

With regard to the refusal of the trustees to pay for the repairs of the Garston Church, they were always paid by the late Richd. Watt & his Grandfather.  I suppose the only legal claim is the undisputed “use & wont” of a considerable time, being just the same tenure as that by which Miss Watt holds the patronage of the living of Garston, as you are aware there is no document in existence which gives her that right.

                                                            I am Sir

                                                                        Yours truly

                                                                                    Anne Gibson


Clayton Square                                                                                                                       25th January 1869

Dear Sir,

            I delayed answering Mrs. Gibson’s letter until I had an opportunity of communicating with Mr. Sprot on the subject.

            He agrees with me in supporting that altho’ the money proposed to be paid on account of the services at Speke Schools was to pass through your hands it was intended for the benefit of the curate himself for the performance of such services and not as part of his stipend as Curate of Garston with which Township Mr. Watts reps? Have no connection.

            I did not intend that the receipt which I sent for your signature, and which was rejected, should express more than this and do not see how it can be objected to in present form.

            With regard to the repairs of Garston Church I must again, as I  have on former occasions, state that Mr. Watt’s Estate is not liable for them & consequently returned to you the bills, by whom ordered I know not, which were sent in to me.

            The remark as to the patronage of the living of Garston, of which you seem to have formed a very erroneous opinion, is quite uncalled for.

I much regret that any misunderstanding --?—arisen between us but still hope you will not think I have taken either an illiberal or unfair view of the question

                                                I am Dear Sir

                                                            Yours faithfully

                                                                        Geo Whitley

The Rev. John Gibson.

Garston Vicarage,

                                                                                                Feby 4th 1869

Dear Sir,

            Mr. Brack is just entering on a small house in Garston, & I am now willing to waive my claim to the sum allowed by the Trustees for the Speke service but he will sign the receipt, as formerly sent thro me viz. £12 10/- up to Xmas last, and so on in future without any demur or hindrance from me.

            I must now touch on another subject, viz. I am sorry to write that the master of the Speke School is decidedly (Bradshaw) a disgrace to the Township. The last time I and Mr. Brack went there we were actually compelled to leave the Schools from the vile stench of his body & the entire dirt of his person – his daughter is also a disgrace to the place, let Mr. Sprot go over himself & see the state of things, the nice piece of ground which Mr. Watt appropriated as a play ground for the children & which was to be kept in nice order for the children is now broken up by Bradshaw into Potatoe grounds, is now a ?dead letter? & entirely diverted from its original purpose. Mr. Sprot could easily, for a proper remuneration get a decent young man from Scotland

                                                I am dear Sir – truly yours

                                                            John Gibson

Extract from letter 6/2/1869 from Geo Whitley

Garston Chapel & Speke Schools –

            I enclose copy correspondence with Mr. Gibson which I hope is now closed so far as regards the proposed allowance to his Curate as I have today sent the money (£12.10.0) to be paid over to the latter who called upon me yesterday and expressed his thanks for what is to him a great boon – The report as to the schools is as bad as can be and it is quite clear there must be a change. Mr. Brack thinks he could procure a respectable young man as Master for £50 p. ann. The Clerk at Garston Chapel tells me he sees old Bradshaw pass his house daily & has seen him intoxicated. With such a statement however of the Minister of the Parish there seems only one course left.

Extract from letter 8/12/1869 from Geo Whitley

The Schools

Nothing has yet been determined on but there seems to be a great desire on behalf of the Tenants generally that the old barn should be converted into a new school & Mr. Hewson has promised them if this can b e accomplished to give them a regular service once a week which they have no doubt would be very well attended, this however requires consideration.

Extract from letter 24/12/1869 from Geo Whitley

Mr. Hewson and the schools

Mr. Shelmerdine being over at Speke yesterday I told him to go to the schools and report whether it would be possible to raise the walls, he says they are too weak and it cannot be done, the building is in somewhat of the following form, exceedingly low and only thatched, the contents 44¼ square yards, average number of scholars 38, namely from Oglet 13 and Speke 25, so there is barely sufficient space for them & it would not accommodate a congregation on the Sunday afternoons, though Bradshaw informs me there have been as many as 100 persons present in Mr. Jones’ time, Mrs. Hewson is suffering from the breaking of a carbuncle in her face which tho’ painful is getting better

Extract from letter 1/8/1870 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            Mr. Hewson called on me on Saturday and he has now got in all applications for the situation of schoolmistress, they amount to 18 and are from all parts of the kingdom, he left them with thinking you might wish to see them. Shall I forward them to you?

Extract from letter 6/8/1870 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            Mr. Hewson called on me a few days since and introduced a young person from Birkenhead for the situation of Schoolmistress and promised to see me again today, which he has not done. From what I could judge she seems to be a suitable person. Don’t you think we had better leave the  selection to Mr. Hewson himself? Her testimonials were satisfactory. The weather here is extremely sultry, last Thursday we had a heavy fall of rain with thunder which has been most grateful.

