ST. NICHOLAS' CHARITY-SCHOOL.
This school was founded by Mrs. Eleanor Allan, of Newcastle, who, by deed of
gift, dated February 20, 1705, assigned for its support a farmhold and tenant-right
in Wallsend parish. The farm, which is held of the dean and chapter of Durham,
contains 131 acres; and, at that period, the rental was £61, 19s. 5d. yearly. This
lady died January 21, 1708; and in the following year, the school was opened by the
trustees in trust for 40 boys and 20 girls, belonging to this parish and to St. John's.
At the same time, the parishioners entered into an annual subscription to clothe the
scholars. In 1723, Gilbert Campel, innholder, left by will £20, and Samuel Nicholas,
organist, £10, the interest of which sums was to be for the benefit of this school.
Mrs. Chisholm, relict of the Rev. Mr. Chisholm of Wooler, also paid the corporation
of Newcastle £500, directing the interest to be applied to the same purpose. Mrs.
Elizabeth Rogers, of Newcastle, by will, dated December 15, 1733, bequeathed to
this school £50; and John Hewit, or Huet, (fn. 1) goldsmith, of the same place, by will,
dated September 9, 1738, left to this school £250, for which the corporation engaged
to pay four per cent. John Fenwick. of Newcastle. Esq. likewise gave £50 to the
corporation of the town on May 20, 1774. for the annual payment of 20s.
on Midsummer-day to the Charity-school of St. Nicholas, and 20s. on Christmas-day to the
prisoners in the towns jail. The late Aubone Surtees. of Newcastle, Esq. also gave
£50. the interest of which was directed to be paid for the use of this school. (fn. 2) There
is also paid annually towards its support a rent-charge of £20, left by a Mr. Blenkinsop, upon premises at the Foot of the Side,
Newcastle, at present occupied by
Messrs. Vickers. grocers.
The trustees of this school are. the mayor and vicar of Newcastle, the lecturer of St.
Nicholas', and the morning preachers of All Saints', St. Andrew's, and St. John's, for
the time being. The foundation has been extended so as to educate and clothe 40
boys and 40 girls. The boys are admitted at 8 years of age, and may continue until
they are 14 years old. being taught whatever useful branch of education they can
learn in that time. Each boy receives, at Midsummer, a dark grey coat, waistcoat,
and cap, a pair of leather breeches, and two shirts and bands: with two pair of
stockings and shoes in the year. On going to trade, or sea, they are paid 40s. each
by the trustees, and also a Bible and Prayer Book, with the Whole Duty of Man.
The girls receive annually a dark brown gown and petticoat, with two shifts, caps,
aprons, and tippets, and two pairs of shoes and stockings. On becoming apprentices,
or going into service, they receive 20s. each, and the same books as the boys. In
1786, the trustees built new school-rooms, and dwelling-rooms for the master and
mistress, in the Manor Chare, on a scite of ground in All Saints parish, given by the
corporation for that purpose.
St. Nicholas" enlarged Charity-school.
When Shute, the late Lord Bishop of Durham, had attained the 50th year of his
prelacy, the clergy of his diocese resolved to erect some useful and durable monument in commemoration of the
event. As his lordship had always been a warm
patron of institutions for the education of the children of the poor, it was finally
agreed to build a large school-house in this populous town, which might be denominated "
The Clergy Jubilee School."The corporation, with their usual munificence,
gave, for a building scite and play-grounds, part of the King's Dykes, on the east
side of the Carliol Croft. They also granted sufficient ground at each end for building
a dwelling-house for the master, and another for the mistress of the school, and gave
100 guineas to P. G. Ellison, Esq. for a slip of ground to add to the breadth of the scite.
The building of this school-house was commenced under the direction of Mr. Dobson,
architect, in July, 1819, and finished in August, 1820. It cost about £2300, and is a
plain, unornamented. stone building, without even an inscription to explain the cause
and purposes of its erection. (fn. 3) The lower school-room, which is 80 feet long and 40 feet
broad, is so high as to occasion a very inconvenient echo; and the upper, or girls'
school, being unceiled, is necessarily exposed to too great a variety of temperature.
