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TABLE showing the Aars of the CHILDREN in 27 Boys' Schools and 20 GIRLS' SCHOOLS.
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8.67 to 9.67
9.82 to 10.82
9.5 to 10.5
9.1 to 10-11 37
Bilston Lectures.—Letter from Rev. J. B. Owen. MY DEAR Sir,
Bilston, January 30, 1847,
You will perceive by the two schemes enclosed what have been and are the subjects of the lectures for the current season.
The attendance has varied, throughout the third year, from 300 to 700, never less than the former, oftener nearer the latter, and frequently exceeding it.
The class of persons includes all the orders among us, a particular place being reserved for the upper classes, and more respectable tradesmen of the town; but much more than two-thirds of the whole attendants are frum the artisans and colliers,
One shilling secures a season ticket of admission to all the lectures, and this is also transferable, though not saleable; the men value what they pay for, and having paid for it, attend or lend it, to get the full amount of their purchase.
The course, including travelling expenses of the lecturers, chemicals, apparatus, gas, attendants, &c., costs about 401. for the six months of the winter, during every Tuesday evening of which (and not in the summer months) it is carried on. The lectures are all gratuitous, except the lecturer's travelling expenses.
That the effort has attracted the interest of the labouring class is evident, not only from their large and continued attendance, but from the individual exertions made by a few of them to contribute to their interest, such as the following: one man, a collier, brought a perfect wooden chain, cut entire with a pocket-knife, out of a broomstick; another brought a book of 75 leaves of iron rolled as thin nearly as paper,—he was a furnace man; a third brought a handsome imitation of binding for the book, in japanning, one of the staple trades of the town; a fourth (a joiner) offered to construct a parabolic sounding board behind the lecture platform,,he is now engaged in it on a plan of his own; a fifth, a young man of more respectable parents, has invented a singularly ingenious self-acting almanac, producing the days of the month, notwithstanding the irregularity of their numbers, by an intersected wheel of curious and elaborate workmanship. Diagrams innumerable, to illustrate geographical, architectural subjects, and natural history, and other subjects, have been neatly executed by the apprentices, clerks, and better educated young men of the town; and books recommended by the lecturers have in many instances been found in the hands of the humbler and higher classes of our little community.
We have expended our grant in mechanical apparatus, a monster globe, lantern and microscopic and other lucernal views, which relieve occasionally a dry lecture; objects for the infant-school, and other educational instruments, together with maps, all of which we find very useful. If we could afford another 201. we should be able to carry out our wishes more fully.
Having lectured in all the towns in this neighbourhood where similar efforts have been made, and where they have not so fully succeeded, and in some instances where they have not told upon the humblest classes, I should be disposed to state as my experience, 1st. That these lectures should never begin earlier than October nor continue later than the middle of March, otherwise the novelty ceases, and the attraction of the little garden, or the summer evening's stroll, will eclipse the lectureroom; and perhaps the poor mechanic is better in the open air during the few months that a little extra day-light beyond his pent-up hours of labour offer him a brief vacation.
2nd. The price of admission should be neither large nor recurring ; a shilling at the outset of the season they can afford; it secures their attendance from the first, and the repetition of the visits is not discouraged by their having to pay on each occasion.
3rd. The local clergy should not lecture too often themselves, the variety of strangers contributing to keep up the interest ; and the occasional addition of dissolving views, or choral singing with music, at the close of lectures on less popular subjects, is useful as a means of attraction to such parts of the course.
4th. Inviting the respectable laymen of the place to preside at the lecture, and engaging the co-operation of a considerable eommittce of laymen, serves to divest the effort of a merely professional character.
5th. The executive should still be retained in the hands of the local clergyman, in the office of secretary.
6th. An annual visit to the Polytechnic in town, to pick up some useful hints of subjects, instructive or entertaining, for your own course, I have found useful.
I am, &c., Rev. H. Moseley.
J. B. Owen.
Bilston Lectures, delivered in St. Mary's National School.
List for 1847. Tuesday, 5th January.- Prison Discipline, in its Moral and Judicial Bearings. By D. R. HILL, Esq., Architect, of Birmingham.
Tuesday, 12th January.—The Wonders of Geology. By W. A. LEWIS, Esq., B. A. and F. G. S., of Wolverhampton. Illustrated by Diagrams, and accompanied with remarks on the explosive properties of Gun Cotton, as applied to blasting purposes,
Tuesday, 19th January.-- On Chemical Attraction (with Experiments). By T. L. Hill, Esq., Surgeon, of Birmingham.
Tuesday, 26th January.—The Conquest of Mexico, (by Cortes.) By the Rev. J. W. Grier, of Stourbridge.