Extract from letter 24/8/1870 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

            I yesterday wrote to Mr. Hewson as follows: “I believe Bradshaw has given up the school and cottage and if so Miss Shepherd will be ready to enter upon her duties on Monday next but before doing so I think she should be called upon to sign the acknowledgment of the terms on which she has been engaged & also to abide by certain rules and regulations in the conduct of the schools, the latter will be much more satisfactorily dealt with by yourself than me & I shall therefore feel much more obliged if you will in the mean time furnish me with such a form as you may consider necessary & proper”

            This will give you an idea how the school affair stands. Miss Shepherd was the party selected by Mr. Hewson among many other candidates and appears a person well calculated to fill her situation.

Extract from letter 27/8/1870 from Geo Whitley

Speke school

            I have this morning had an interview with Mr. Hewson Mr. Meredith & the Schoolmistress and I hope settled all matters satisfactorily.

            Mr. Hewson is dining at the Hall on Monday & as Mrs. Leyland has taken a kindly interest in the schools we agreed that the rules should be submitted for her inspection before being finally agreed upon, you shall see them afterwards. Business cannot be commenced before Monday week as the cottage has to be cleaned down and purified being in a most scandalously dirty condition, so we are well quit of the outgoing tenant.

Extract from letter 29/8/1870 from Geo Whitley

The School

seemed very clean and nice and the schoolmistress to be progressing – from thence I went to John Sutton’s to enquire about

Extract from letter 5/7/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools.

            Mr. Hewson called on me a few days since and shewed me a correspondence he has had with one of the Government Inspectors of which I send you copies, this surprized me not a little as I was not aware that there had been any interference on the part of the Government and I asked Mr. H how it had occurred and he stated that he supposed it had arisen from the answers which he had sent in to the enquiries made by them. I much fear this will not meet with your approbation as it is quite clear if we fall into the hands of the authorities nothing less than entirely new schools will suffice. Mr. H has procured a license from the Bishop to perform divine service & to administer the Holy sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the schools room. He (Mr. H) looks and has been very unwell. I had written thus far when I was obliged yesterday to go over to Woolton on an occasion hereinafter referred to.

Extract from letter from 6/7/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools again

            The enclosed bills have come in and as I suppose the articles are essential they must be paid. The bills for the school treat in May last (£5.13.10) have been paid by Meredith who I believe also paid full as much more out of his own pocket.

Extract from letter from 6/7/1871 from Geo Whitley

49, Bedford St. North

                                                                                    Liverpool. June 3/71


            I have the honor to inform you that on Tuesday last I visited the Speke School of which you are the correspondent. With regard to the efficiency of the School in respect of the Instruction, I shall be able to give a very favorable report to the Education Department, in reading writing & dictation the children did great credit to their Mistress & although they are behind the Standard in the quantity of their Arithmetic still what they did they did well, & their backwardness is accounted for by the shortness of the time during which they have been under the care of their present Teacher.

            With regard to the efficiency of the School in respect of the premises I am afraid I cannot report so favorably. My Lords will refuse to recognise any School as efficient in this respect which is not properly supplied with desks, School furniture & offices & in all these matters I found the Speke School deficient. On the occasion of my visit I found 50 children in the School which is 2 more than the superficial area of the room will admit of. The presence of the Infants in the same room as the older children is also a great objection as it must necessarily greatly interfere with the proper performance of the Teachers duties. I shall be glad to learn from you whether any and what alterations in the School are contemplated whether I can get a guarantee that the School in its present condition will be properly supplied with desks, books, furniture and offices.

                                                I am Sir, Your obedient Servant

                                                            T. Shute Robinson

                                                                        H.M. Inspector of Returns


                                                                        Garston Vicarage

                                                                                    7th June 1871


            I am exceedingly obliged by your favorable report as to the efficiency of the instruction given in Speke School by the Mistress.

            I may say in reply to your enquiries that it is in contemplation to enlarge the Schoolroom but the principal trustee of the Estate and Guardian of the minor Miss Watt, is at present in the South of England. On his return to his residence in Scotland he is expected to call here and I will then lay your report before him.

            At all events I may safely say that the School shall be properly supplied with desks, furniture, books and offices according to the wishes of the Education department.

            I am sorry that I had not the pleasure of accompanying you to the School & of offering you hospitality

                                                                        I am &c

                                                                                    J. F. Hewson.


                                                                        49, Bedford Street North

                                                                                    Liverpool June 10/71

Dear Sir,

            I regret to say that upon enquiry I find it is my duty to raise one more objection to the Speke School house & that is the fact of its having a thatched roof.

            I think it would be very desirable if you could ascertain as soon as possible the views and intentions of the trustee of the Speke Estate on the subject of the School.

