Tag Archives: photograph

Shakespeare

Saturday 23rd April 2016 is the 400th anniversary since Shakespeare’s death.

100 years ago the school celebrated the Tercentenary Year. The July 1916 edition of Bootham magazine mentions that during the fourth week of May the school marked the event.  A holiday was given on 23rd. On 24th, Mrs Liddiard gave recitations from Shakespeare in the Library. On June 1st Mr Paton, High Master of the Manchester Grammar School, gave a lecture on “Shakespeare’s Boys”.

A Winters Tale 1936

A Winter’s Tale, 1936

Since then the school has performed a number of Shakespeare’s plays. The earliest recorded performance is scenes from A Winter’s Tale in 1936, which was performed on the grass in the school grounds. Over the years plays such as Richard II, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet followed. Most recently, a production of A Winter’s Tale in 2014 included live sheep!

Romeo and Juliet photo 1973 lr

Romeo and Juliet, 1973

Parents’ Day, handwriting and the school in 1919

Last Saturday was Parents’ Day, a lovely day with lots going on and good weather!

I created a display in the John Bright library, with a small sample of what we hold in the archives. A few highlights included:

Specimen of writing Joseph Rowntree 1848 - Copy

An example of handwriting from Joseph Rowntree, 1848

P1050113 - Copy

A photograph of the John Bright Library from the 1919 prospectus

P1050120 - Copy

A photograph of the metal workshop, again from the 1919 prospectus

Postcards of Bootham School and York

A Bootham Old Scholar, Giles Cookson (1993-2000), has created a website to make available online his collection of over 2000 postcards. Many of them are of York, and there are a number of Bootham School. The website is www.thecardindex.com where you can search for postcards and also add comments.

Below are some examples from the website. Visit the website and search for Bootham School to see lots more.

Postcard front: Bootham School, York  The Dining Room

The Dining Room, 1908

Postcard front: Bootham School, York The Gymnasium

The Gymnasium, 1908

Catalogue update

Back in April I mentioned that I was looking at new software for a catalogue. I’m hoping that the catalogue will be online for people to have a look at by the end of the year. I’ve now spent a few months adding to it, and at the moment I’m working on all the societies and other activities.

An archive is arranged hierarchically, so that the context is kept. I’m working on ‘series-level’ entries for the whole archive (a series is a group of records, within a larger group, that all relate to the same purpose, for example we’ve got a series of Natural History Society annual reports). After that, we’ll be working on adding more detail for specific parts of the archive where this is likely to be most useful, although that is a long term project!

What is exciting is that it will be much easier to search the new catalogue, and explore it using all the connections to people, events, places, other records and so on. We can also add digital images of the records to the catalogue, so we can gradually increase what people can access online.

Watch this space!

Gymnastics display 1920 - Copy

A photograph of a gymnastics display from 1920 that I came across last week while I was working on the sports records.

John Firth Fryer 1840-1914

John Firth Fryer

Today (28th February) marks the 100th anniversary of the death of John Firth Fryer, Bootham’s headmaster between 1875 and 1899. He started as a pupil at the school in 1854, and apart from a year at the Flounders Institute at Ackworth training to become a teacher, he remained at the school until his retirement in 1899. During his headship, he oversaw changes including teaching becoming departmentalised, permission being granted by the committee for the hire of a piano for practice during leisure time (which rapidly became the purchase of two pianos, hymn singing on Sunday evenings and the introduction of concerts), and the end of earlier customs such as no plates at breakfast or tea. Unfortunately his headship finished with the fire in 1899 which destroyed much of the school.

He seems to have been a keen footballer for a while, according to his obituary (in ‘Bootham’ magazine, May 1914): “When, however, the game [football] was sanctioned and John Ford himself gave the initial kick…in September 1862, no one proved a more enthusiastic player than J. F. Fryer, until an unlucky kick under the knee temporarily incapacitated him and made it undesirable for him to keep it on.”

His poem about football, ‘A Lay of Modern York’ was reprinted with his obituary in 1914, and its ending is particularly poignant considering what would follow later in 1914. Here are the last two verses:

“Thus onward speeds the conflict,

With various fortune blest;

First one side – then the other –

The poor ball gets no rest!

First to left and then to right,

Now here, now there, the ball is sped.

Anon one side the victory sees

An then its hopes are all but fled.

In short, so various is the scene

In this so happy, playful strife

As not remiss to represent

The strange vicissitudes of life.

 

Would that all strife as harmless were as this,

Would that all sanguinary war would cease,

All kingdoms of the happy earth rejoice

Beneath the reign of universal Peace.

The man of war his sword to ploughshare beat,

His deadly spear to pruning hook would turn;

Nations in battle fierce no more would meet,

No more with rage against each other burn;

And thus no longer war, but Peace delight to learn.”

