Hope St Council School: Girls’ School

In 1862, the school reopened after the vacation on July 31st. The rooms had been thoroughly cleaned! In August, the girls went to see a ‘Panorama of the Holy Land’. Inspector’s Report for 1862: ‘The Girls’ School is in remarkably good order, better indeed than it has been for some time. Here also the reading is very good and arithmetic very fair. The dictation also shows much care, and a few lessons are still given in Geography and grammar’

January 1864 – Miss Annie ALDAM entered upon her duties as mistress of the school; assistant mistress was Ellen PRESTON. Annie May SMITH, pupil teacher, was absent when the school was visited. Miss AVISON took a class once a week – was she a pupil teacher? Pupil Teachers were Jean GRAHAM and Maria WAISBOROUGH. Miss ALDAM resigned in September 1863, and in January 1864 the school was reopened by Mrs Mary GILLIS; Miss PRESTON was re-engaged for a further 6 months. Also took on as pupil teachers Ellen DOBSON and Mary Jane ASKWITH. Mr GORDON took a regular Bible class. 

March 1867 – Mrs Emily BELL (BALL? BULL?) entered her duties as Mistress of the school. HMI reported in 1867 that ‘the order here is good and kept up without any undue harshness. The instruction is generally satisfactory; Writing good, Reading unusually intelligent in pretty well every class; the Arithmetic is fair except in the fourth and sixth standards – indeed in the latter it amounted to a breakdown altogether. The sewing is good’. The next year the Mistress recorded: ‘have put aside the sewing on three afternoons in the week in order to give some extra time to Arithmetic. I consider it an impossibility for a Girls’ Schools to compete with a Boys’ school in this respect, on account of the time spent in sewing’

Mary LAW started as a pupil teacher during this year; Ellen DOBSON left the school to be married in July 1869. By December 1869, there was a new Principal Teacher - Miss Ellen Margaret DANIELL; pupil teachers Mary J ASKWITH (left December 1869 with a travelling bag as a present fro the girls. She obtained a First Class Queen’s Scholarship), Ellen DOBSON, Mary LAW and Margaret BYROM. Report of 1869 stated ‘Miss DANIELL has not been its teacher long enough to make her responsible for defects in the school’.

1870 – pupil teachers Mary LAW, Margaret BYROM were still at the school with the addition of new pupil teachers Eliza YONGE/YOUNG and Mary WHITFIELD. The 1871 report showed significant improvement. By 1873 the school had also taken on Elizabeth ELLAMS, Alice GREGORY, Caroline AUMONIER and Annie ORR. In 1873, it was reported that ‘The Lords have ordered the grant to the mixed school to be reduced by one tenth under Article 52 161 for defective instruction. Great attention must be given to the Infants during the current year.’ Miss BULLEY commenced her duties at Standard VI in February 1874. The Inspection of the Mixed School showed some improvements in 1875, but stated that the Mistress was accepting too low a standard from the pupil teachers, one of whom (Winifred JONES) was failed and disqualified. The school also took on as first year pupil teacher Maria C PIFERRER.

In 1975, the committee decided to introduce the Kindergargen system. but the 1876 inspection found no improvement, particularly in the work of the pupil teachers, and deducted a further tenth of the grant from the Girls’ School. In September, Jessie S INGLIS took over as Headmistress from Miss DANIELL. Jessie INGLIS was born in Edinburgh in about 1844; in 1881 she was in lodgings in Grove St, with her mother Margaret. The level of detail from this point on makes much more interesting reading. She spent her first week ‘correcting the pupil teachers’ inefficient system of teaching’.  ‘To put a stop to talking during the sewing tried the plan of shaming them out of their habit and disobedience by making the talkers stand on the form’. Helen LEADER started as a pupil teacher. On Sep 29th, she wrote: ‘devoted the most of this week to II class showing Miss PIFFERER (who lacks energy and method in teaching, and firmness in dealing with pupils) how to teach and manage her class.’