            The Speke Township requires accommodation for 80 children at the least, the existing School supposing it to be rendered efficient according to the requirements of the Education Department can only contain 49, the deficiency must be provided for either privately or by means of a School Board.

            The Education Department will require my report upon this district to be sent in during the course of this month & of course I can only take into account Schools already built & such contemplated Schools as are actually planned & about whose future existence I can give some definite & certain information.

            It appears to me that the expense likely to be incurred in building a new School would not be much greater than that required to put the present premises into a proper efficient state.

            Many thanks for your kind offer of hospitality & if I have again to visit the neighbourhood I shall certainly take that opportunity of thanking you in person. To avoid any further sailing under false colours I may inform you that my profession is the Bar and not the Church.

                                                                        I am Dear Sir

                                                                            Yours very truly,

                                                                                    T. Shute Robinson.

                                                                        5, Clayton Square, Liverpool

                                                                                    20 July 1871

Dear Sir,

Speke School 

            Knowing your anxiety on this subject I send you a copy of my letter to Mr. Hewson and of his reply. We are clearly under Government control and cannot therefore move until we see the Inspectors report which I fully anticipate will be a very unfavorable one as regards the building as he complained of the size of the room, its furniture &c and Mr. Hewson rather ominously says “we can I believe keep the school under its present constitution & also carry on the religious instruction as before provided that we voluntarily remedy any defects which may be pointed out in the report” In Mr. H’s P.S. he adds “both yourself & Mr. Sprot led us to believe that the alterations in the school asked for by the Mistress & myself should be carried out” now my recollection only serves me that I said I should get Peters and Ball to give me an estimate what they would cost which I have never seen.

                                                                            I am, Dear Sir,

                                                                                    Yrs faithfully,

                                                                                         Geo. Whitley.

James Sprot Esqre.

St. Ann’s Hotel




                                                                                    15 July 1871

Dear Sir,

Speke Schools

            Mr. Sprot has been over here this week & I shewed him your correspondence with the Government Inspector. He desires me to say he is much annoyed at the turn this correspondence has taken as it is entirely at variance with his ideas as expressed to you & he therefore asks for an explanation how it originated & why it was carried on without his approbation.

            The Schools have been heretofore carried on by Mr. Watt & his reps. at a cost to themselves of about £100 p.ann. & latterly it is believed with advantage to the children. It was, I know, Mr. Sprot’s desire that this system should be persevered in without reference to the interference of Government because if the Schools are subjected to the provision of the Elementary Education Act the expenses will be greatly increased and the owners of the Speke Estate will lose all control over the Education of the Poor the consequence being they will have no religious instruction whatever.

As to the erection of new Schools or the enlargement of the present ones Mr. Sprot will decidedly set his face against & he thinks the latter are unfitted for a place of public worship.

            Mr. S is better but still ailing & has returned to Buxton but as I do not know what his future movements may be if you write to him you had better address your letter to Spott.

            I will attend to your wishes regarding Robinson’s affair &                                                                               am, Dear Sir,

                                                                                    Yrs faithfully,

                                                                                         Geo. Whitley.

Revd. J. F. Hewson

Alexandra Hotel




                                                                        Alexandra Hotel


                                                                                                July 17

Dear Sir,

Speke School

            As Mr. Sprot wishes to know how the correspondence originated between the Inspector and myself relative to the above School, & I am quite willing to explain though the correspondence seems to me to be explicit. Under the Education Act (1870) Government required the Overseers of each parish or township to make certain returns as to the Schools in the district, the return after being forwarded to the Department are submitted to an enquiry on the spot by an Officer of the Department. In our case the Gentleman deputed visited the School without giving any notice of his intention so to do & my name being in the return as Vicar of the Parish he addressed his communication to me complaining of the size of the room its furniture &c, but speaking most favorably of the instruction imparted by the Mistress. I informed him in reply that I would lay the matter before the trustees hoping & believing that they might be able to do something but that at all events I myself would guarantee that there should be a sufficiency of Books, desks &c. He then it appears visited the School a second time without notice & wrote to me about the roof asking, as he had shortly to send in his report if I would give him an assurance that attention conformable to his suggestions would be made. I replied writing to the same effect I believe as before (you have the correspondence) that I could guarantee nothing as to any improvements in the building but that I would lay the matter before the trustees. Thus so far as to the origin of carrying on the correspondence, I am quite cognizant of the interest Mr. Sprot has taken in the welfare of the School but owing to the Act we could not prevent the enquiry & I hope Mr. Sprot will feel assured that I have not invited the interference on the part of the Government. The whole proceeding is the result of the Education Act which makes it imperative on every parish or township without exception to provide Schools both sufficient and efficient. If every township had been so well provided as Speke is, there would have been no need of the Act but now we are all to be judged by the same Standard & if we have any shortcomings which cannot be remedied voluntarily the Act provides other means for the purpose, the Inspectors report being the first step, of course I cannot say what the report may be, I have at all events tried to make it as favorable as I could. I should however be very sorry to think that compulsion in any form would have to be resorted to by the Government as in that case the probability is that the Authority of the trustees over the School if not entirely overthrown would be seriously diminished & no one would regret that more than myself. In justice however to the Act I may say that though many of its provisions are in my opinion obnoxious, we can I believe keep the School under its present constitution & also carry on the religious instruction as before, provided that we voluntarily remedy any defects which may be pointed out in the report, this explanation must be deemed satisfactory to you & Mr. Sprot or any reasonable person.

