Term restarts, and the school decides to support a Belgian family

Term restarted on Tuesday September 29th 1914, rather than the planned date of September 17th.

At the beginning of the term it was decided that the School should “keep” a Belgian family. After a committee had been elected, a house was provided at New Earswick, which was furnished by the Furnishing Committee. Each boy was to give as much as he thought he should, to be paid weekly or in a lump sum.

1914 Register – temperance and building a camera

Thanks again to Claire for researching this post.

It has to be said that reading personal accounts from Old Scholars has been a pure delight. Some accounts of time spent here were heart-warming, some thought provoking, some showing the variety of skills and experiences learnt from and some truly hilarious. We have captured some of those for you here – as we work through the Register there will be many more stories to tell!

Charles Heber Dymond (Bootham 1903-06)

“I worked ‘til about 21 years old in N.E.R. Locomotive shops at Gateshead and Darlington in the drawing offices of my fathers firm Vaughn & Dymond. I went out to San Paulo, Brazil as Assistant Manager to Anglo-Brazilian Forging, Steel Structural & Imparting Co. In 1912 I returned to the office at Vaughn & Dymond. Hobbies: Locomotive model building, cycling, tennis and motoring.

Alfred Russell Ecroyd (Bootham 1856-60)

In 1909 introduced the idea of total abstinence for the individual and prohibition for the State into Spain by distribution of some 60,000 temperance pamphlets by post and by hand throughout all the 49 provinces of Spain. All the 15,000 Doctors of Spain received one or more of these tracts in 1909, resulting in a revolution of medical practice in Madrid, Barcelona and other places where previously it was the fashion to order wine for nearly every ailment, to a general custom of ordering their patients to abstain, at all events during medical treatment. In one town this change reduced the mortality in 1909 to one-half of any previous year from 28 per 1000 to 14.5. In 1910, founder and first Editor of “El Absetmio” a quarterly temperance newspaper 40,000 copies of which are annually distributed gratuitously throughout Spain by the Spanish Anti-alcohol League, which he founded in 1911: In 1904-1906 in conjunction with the Wisbech Peace Society – the translation and distribution of 10,000 Peace tracts throughout all the provinces of Spain: Hobbies – National History, especially entomology, genealogy, meteorology, drawing and painting.

Walter Henry Fox (Bootham 1868-69)

[I feel his wife should firstly be given special mention for – Children: Frederick Neidhart (1881), Marie (1882), Elsie Henrietta (1883), Gertrude Emma (1885), Walter Egbert (1886), Dorothy Isabel (1887), Howard Neidhart (1888), Margaret Newsom (1890), John Prideau (1893), Amy Gertrude (1895), Helen Sophie (1897).] Walter has recollections of games, pranks, etc., such as heating old coppers and throwing them from the bedroom window to the old watchman: sticking pins in Junior Master’s alarm clock so that he overslept himself: Grateful recollection of special trouble taken by Fielden Thorp in his writing and reading.

Alexander Grace (Bootham 1853-54)

Together with William S Clark built a camera which was the first introduction of photography as a hobby in school : He says “The only time we were allowed off the premises (unless we had special leave to go into town) was Wednesday morning once a month, when we had a half-holiday walk, under care of the teachers, which was mostly devoted to our hobbies: Wednesday afternoons were given for our own useful employment in the school room : Before going into York I was very fond of making models; one Wednesday afternoon I was building “Aspley House” in cardboard, one of the teachers asked me if I thought it was a good way of employing my time, which stopped me, and I never did any modelling afterwards. We were not allowed newspapers – the Russian War was going on at the time – our head teacher, Till Adam Smith, used to read us extracts, keeping is posted up in what was going on”. [The headmaster at this time was in fact John Ford.]

19th Century Education

Thanks to Claire Hicklin for researching and writing this post, based on a box of 19th century teaching materials and exercise books.

It made very interesting reading… Opening the archive box and finding Differential Calculus as the first topic to explore.

In 1857 – Senior Class Room a variety of working models and examples were available to explore along with detailed calculations relating to “Further Workings on Mechanical Illustrations”.

Page showing example of differential calculus.

Beautifully written, these workbooks detail the thoughtful and intelligent application of a theory learned. It was interesting and insightful to read about working examples of Differential along with Integral mathematics methodologies.

Photograph of page of integral differential calculus.

August 1838 – F.C Clayton wrote an “Expression of Taylor’s Theorem” In calculus, Taylor’s theorem gives an approximation of a k times differentiable function around a given point by ak-th order Taylor polynomial.

Photograph of page of Taylor's Theory, from 1838.

Another excerpt from F.C Clayton’s work asks the question “a person being in a boat 3 miles from the nearest point of the beach wishes to reach in the shortest time place 6 miles from that point along the shore. He can walk 5 miles an hour, but pull only 4. Where must he land?”

Photograph of a page of F.C Clayton's workbook of August 1838.

8th September 1854 – looking at Mr Clayton’s book below was fascinating, I confess, it took a while to work out exactly what was being detailed! A unique way of learning our Times Tables.

Page from F C Clayton's workbook showing times tables.

Mr Clayton (b1843, d 1928) went on to become a Manufacturing Chemist, Mayor of Birmingham 1889-1891), Pro. Vice Chancellor and Treasurer at Birmingham University, Governor of King Edwards Grammar School and awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of Birmingham in 1912.

In 1855 Fielden Thorp wrote “generally any equation involving differential co-efficients is a differential equation, but in practice, we restrict the term to equations in which, as compared with the un-differential equations a constant has disappeared”.

Photograph of Fielden Thorpe workbook of 1855.