Tuesday, 2nd February.-On the Crusades. By the Rev. J. C. BARRETT, M. A., of Birmingham.
Tuesday, 9th February.—The Genius and Perseverance of Great Men Overcoming Difficulties, resumed. By the Rev. W. A. NEWMAN, of Wolverhampton.
Tuesday, 16th February.—No lecture, the night being reserved for the convenience of the Society.
Tuesday, 23rd February.— The Progress of Social Changes. By the Rev. J. B. Pugh, Head Master of the Grammar School, Walsall.
Tuesday, 2nd March.-Shakspeare's Illustrations of English History, Time of King John, and the Magna Charta. By the Rev. J. B. Owen, of Bilston.
Tuesday, 9th March.—A General View of Phrenology, Illustrated by Busts (the Animal Properties), concluded. By W. R. Lowe, Esq., of Wolverhampton.
Tuesday, 16th March.-Origin and Progress of Chemical Science (with Experiments). By H. HIGHWAY, Esq., of Walsall.
Tuesday, 23rd March.-The Life and Writings of Mrs. Hemans. By W. Howell, Esq., of Birmingham.
This will be the last of the series for the present session, furnishing in all 23 lectures for the subscription. The Committee have had much satisfaction in observing the continued interest in these lectures exhibited by the large and attentive audiences throughout the past season.
N.B. The following note was appended to the announcement of the first series of lectures :
“ The Rev. J. B. Owen, in announcing the accompanying series of lectures to the inhabitants of Bilston, begs to state that they are an experiment which will, or will not, be repeated another season, according as the present succeeds.
“No formal organization of a society will be attempted, until the reception of the present series shall have determined its expediency: if a general want of interest in the effort should cause its failure, upon the projector alone the regret will fall; if, on the other hand, it should succeed, the management will be willingly submitted to the disposal of others.
“ It is hoped that the opportunity of employing one evening in the week during the long nights of winter, on the interesting and instructive subjects annexed, will be generally embraced.
"As the lectures will not commence until half-past seven o'clock each evening, and usually close at nine, the respectable tradesmen of the town will probably be enabled to allow the attendance of their apprentices and assistants.
“ Persons subscribing one shilling only will have a free and transferable ticket of admission to all the lectures of the season, and an additional ticket for gratuitous distribution for every additional shilling subscribed ; any instance of receiving any pecuniary or other consideration for such admissions entailing the forfeiture of the privilege for the series.
“ Subscribers of half-a-guinea and upwards to be considered members.
“ There will be no admission without a ticket, but tickets may be obtained gratuitously from the subscribers, whose names will be learned at
Report upon the W- Parochial Schools. The following Report is addressed to the Secretary of National Schools of a parish having a population of about 8000 persons, of whom 600 form the out-lying population of a separate ecclesiastical district. The schools are seven in number, and are situated in four different localities; two of them are detached infant-schools; a boys' school, and a girls' school are connected with the mother church, and a boys' school, a girls' school, and an infant-school, with the district church.
All are supported from the same funds, administered by the same committee. The voluntary contributions for their maintenance amount annually to 2981., and they have an endowment of 521. I have thought the history of these schools worthy to be recorded as an example, that something more is wanting than liberal pecuniary support, and numerous schools, to provide for the educational destitution of a parish. My Dear Sir,
I FIND, by reference to the Reports of the W- schools, from 1833 to 1845 inclusive, that during that period of 12 years the expenditure has exceeded the current income by a sum little short of 501. a-year, there having been laid out during that time, over and above the current income, a sum arising from the sale of funded stock, and from legacies, amounting (including the balance due in 1845 to the treasurer) to 5881.
Hence it appears that if the income during the next 12 years be no more than it has been during the last, and if the expenditure remain the same, the Committee must calculate upon an annual deficiency in the funds of from 451. to 501.
Looking into the items of this expenditure, there is one which strikes me as very reinarkable, it is the cost of repairs for the Love Lane schools. I have made a rough calculation of the amount of these for the last 20 years. In some few cases I have found it difficult to separate the charges under this head from others in the accounts; I believe, however, that from 8001. to 9001. have been expended during that time upon the fabric and fittings of the buildings. These buildings are, moreover, now in a state of great dilapidation, so that a considerable expenditure must forth with be made to sustain them.
If the schools are to attain that efficiency which other schools all round are now attaining, besides repairs, there must be substantial alterations made also in the structure, and additions to the fittings and apparatus. The boys' school-room is far too large for the number of children at present assembled in it; it is not adapted to the methods of teaching now most approved, and it is troubled with an echo which cannot but be prejudicial to the health of the master, and all but fatal to the efficiency of the teaching.
It would require to be divided, and (being so cold in winter as to deter the children from coming to school, and very hot in summer) to