                                                                        Yours faithfully,

                                                                                    J. F. Hewson


            I may add that both yourself & Mr. Sprot led us to believe that the alterations in the School asked for by the Mistress & myself should be carried out, in fact Mr. Sprot said to me last Xmas “Let us leave the matter for a short time to see how the School works under the new change, it does so well so far but as you know the old adage “A new broom sweeps clean” then in his exact words I believe “if necessary we will make the alterations you ask for” this applied to the class room &c there is no mistake in this matter.


            The Inspector informed the Mistress on his last visit that the Government would be satisfied with a slated roof, a class room & a sufficiency of furniture, Books &c

To Mr. G. Whitley

Extract from letter from 1/8/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            I have heard nothing more of the Government report. I hear that Mr. Hewson is come home but not much improved in health. Miss Shepherd called on me last Saturday & shewed me a letter from the Clergyman of the place where she was last employed making her a good offer if she will return, she says fairly enough she thinks she ought to accept it to which I suppose we cannot object but as she would not leave until the 1st of Decr. next we have plenty of time to consider what course ought to be taken when we receive the report. I enclose a copy of the letter.

Extract from letter from 21/9/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

and he is of the opinion that we shall hear no more of Government interference, the schools in the meantime being respectably and well conducted which I was glad to hear. Mrs. Hewson and family were at Chester, the pony looking happy & fat and conduct approved.

Extract from letter from 2/10/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

            Mr. & Mrs. Hewson called upon me yesterday after service there which I hear is much appreciated and I intend to judge for myself. Mr. H shewed me a letter of which the following is a copy:

                                                                        “49, Bedford St. North, Liverpool.                                                                             Sept. 29 71

Dear Sir,

            I fear I must trouble you once more about the Speke School. The children of the district can be accommodated without the help of any new school if I can get from you an assurance that the present building will be properly furnished with desks and generally put into an efficient state,

                                                                        I remain dr Sir,

                                                                        Yours sincerely,

                                                                        T Shute Robertson”

addressed to Mr. Hewson.

This seems a reasonable proposition and I shall be glad to have your opinion upon it. If approved of, Mr. Hewson must be requested to look out for a new schoolmistress in place of the present one. My only difficulty is how to interpret the word “efficient” because the building is not in a bad state of repair.

Extract from letter from 4/10/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

            Mr. Hewson has just called upon me to say he met the Government Inspector yesterday who is very reasonable in his requirements as the school is voluntarily supported, the arrangement of the Desks and the addition of the adjoining shed for a class room is all that he at present suggests, next year he thinks the thatch on the buildings ought to be removed and to be replaced with slates and an alteration made in the privies. This work may be done partly by own men and at a moderate cost.

Extract from letter from 14/10/1871 from Geo Whitley

                                                                        Speke Schools

            I attended the afternoon service at 3.30 and was much pleased (last Sunday) with it, the children were very attentive, the building well filled and the general congregation to appreciate it, Mr. Hewson

officiated and got through his duties efficiently though he looks ill and his proposed operation still hanging over him. I took a seat towards home behind the grey pony and I believe it will prove a great acquisition to its master. I have ordered some books and am making enquiries as to the sort of desks in use in schools of our description. Mr. Hewson assures me that the Government will not in any way interfere with the schools as they will be supported voluntarily.

Education Department                                               49, Bedford St. North.

Whitehall                                                                         Liverpool. 23.10.71



            I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th Ult. & beg to apologise for being so long in answering it.

            First with regard to the question of interference; that ceases, in the case of a school not applying for an annual Government Grant, as soon as My Lords are satisfied that the School is efficient in respect of premises and instruction. It is not in my power to give any such guarantee as you ask for, nor do I think it constitutionally possible for one Government in that way to control the acts of any future Government. With regard to efficiency; My Lords are not prepared to recognize any School as efficient which does not, in the matter of premises & instruction, come up to the standard hitherto required as a condition of annual Grants. This Standard has not been a high one, because, if the accommodation offered by the Managers of voluntary Schools were rejected, no means existed of securing any better provision for meeting the wants of a parish. But this is no longer the case. The duty of supplying School accommodation

is now imposed upon each locality; the Education Department is entrusted with the power of causing the duty to be performed in a suitable manner &, if voluntary agents come forward to undertake their public duty, it is not unreasonable that their performance of it should be tested by a standard, which, within the experience of the Department, has been already attained by many thousand Schools throughout the Country.

