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”.
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!
The official opening on 1st June 1914. Those standing at the front are (l-r): R.W. Thorp (Architect and Bootham Old Scholar, 1899-1900), Arnold S. Rowntree (Secretary of Schools Committee and Old Scholar 1883-89), Francis C. Clayton (Old Scholar 1855-58) and T. Edmund Harvey (President of OYSA and Old Scholar 1887-91).
The Bootham swimming pool will be one hundred years old on Sunday. On 1st June 1914 the new Bath was handed over by T. Edmund Harvey, President of OYSA, to the school. According to the magazine, Arnold S. Rowntree ‘was glad…to have the opportunity of embracing the bath to his bosom, and of thanking as heartily as possible all those who by their generous contributions had enabled the Association to make this noble gift to the School.’ He hoped the the bath would be of help ‘in increasing the health and vigour of all those who passed through its doors.’
To finish, here is the first verse from a poem by Alfred Morgan Hughes (Old Scholar 1905-07) about the appeal to Old Scholars. The poem is called ‘The Building of the Bath’ and it was published in ‘Bootham’ magazine in March 1915.
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.”
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.”