Pupil teachers were often late, and Miss INGLIS sometimes resorted to sending another pupil teacher round to the house for them, and on at least two occasions wrote to their parents. Fanny MARTIN, a pupil teacher, caused particular difficulties. On October 26th it is recorded ‘Fanny MARTIN went home and left the girls whom she had kept in. She shows great obstinacy and insubordination’. She was often late and on January 11th, was ‘absent in the afternoon without leave’. She is not mentioned again until she was off with a cold in January 1878, so things must have improved! In November the school was visited by Miss BOWEN, superintendent of the Governesses’ Institution, Canning St. They agreed that ‘Miss PIFFERER is generally neglectful of her duty’. In December 1876 – Miss NELSON called to ask that Miss ELLAMS be allowed to attend the selection of mistresses for Chatsworth St School. She was appointed, and Grade ARMSTRONG took her place as Assistant Mistress.

Staff for 1877: Jessie INGLIS, Grace ARMSTRONG, Caroline AMONIER, Alice G GREGORY (all 5th year pupil teachers), Maria C PIFFERER, 3rd Yr and Helen LEADER. In January 1878, Maria PIFFERER’s family had moved to Southport, and she took up a teaching post there. Miss GREGORY had completed her apprenticeship, and went to St Peter’s School. 

Report for 1877: The order is very fair and the results of the examination show some improvement throughout, but the general efficiency is still below what may be fairly expected from a school when the children come from so good a class. The improvement fairly started should continue at a rapid rate. At present the age of the girls is exceptionally high in their standards. The infants are orderly and fairly well taught.

Staff for 1878: Jessie INGLIS; Caroline AUMONIER; Grace Armstrong; Helen LEADER; Jeanie HATCH; Frances MARTIN.

12th June 1878: ‘miserably poor attendance owing to the excessive wet, the Whit holidays and the Fancy Bazzar and Gala held in Stanley Park’

1879, Jan 6th – Miss Agnes RAE, Queen’s Scholar, appointed to succeed Miss Grace ARMSTRONG. Miss ARMSTRONG remained to ‘initiate’ Miss RAE. Miss SMITH (certificated mistress) was appointed on trial to the post of assistant mistress. However, things did not go well. On April 3rd: ‘Warned Miss Smith that unless there was some improvement in her teaching and the management of her class generally her engagement here would have to be of short duration.’ Miss Inglis did recommend in June that she should receive notice due to her ‘unfitness for the post of Senior Assistant’. She left on July 4th that year.

Staff for 1881: Jessie INGLIS; Margaret YOUNG (left in 1884); Annie MORRISON; Frances MARTIN; Edith JONES; Louisa CARR; Ann Jane DAVIDSON (In charge of Infants’ School)

Staff for 1882: Louisa LAWSON; Margaret YOUNG; Alice S HYATT; Edith JONES; Louisa CARR; Emily DODSWORTH; Ann Jane DAVIDSON (In charge of Infants’ School)

Staff for 1885: Louisa LAWSON; Kate T ELLIS; Ellen BARNES; Louisa CARR;


Staff for 1886: Louisa LAWSON; Mary Burleigh MILNE; Ellen BARNES; Louisa CARR; Emily DODSWORTH; Mary ARMSTRONG; Edith L DAVIES

Staff for 1887: Louisa LAWSON; M BURLEIGH MILNE; Louisa CARR; Emily DODSWORTH; Edith L DAVIES; Eleanor D HUNN

Miss LAWSON, head of Girls’ Dept, resigned due to ill health and Miss Mary Burleigh MILNE took over as temporary head, on Miss LASWON’s strong recommendation. It appears from the log book that Miss LAWSON did return to her duties. I will have to research this further. I can’t find her in the census at all. Miss MILNE was living with her family in Toxteth; the children were all born in Altrincham; her sister was also a teacher. Mary’s father, originally from Salford, was ‘living on his own means’.

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