            The expense necessary to put the present School in such a state of efficiency as to meet the requirements of the Education Department would be but slight, & I was anxious, taking into consideration the nature of the District, to avoid putting the ratepayers to the expense of building a new School.

            It is not at all incompatible with a School’s being a Private School that it should also receive Government aid, provided only that it is not carried on for the emolument of the proprietor & conforms to Section 7 of the Elementary Education Act 1870.

            What I intended to be understood by my letter of the 28th of September was, that supposing the present Speke School was rendered efficient then the surplus children that could not be accommodated there might be sent to the Schools in the neighbouring Townships, but of course if the Speke School is discontinued some other arrangement must be made.

            The reason of my putting myself in communication with Mr. Hewson was that his name appears officially as the Correspondent of the School & is likewise the only name on the list of Managers

                                                                           I am, Sir,

                                                                                    Yr obedient Servant

                                                                                         T. Shute Robertson

James Sprot Esqre.

                                                            49, Bedford St. North

                                                                                    Liverpool. Oct.30/71

Dear Sir,

            Since receiving your letter of the 27th I have been in communication with the Inspector of Schools for the district on the subject of the Speke School.

            To render it efficient in the eyes of the Education Department it will be necessary to have the thatch removed & slates of tiles substituted, to have separate offices for boys & girls erected, & to have a classroom for infants thrown out at the end, & of course to have it properly supplied with desks & school furniture throughout. It would be very desirable also, I think, to have the roof raised a little as at present it is very low. It then would be capable of accommodating the children who live in the centre of the Township & those on the outskirts can be divided between Garston & Hale.

            In the event of the Speke School being given up, a new School would have to be built capable of containing all the children in the Township & the expense of such a new School would fall upon the ratepayers of the Township & the managements duty of having such a new School erected would devolve upon a School Board to be constituted.

            The question of site is met by the “Lands Clauses Consolidation Act 1845” which is incorporated in the “Elementary Education Act: 1870”.

            With regard to the question of Government Inspection, I of course think it a great advantage to a School, apart from the consideration of pecuniary gain in the way of annual grant, it keeps the teachers up to the mark & places the School through the medium of the Inspector in comparison with other Schools.

            I think it very probable that ere long Government will insist upon the right of inspecting yearly all Schools, whether public or private or receiving annual grants or not.

            As Liverpool is not in my district I am always away during the day & should be sorry to give you the trouble of coming up here without a certainty of finding me at home.

                                                            Believe me

                                                                Yours truly,

                                                                        T. Shute Robertson

Extract from letter from 25/11/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

            I have seen Mr. Hewson twice and arranged with him to advertize for a schoolmistress and he has promised his best assistance and I think we are settling down to our old work for a few months.

                                                       Nov. 1 1871

                                                                                    Garston Vicarage

My Dr. Sir,

            I recd your letter of the 27th inst on my return from Rhyl yesterday. I did not intend my letter to be offensive to you & am sorry you have taken it so, but I thought I had not been treated courteously nor kindly by you on several occasions, particularly of late in the matters connected with the Speke School.

            The Trustees of the Estate appointed me independently of my office as Manager of the School. This I have done to the best of my ability & I believe to the satisfaction of every one. A new Mistress selected by me was appointed, who succeeded in obtaining from the Inspector one of the most creditable reports I have read. Through the kindness of Mrs. Leyland & with the assistance of some of the farmer wives – as Mrs. Sutton, Mrs. Leigh & other ladies the school was progressing in the most satisfactory manner possible. While a correspondence between myself & Mr. Robertson was being carried on with every probability of arriving at a most satisfactory issue (& which I believe had the full approval of your co-Trustee) you stepped in & in the most uncourteous way disturbed all existing arrangements & was the chief means of causing our present valuable Mistress to send her resignation & totally ignored my position as Manager of the School & Clergyman of the Parish, as I said before I felt strongly on this point & (---) (---) strongly. This is quite an unknown course in this country & as a case in point I may say that our large school at Garston built solely for Garston children, (700 in number) & at a cost chiefly of the Managers themselves who are the most influential & business like Gentlemen about L’pool, every thing is done by my sanction & the whole correspondence with Inspectors and Government passes through my hands. As to the service I do not wish to enter into any further arguments since that fact of the expense connected with (---) (the Stipends of myself Jones & Brack, Mrs. Wyke (---) Banking as well as I your expressed wish to me in writing, which I have, that I should continue to act as Mr. Brack had done, all sufficient evidence that you must have approved of them to say the least. I know you have repeatedly asked concerning the attendances & in an interview with me when arranging for the new Mistress you said you could leave all matters connected with the School & service in my hands, “since I am at a distance while you are on the spot & know the peoples wishes & wants” beyond what I can bear witness to myself & should have no difficulty in substantiating my statement by the most reliable evidence. The first hint I had of your disapproval of the service was in the official letter received in Harrogate which I considered most unkind, uncalled for & unjust on your part & which greatly retarded my recovery from a severe illness which you were informed I was suffering from. With respect to the licence, I obtained it as it is usual from the Bishop so as to have every thing done legally & with his sanction. I immediately forwarded it to the office for submission to you which I should not have done so had I thought you disapproved of the service. I am indeed greatly grieved that you should express such views as to the non desirability of providing for the residents in the Township of Speke any means in public worship. You say those wishing to go to Church might easily walk, some both aged & infirm do attend at the School but even if they could walk so far we cannot possibly accommodate them at Garston even with the additional service in prospect & at Hale. Mr. Stewart has been obliged to take Mr. J. Sutton’s pew (which they have occupied for years) for his own parishioners so they have no place to attend at present but the School. Whatever I have done in Speke was in conscientious discharge of my duty to the best of my poor ability & also to please you (---) with doing so & should I be restored to health I hope to be for more action (now that I have a Curate) in discharging the duties of my office. This, Sir, is a plain statement of facts & as far as I am aware is entirely free from error