It was with interest I also came across the wonderful Hebrew workbook of Fielden Thorp dated 1833 – an excerpt reads: “But not withstanding all this, many of these Jews were found in exceeding trouble on account of the oppression with which the rich has oppressed the poor in the days of famine. There was agreed famine in the land a few years before Nehemiah came into the city and the poor who cultivated their grounds and their vineyards had not the means to buy seed for the year which came after the famine. And in this strait they came to the rich to ask loans from them. It was incumbent upon the rich according to the term of the law of Moses to loan money to their brethren without interest. They disobeyed this command and they oppressed the poor with interest and with usury.”

Two pages of Hebrew workbook of Fielden Thorp dated 1833

Hebrew and text from Hebrew workbook of Fielden Thorp dated 1833

Fielden Thorp (b 1832 d 1921) was born in Halifax, received BA (Hons) Classics in 1855 and was a Fellow of the University College of London in 1856. Probably best known as Bootham School Headmaster 1865-1875.

A small undated green covered book produced some very interesting notes and education regarding land surveying.  It appears to be instructions about how to survey and measure land accurately with detailed mathematical calculations. “To measure a mere or wood. Position cross at Station A and let your assistant fix the marks B and D so that the angle at A mat be a right angle, and measure the line AB taking insets to the fence as you proceed.”

Two pages from a small, undated book about how to survey and measure land accurately, with detailed mathematical calculations.

I somewhat fell in love with a little book entitled “A treatise on pneumatics” written and illustrated by Henry Seebohm who was around 10 years of age at the time of writing this fascinating account (in1842). He later became a steel manufacturer at Seebohm and Dieckstahl Crucible Steel Makers. He travelled widely and loved to study birds, doing so in Lower Petchora, Russia in 1875 and the Valley of Yenesei, Siberia in 1877.

“Treats of the nature, weight, pressure and spring of the air which we breathe, and of the several effects dependent upon these properties – figure 1 air pump”.

Two pages from “A treatise on pneumatics” written and illustrated by Henry Seebohm, 1842, including diagrams.

Two pages from “A treatise on pneumatics” written and illustrated by Henry Seebohm, 1842.

There were a great many beautifully written “Specimens of Writing” from June 1848. It was difficult to determine just a few to publish, however, the messages written in these handwriting practice sessions should hold true now as much as they did then…

Imitate virtuous characters, imitate good actions, gaming is dishonest, keep your promise, keep from vicious company, knowledge promotes and improves virtue, censure no person hastily, cancel animosities, honour the humane, fear accompanies deceit, envy is tormenting, do nothing rashly, civility is an indispensable qualification.

joseph rowntree

Joseph Rowntree June 1848

In 1826 Robert Foster worked on Greek Grammar and it was a delight to see his hard work in writing throughout this comprehensive workbook.

greek grammar

A useful book for use in schools – Chief Dates of History

chief dates in history

Throughout such solid examples of academia it was enlightening to see religious documents and textbooks, nature studies and musical performances/theoretical studies.


This publication demonstrates the nature of sound and the manner in which they are magnified, or rather multiplied by the Tuba Stentoro-Phonica.

A wonderful note to end on was the discovery of this little gem – Observations De Salsedine Maris by Robert Boyle – Geneva 1686


Bootham as a Hospital – Ellen Rowntree’s perspective

In the December 1914 edition of ‘Bootham’ magazine, Ellen Rowntree (wife of Arthur Rowntree, Headmaster), described the events of the summer.

Mrs Rowntree - Copy

The summer term ended with its usual cheerful doings, picnics and examinations, triumphs of scholarships and swimming medals, river parties and cricket matches, and preparations for camp and holidays, with no suspicion of the great cloud hanging over us. Painters, carpenters, and charwomen were let loose upon the School, and the Head was finishing off the last of his papers, when the cloud burst over us and the shout of the war news rang down Bootham. We shared with the nation those first days of breathless tension and uncertainty, when all ordinary work and plans fell into the background and all that mattered was what should be done at once. This demand was speedily met for us as, consequent upon the rumour of a terrible disaster in the North Sea, the School was asked for as a hospital. Available members of the committee were consulted, and after hurried meetings with military and Red Cross authorities, the Headmaster arranged, greatly to their satisfaction, that fifty beds should be ready by noon next day on the ground floor of the school. Workmen were turned out, and a large body of willing helpers set to work to turn out cupboards and desks, sweep and scrub, beat mattresses on the masters’ grass, and carry beds down from the top landing. Old boys passing through from camp reversed waistcoats in time-honoured fashion and laboured with twice the zeal of packing-days. In a day the whole place was bare and spotless, the classrooms, gymnasium, and dining-room fully equipped wards. A continuous stream of motors brought medical extras, spare blankets, surgical furniture, county ladies, hard-worked officers and busy doctors to inspect and advise, and St. John Ambulance nurses, who made the beds, covered tables and desks with white oilcloth, set up charts, and arranged bandages and splints. The art room was transformed into an operating theatre. Gas was brought in through the window and well-protected sterilizers set up on the platform. Powerful lights were focussed over the operating-table in the centre, and in a corner stood a large sink with taps. The Reeves’ studies were for the use of nurses, and the masters’ common room was turned into a consulting-room. By degrees bedrooms, too, were made ready, and when we left for a fitful holiday Bootham was fully prepared for 106 patients. It was with mingled relief and disappointment that, as time went on, it was found unnecessary to retain the School as a hospital. The Government wished educational institutions to remain undisturbed, and as ample accommodation had been provided elsewhere for immediate needs the St. John Ambulance reluctantly withdrew and Bootham resumed its normal state. E. H. R.