Teachers and Clergy
[ SHELTON BRITISH SCHOOL for Boys ]
SHELTON BRITISH SCHOOL for Girls ]
[ HANLEY and SHELTON NATIONAL SCHOOL ]
[ Rev. R. E. Aitkens, incumbent of Hanley ]
EVIDENCE TAKEN IN THE STAFFORDSHIRE POTTERIES
By SAMUEL SCRIVEN, Esq.
SHELTON BRITISH SCHOOL for Boys. (Day-school)
Joseph Lundy, aged 23
am master of this school; have been appointed one year. It is supported by
donations and voluntary subscriptions; I do not know that there is any
We have 180 on the books; about 100 attend daily; the absence
of the rest is occasioned by the poverty of the parents who are unable to
provide them with clothing : know many of the parents, and cannot
attribute the absence of the boys to any other motive than that which I
have already stated.
I receive £60 per annum as salary; the boys contribute towards the
amount by payments of 2d. per week; most of them pay up well; there are a
few that are in arrear, resulting likewise from the parents' poverty.
of these boys work in the factories : their respective ages vary from 6 to
13, not many are so old as 13, not above two; they are taken from school
between the ages of from 9 to 12, and apprenticed to the works.
attend here five days in the week, and six hours every day ; in winter
only five hours. They, are taught reading (chiefly Scriptural), writing,
arithmetic, geography, English history, spelling, and grammar; if they
remain any time they make great proficiency; they are surprisingly clean
in their persons, and well- conducted and respectful m their manners. We
have no religious worship during school- time, but every week we have a
lecture, delivered by one or other of the dissenting ministers, on
subjects of a moral and religious character. Instruction is given by no
others but the ministers and myself.
We have no industrial schools in the parish that I am aware of. Have
received a training in the central school in London for a teacher, and
upon the same principle as that which is taught here.
Have not had sufficient experience to be enabled to judge whether there is
any difference in the characters and habits of the boys who have been
educated here, and now at work, and between others. The children appear to
be well fed, healthy, and well clothed."
December 2nd. (Signed) JOSEPH LUNDY.
This establishment is situated in a high and
healthy part of the town, and is in external appearance a noble-looking building; its internal arrangements are good, as being lofty, spacious, well ventilated
and cleanly, capable of holding at least three times the number that meet daily.
The master a well-informed and intelligent man. Inspected children same time,
and found them as above described.
SHELTON BRITISH SCHOOL for Girls. (Day-school)
Sarah Bereft, aged 25
am mistress of the British girls school; I have been appointed nearly two
years. We have 108 on the books; out of these about 84, on the average,
attend daily : the absence of the rest I attribute to the trade of the
potteries being so bad, and in some instances to the mothers, who keep the
children at home to do the household work in their absence.
The institution is supported by voluntary subscriptions and donations, not
by endowment. Some of the children pay 2d. per week each; some come by
the recommendation of the subscribers for nothing. I receive a salary of
£40. per annum from the committee; if I had more children than 100 I
should receive a difference in pay, but that has never been the case.
I was named for the duties of a teacher in the Borough-road school, called
the Central School, and teach here upon the same principle as there. The
books used are the Bible and Testament; we have no others. I teach orally;
the instruction given in this way is in grammar, geography, spelling and
arithmetic; arithmetic ; and practically teach the girls needlework and
They are not very regular in their attendance, but show a desire to learn;
their time however, is often cut short by their being called away to work
at the factories at a very early age. The youngest child present is 3
years, the oldest 12; at present there are two of 12 years, 16 of 10
years, 13 of 9 years, and 16 of 8 years; all the rest are still younger:
they are mostly clean, well conducted, and respectful : they attend five
days in the week, from nine till four in the winter, and to five in the
summer, with two hours between for meals and play.
We have no devotional
exercises during school-time, but have lectures delivered by the different
dissenting ministers once a week, on moral and religious duties.
Have not had sufficient experience to be enabled to form a correct opinion
as to the comparative difference in the moral habits of those who have
left the school any time and gone to work, and those at present under
(Signed) SARAH BEREFT
This school-room is over the boys, and the same
remarks will apply. The mistress appear to be very capable of imparting
instruction. Inspected children some time, and found them well dressed, cleanly,
and under very good discipline.
HANLEY and SHELTON NATIONAL SCHOOL, Boys established 1816
have been master of this establishment 13 years. It is supported by
subscriptions, donations, and voluntary contributions; there is an
endowment subject to circumstances, or more properly a benefaction. During
my time I have trained many teachers for other schools ; was trained
myself at the Central School at Sheffield, where I obtained a certificate
The Madras system, as founded by Dr. Bell, is followed here, which I
believe to be the best for the working classes (if not departed from as is
too common in the present day) that could be devised.
consists in reading, writing, and spelling, from religious books, such,
for example, as Mrs. Trimmer's on the Old and New Testament, parables,
miracles, and discourses of our Saviour, with other works published by the
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Arithmetic is also taught but neither history or geography, simply because
I believe the time allowed to children in their class of life is not
sufficient to give them anything more than a smattering or very
superficial knowledge of such subjects; the elder boys themselves being
trained by the master to assist; the great object being that 300 or 400
should be taught as easily as three or four. I receive a salary of £70
per annum, which is independent of payments made by the boys of 2d. per
week per head; this provides for the current expenses of the school.
Prayers are always read by the master, or head monitor, on the opening and
closing of the duties of the day. All the boys are conducted to the parish
church on Sunday mornings; there being no service in the afternoon, the
boys again assemble at two o'clock, when prayers from the Liturgy and
religious readings are performed by the clergyman or the master; the
former takes on these occasions an active part. Children are admitted at
the age of 5, and continue as late as 12; it rarely happens that they
remain to this age, as they are taken early to work in the factories.
Generally speaking they have a desire to acquire knowledge; the parents
also show a disposition to advance their education in most eases, when
poverty does not throw an obstacle in their way. Have about 120 on the
December 5th. (Signed) EDWARD CHELL.
This institution is well situated and is a
spacious, airy, and well-ventilated building, capable of containing three times
the number in daily attendance.
No. 119. LETTER from the Rev. R. E. Aitkens, incumbent of Hanley :-
"To the inquiries which you have been
pleased to submit to me respecting the moral condition of the children
employed in the manufactories in this place, I cannot give any additional
evidence to that which you have received from the worthy master of the
National School, which you read in my presence before him, and which with
some slight alterations, in which he concurred, I confirmed viva voce.
I am not sure whether it was expressed in your notes that the school is
under the superintendence of the incumbent of Hanley.
Respecting the two subjects of inquiry (at
the bottom of p.10 and the top of p.11) to which, by your marginal mark,
you have directed my especial attention, I beg to offer the following
observations, which are the result of considerable experience.
I have almost invariably found that the
habits invariably acquired by women, rendering them more or less fit to
perform their duties as wives and mothers, depend infinitely less on the
occupations by which they procure their maintenance, than in their
domestic training by the instructions and examples of their mothers. Let
the mother be industrious, notable, decorous, and devout, and generally
you will find her daughters of the same character, whether they continue
to reside at home and earn their livelihood by the use of the needle, or
whether they are employed in the manufactories. I have uniformly found the
case in this rank of life similar to the oft-debated and endless question
of the respective advantages of public or private schools among the higher
and middle classes of society. In both cases the eventual moral habits of
individuals will depend more on the dispositions which they bring from
home than what they acquire in the school or manufactory."