                                                            I remain
                                                             My Dr Sir
                                                                Yours truly,

                                                  J. F. Hewson

Extract from letter from 9/12/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

our advertizement has this morning produced four applications and so far as I can judge from respectable persons, they all are desirous of not being under Government inspection. When I think a sufficient number have come in I will confer with Mr. Hewson and we will endeavour to make the best selection we can.

Extract from letter from 16/12/1871 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

            We have had numerous testimonials for the appointment of a schoolmistress and I enclose two applications (X) which Mr. Hewson and myself think the most preferable. No 1 (Mrs. Christie’s) We have seen the applicant and as she refers us to the Revd. Edward Campbell whom we know here very well, I do not fancy we could do better than accept her as she appears to possess the requisite qualities. She will go over to Speke on Monday and see Miss Shepherd and obtain what information she wants and then decide. No 2 (Miss Smith’s) a very respectable looking person with good testimonials and would apparently be a desirable appointment.

            Please to let me have your opinion, if you wish I will send all the testimonials.

Extract from letter from 5/2/1872 from Geo Whitley

            I saw Mr. Hewson at Church yesterday afternoon who is as well as usual. The new Schoolmistress I believe gives satisfaction.

Extract from letter from 25/1/1873 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            The Lords of the Committee of Council on education have at last determined to take us in hand and it will be much to our annoyance. I enclose a notice from them which was sent to Mr. Hewson, it must of course be complied with & will upset all our arrangements including the discharge of our schoolmistress who is not a certificated teacher. Please to return it with your observations.

Extract from letter from 3/3/1873 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            I saw Mr. Hewson yesterday and he delivered to me the papers sent herewith. I have forwarded them to you for your perusal before answers are returned and that you may see the difficulties with which a purely country school is surrounded before the Government requisitions can be satisfied and my great fear is that when the Plans (see plan circular) and fittings for a school for 49 boys and girls and 25 infants (referred to in the first circular which you saw) are sent for inspection “My Lords” will require the old thatched school to be reconstructed particularly with regard to ventilation. Mr. Shelmerdine could not get out there either Saturday or to day the weather having again become very wet.

Extract from letter from 7/3/1873 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            I have now got from Mr. Shelmerdine a plan of the present building with measurements and can at once answer any observations from the Commissioners which I fear are still to be made as on the notice first sent, which you have seen, is written “For information only” which I did not previously observe. I send by post a copy of the rules to be observed in planning and fitting up schools but I hope they will not be held to be applicable in the present instance.

            The particulars already asked are “If the Speke school is at once made efficient by the erection of offices with separate approaches for boys and girls, the improvement of the drainage and ventilation, the provision of parallel desks benches books picture cards and maps and by the appointment of a certificated teacher and if a class room be added for the accommodation of 25 infants no further accommodation will be required”. Now My Lords cannot possibly judge the efficiency of the buildings without plans & measurements and if we are compelled to produce them it is quite clear they will not come up to the Government requirements. On second consideration, I think you will not be able to understand all the bearings of the case, I forward the plan and rules therefore for your perusal to enable you to do so.

Extract from letter from 18/3/1873 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            I return to you plan with the proposed alterations suggested by yourself and if approved of you shall have an estimate of the cost, then arises the question are we bound to submit our plans, previous to the alterations being made, to the Committee of Council on education because if such be the case as their rules apply “to alterations in the internal fittings of an existing school room” our plans will be thrown over board and the money spent on the school lost. Will you give this matter your consideration and let me hear from you?

            Mr. Pearson was over at the church last week but I only saw him for a few minutes.

            Lunt has finished the alteration of the spouts at Rob. Edwards’s but has postponed the repairs of the house for the present owing to the severe and wet weather as the walls are so damp that the plaster would not dry. He is going on with the repairs at James Stockton’s opposite the Church and I am looking out for gate posts which were to be furnished by the estate.