J. F. Fryer

4th November 1862, 20, Bootham, York

James Backhouse and West Bank Park

It’s really good to hear about the West Bank Park Heritage Project (http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/NEWS/11029965.Heritage_centre_and_community_cafe_plan_for_York_park/?ref=rss), particularly as the Backhouse family had Bootham connections. The James Backhouse who first set up the nursery sent his son, also called James Backhouse, to York Friends Boys School in Lawrence Street between 1834 and 1841 (the school in Lawrence Street moved to Bootham in 1846, and later became known as Bootham School). The younger James Backhouse sent his sons, James and William, to Bootham (James between 1874 and 1878, and William between 1876 and 1880).

James Backhouse

 

Photograph: James Backhouse, born 1825, at York Friends Boys School 1834-41.

 

The youngest James Backhouse (grandson of the first James Backhouse) wrote an obituary for his father, James Backhouse (son of the first James Backhouse) in ‘Bootham’ magazine in May 1903, and it talks about everything from York’s first station to an underground cavern! Here are some extracts…

“On the introduction of a railway into York in 1839 the business premises were transferred to Fishergate, and later still to their present position at Holgate, one mile away. The original Passenger Station building, which may be spoken of as little more than a wooden shed, outside the City walls, was, in a very brief time rebuilt within the walls upon the old garden site. This new erection, when in the course of time a further new and enlarged station was required, became the North Eastern Railway offices. It is said that when the first station was opened, one porter attended to all the luggage and issued all the tickets. Today about 450 officials and porters are required to cope with the traffic of the seven different railway companies which run their trains to York.”

“About 1859 the careful observations made during his previous botanical excursions bore fruit in another way. He constructed in the Nurseries his well-known imitation Mountain Tarn and surrounding crags, on purpose to shew how Alpine plants might be artificially cultivated. His success in the cultivation of these plants was largely due to a scientific knowledge of soil requirements and other local conditions necessary to the growth of each species. As pioneer of a new departure in Horticulture the fame of his work soon spread, and hundreds visited York to witness the novel sight of this Alpine model, correct in every detail, and no mere accumulation of material.”

“Another monument to his memory at York Nurseries is an underground cavern, so arranged and artificially lighted that filmy ferns, which are by no means easy subjects to deal with, flourish there in great perfection; though denizens of various parts of the globe.”

Good luck to the West Bank Park Heritage Project!

  1. James Backhouse’s obituary is contained in ‘Bootham’ magazine, Vol I, p280-284.
  2. The photograph is taken from an album presented in Silvanus Thompson in 1874, held in Bootham School Archives.

Centenary of Physics Opening

The physics laboratory at Bootham is 100 years old this week, if you go by the official opening date. It was opened on 27th January 1914 by Professor Silvanus Thompson, a well-known physicist who went to Bootham between 1858 and 1867, and was science master between 1870 and 1875 – look for the blue plaque on Bootham. According to the account in ‘Bootham’ magazine (Vol VI, March 1914), when the building was declared open, it was “received with loud and prolonged cheering by the pupils.”

Physics opening 1Physics opening 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silvanus Thompson went on to make a speech on ‘The Place of Science Teaching in Schools’ which was reported in ‘Bootham’. With all the debate about curriculums now, it’s interesting to see a perspective on what should be taught, and why, from a hundred years ago.

Here are some of his points about what should be included in the curriculum:

  • “Chemistry, because a little knowledge of it would save them from many absurdities of thought.
  • An intelligent understanding of the principles on which machinery was constructed and on which it operated. He had no doubt that a considerable percentage of the boys in Bootham School would in the future, as they had done in the past, enter into industrial life where machinery was used.
  • A fair grounding in physics, which dealt in detail with the properties of matter. There was a vast difference between the lives of the people in the age before steam engines and steam boats were introduced.
  • Astronomy…would give them a sense of the proportion of things.
  • Geology was a thing they might study with great advantage, without going outside their own country.
  • A study of human physiology might not solve the problems of life, but it was useful so far as the great laws of health were concerned.
  • By a careful study of the sciences they got training in measurement and accuracy which could not be got in any other way.
  • Classification and verification were necessary in everything, and science would teach them that.
  • As well as science, they should learn history – he did not mean the learning of dates, and the accounts of battles of great generals and admirals. There had been too much of the beating of the big drum in the past. What he meant by history was a true account of the progress of the human race.
  • In addition they could not separate history from economics, for economics was the experience of the past classification.
  • It was also necessary to learn geography.
  • Mathematics must not be overlooked.
  • With regard to languages, they should above all learn some language which was not too closely akin to their own, and he believed educationally the best language to learn would be Greek.
  • In conclusion, the speaker said they should in addition to all those things he had enumerated cultivate their hobbies, for they were well worth cultivating.”