Speke School

            I shall have the opportunity tomorrow of seeing Mr. Hewson and will consult him on this subject, and will also observe what you say about the Church.

            Mr. Shelmerdine tells me the proposed absence of Mr. Roberts will be of no consequence and the estimates will be gone on with as a matter of course and that in fact their bricks cannot be ready before the beginning of May.

Speke School

            I shall have the opportunity tomorrow of seeing Mr. Hewson and will consult him on this subject, and will also observe what you say about the Church.

            Mr. Shelmerdine tells me the proposed absence of Mr. Roberts will be of no consequence and the estimates will be gone on with as a matter of course and that in fact their bricks cannot be ready before the beginning of May.


Extract from letter 2/4/1873 from Geo Whitley

Speke school

            I have this morning had a long interview with Mr. Hewson & Mr. Shelmerdine on this subject and upon a rough calculation Mr. S thinks that the proposed alterations according to the plan, which you have seen, could not be made under £100 and that new schools erected under the authority of The Committee of Council on Education would probably cost about £300.

            It was suggested that I should write to the Secretary and state that the owners of the Speke school were willing to comply with the suggestions contained under the head of “Particulars in their Lordships’ notice” which you have seen but probably may not recollect & therefore send a copy and ask whether we might without further communication commence the proposed works and say nothing about a plan until it is asked for which we think however is sure to be the case and which they will most probably reject. I did not like to go to the expense of a detailed estimate without your approbation and shall be glad to know your views.

                                                                        I am Dear Sir
                                                                       Yrs faithfully
                                                                          Geo. Whitley

Schedule 2. If the Speke school is at once made efficient by the erection of offices with separate approaches for boys and girls the improvement of the drainage & ventilation, the provision of parallel desks, benches, books, picture cards and maps and, by the appointment of a certificated teacher, and if a class room be added for the accommodation of 25 infants no further accommodation will be required.

                        Amount & description of accommodation required A school for 49 boys and girls and 25 infants

Extract from letter from 14/3/1874 from Geo Whitley

The school

            I have had a long conversation with Mr. Hewson on the subject of the letter a copy of which I enclose. He has asked me to send it for your perusal and advice. It is quite clear action must now be taken on behalf of the owner of the Speke estate. He has requested me to go over to Garston & has promised to shew me schools recently erected near his house by a lady to hold from 80 to 100 children at a cost of only about £200, and kept up at her own expense, subject only to the supervision of a Government Commissioner who if he reports favorably a capitation fee will be granted and we shall be quit of the meddling of a local board. The building of a new school will however I fear be insisted on.

                                                            Education Department

                                                                                    Whitehall, London S W

                                                                                                11th March 1874

Speke – E A N Lancs.

Revd. Sir,

            I am directed to request that you will within a fortnight from this date inform this Department whether any & if so what steps have been taken to make the alterations & improvements at the Speke School require by their Lordships’ notice numbered 4397 a copy of which was enclosed to you on the 20th December 1873.

            I am to point out that should it be found necessary to publish a final notice in this district my Lords cannot after the issue of such final notice accept as efficient any school which is not a Public Elementary School fulfilling all the requirements of section 7 of the Elementary Education Act 1870

                                                            I have the honor to be Revd. Sir

                                                                        Your Obedient Servant

                                                                                    P. Cumin

To. The Revd. J. F. Hewson

Extract from letter from 9/5/1874 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            I enclose a cutting from one of the Liverpool papers dated 22nd April last which I did not see till yesterday which probably the Sec. to the Board may have called your attention to, the expiration of the notice will expire on the 22nd October next.

Education Department

                                                                              Whitehall London SW

                                                                                                8th June 1874


E A N (3610) Lancaster


            I have the honour to acknowledge the rect. of your letter of the 22nd Ult.

            The arrangements shewn by the revised plan on tracing cloth enclosed herewith is generally satisfactory but it would be better if the wall of the new Infants room were made of the thickness of one brick & a half.

            My Lords do not see how it will be possible to retain the present position of the fireplace in the principal Schoolroom without interfering with the proper arrangements of the desks & benches along one side of the School room (which is already broken by a door) and thus reducing the accommodation of the room. If the position of the fireplace now shewn on the revised plan at “B” is thought to be seriously objectionable it would perhaps be possible to shift the position of the fire place at “A” nearer the doors so as to leave a space of about 9 feet between the side wall of the School room & the front of the fire & thus allow the groups of desks and benches to be extended up to the end wall.

            The original plan is likewise enclosed herewith

                                                            I have the honour to be


                                                                        Your Obedient Servant

                                                                                    P. Cummins

Extract from letter from 10/6/1874 from Geo Whitley

Speke School

            I also enclose copy letter from the Secretary and have got Mr. Joynson to amend the plan and have returned it to the Board.

It is rather amusing to read what they say about the Infants school as there is not a single scholar the distance from Oglet being a bar to the attendance of children of such tender ages of 3 but we had better not notice it.

Extract from letter from 23/6/1874 from Geo Whitley

The School

            Was to have broken up next Thursday but I recommended them last Sunday to close it at once as Mrs. Christie’s little girl has an attack of Scarlet fever.

Extract from letter from 28/7/1874 from Geo Whitley

Speke schools

            Annexed I send you copy letter from “My Lords”. We have a treat for the school children on Thursday next which was deferred at the holidays in consequence of the sickness and I will enquire from the

Schoolmistress whether she has prepared herself for the situation as pointed out by the Secretary.



                                                                        Education Department

                                                                                    Whitehall, London SW

                                                                                                27th July 1874


                        E A N              3610               Lancaster


            I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th instant.

            The revised plan for the enlargement and improvement of the Speke School is now quite satisfactory. If on the expiration of the time limited by the final notice my Lords are satisfied that these alterations are actually in course of being carried out with due dispatch & that the School will be placed under a certified Teacher so that it may be recognized as a Public Elementary School my Lords will be released from the necessity of taking any further action upon the notice. If the present Teacher were prepared to sit for a certificate with the view of rendering the School a Public Elementary School the above conditions might in this way be fulfilled & the first step would be to complete and return to this office one of the forms of Preliminary Statement which were sent to the Revd. J. F. Hewson in September last.

                                                                                    I have the honour to be

                                                                        Sir, Your obedient Servant

                                                                                                P. Cumin

Extract from letter from 28/8/1874 from Geo Whitley

The School

            I have had a letter from the Sec: who says “Mrs. Christie’s service is not sufficient to satisfy article 59.1.c”, she however fancies she has still a loop hole.

Extract from letter from 28/9/1874 from Geo Whitley

Speke School 

            Mr. Joynson is gone over to Speke to day & will revise Lunt’s estimate and you shall have his report, he will also see that all is going right at Speke road cottages.

Schoolmistress Speke

            has had an offer for a better situation in Buckinghamshire and I have told her if she is successful in her application she may leave on the first of October next as the school will then be closed for repairs.

Extract from letter from 29/9/1874 from Geo Whitley

The schools

            The alterations have been commenced and we have been obliged to suspend the Sunday services there for a few weeks. It has happened very opportunely as Mrs. Christie leaves us on Thursday next and we shall have time to look out for another schoolmistress. I have not seen Mr. Hewson for the last two Sundays to consult him on the subject indeed I do not know whether you wish me to do so. I this morning received an application from our former schoolmistress (Miss Shepherd) and shall be glad to have your opinion on it. She holds a Certificate, I enclose a copy of her application.


                                                                        Nr. Shipton on Stour

                                                                                    Sep. 26th 1874

G. Whitley Esqre.


                        Having heard that you are likely to want a Schoolmistress for Speke School I beg leave to offer myself as an applicant for the vacancy. Should I again be appointed it will be my earnest endeavour to give you satisfaction.

            References can be made to Revd. W. Finch, Burnington Parsonage, Nr. Shipton on Stour.

            I should be glad of an answer at your earliest convenience.

                                                                        I remain Sir,

                                                                                    Very respectfully

                                                                                                S. A. Shepherd

Extract from letter from 10/10/1874 from Geo Whitley

Speke Schools

            I have written to Miss Shepherd & also to the Clergyman of the District in which she is now employed for a recommendation. Mrs. Sutton speaks highly of her abilities and says as far

as she knows she was popular both with the Parents and children, but she much wished that Mr. Hewson should be consulted. The schools are of course closed at present.

Extract from letter from 26/10/1874 from Geo Whitley

The schools

            I have had a very satisfactory answer from the Clergyman under whose control Miss Shepherd now is as to character and abilities but there is some difficulty as to the time of the vacating her present situation which I will endeavour to arrange if you agree to engage her.

I have heard of the death of Mr. William Watt, did he make

a Will and who is the next in the entail? I beg to offer my condolence on the occasion

Extract from letter from 17/11/1874 from Geo Whitley


            I have had the Government inspector down here and he will call again this week and I have promised to send Mr. Joynson over with him to enable him to report progress, he was very civil & does not appear inclined to give unnecessary trouble, he alluded to the thatching and I stated it was intended to entirely renovate it, he asked if you intended to put the school under Government inspection & so be enabled to receive the annual Government grant. Our time for making the alterations has expired.

Extract from letter from 26/6/1875 from Geo Whitley

The School

We had a most glorious day on Thursday last & the treat to the youngsters, numbering 93 passed off very well, & there was much enjoyment amongst them. Mr. & Mrs. Hewson, their daughter and Miss Leyland were present. I will give directions to Miss Shepherd to make out a list if all the interior fittings required and submit it, together with the prices, to you.