After being thus imperfectly finished, the building stood unoccupied and useless,
as the funds were not sufficient to carry the original purpose of the subscribers
into effect. At length, the late vicar of Newcastle, with the concurrence of the other
trustees, under legal advice, removed the girls and boys of the old established free
school of St. Nicholas' parish into this building; the master and mistress having been
previously taught Dr. Bell's improved plan of education. Thus the benefits of the
school were extended so as include the whole town. The trustees of the school pay
to the trustees of the building a nominal yearly rent of 2s. 6d.; but the latter have no
control over, or connexion with, the former. The school trustees expended about
£300 in furniture, &c. and paid £50 for an additional flue.
The new school was opened on the 1st of October, 1821. Each scholar pays one
penny per week, except orphans, or the children of widows. (fn. 4) There are no reports
of this school published; but the number of boys on the books, November 16, 1826,
was 425, of whom 32 were reported absent, and 14 sick. In looking over the books
for the last two years, it appears that about 400 scholars on an average attend, and
which are as many as the school-room can accommodate. They are taught, according
to Dr. Bell's system, with some modifications, Reading, Spelling, Writing, Arithmetic, and some
of the boys in the first class learn Book-keeping, the elements of Geometry, and Mensuration. (fn. 5)
About 250 scholars are at present learning to write on
paper. The master, Mr. Thomas Charlton, deserves great credit for the attention,
skill, and ability with which he discharges the arduous duties of his office. The
teachers, who are mostly boys belonging to the free school, are instructed by the
master in the mornings and evenings. The vacancies in the old foundation are filled
up by the trustees from a list of boys whom the master and teachers select, half-yearly,
at May and at Christmas, for their good behaviour, rapid progress, and regular attendance at school and at church.
All the boys appear remarkably healthy and clean;
and, in warm weather, a hair-dresser attends every week to cut their hair, and also
occasionally in winter.
The girls, who occupy the room above the boys' school-room, are instructed by
Mrs. Baxter. The attendance of girls at school is usually very irregular. At the
date mentioned above, there were 134 scholars on the books in this school, of whom
3 were reported sick, and 30 absent. They are taught Writing and Arithmetic by
the mistress. Both branches of this school are visited by the trustees alternately
The master's salary of this school is £80 a year, with a house and fire, which,
considering his services, is certainly not too much. The mistress has £40 a year, with a house
and fire. The revenues of this school fluctuate, for at present the rent of the farm at
Wallsend varies according to the average price of corn. Last year, the rent amounted
to £260. To this may be added the interest of £1000 in the town's hutch, £40; the
interest of £330 in the funds, £17, 10s.; the premises in the Side, £20; Fenwick and
Surtees' money yields £3, 10s.; say 330 pennies for boys for 46 weeks, £63, 5s.; pennies
from the girls, and work done by them, £20; total, £424, 5s. From this, which is an
approximation to the real revenue, must be deducted a heavy sum (above £80 per
annum), paid every fourth year to the dean and chapter of Durham, for the renewal
of the lease of the Wallsend farm; besides expenses for farm-buildings and repairs,
ALL SAINTS' CHARITY-SCHOOL.
This school was founded by voluntary subscription in 1709, for 41 boys and 17
girls; the former to be taught Reading, Writing, and Accounts, and the latter to
read, knit, and sew. The annual sermons for its benefit, during the first 24 years,
produced an average sum of £20, 14s. The corporation gave a convenient plot of
ground in the artillery-grounds in the Manors, whereon the school-room and master's
dwelling-house were built. (fn. 6)
Since that time, this institution has been extended so as to admit 40 boys and 40
girls. The boys receive annually a blue coat, waistcoat, and cap, one pair of leather
breeches, two shirts and bands, and two pair of shoes and stockings. They are taught
as far as they can be learned before the completion of their fourteenth year, and,
when bound apprentices, are presented with 40s. a Bible and Prayer Book, with a
Whole Duty of Man. Each girl receives yearly a blue gown and petticoat, with two
caps, tippets, and aprons, and two pair of shoes and stockings. On leaving school,
they are presented with 20s. and the books mentioned above. Their school-room is
in a house near the entrance to the Surgeons' Hall; and they have been, since January 1, 1821,
under the able superintendanee of Miss Johnson, who succeeded her
mother. Her father, Mr. Hugh Johnson, was master of the boys' school above 40
years. At his death, in September, 1807, he was succeeded by Mr. Ralph Dees, who
had been master of St, Nicholas' school 22 years. The salary offered in the advertisement at that time was
£50 per annum, with a free house and coals. The girls, who
are pleasingly clean, neat, and orderly, are taught Writing and Accounts by the respectable master of the boys'
school, who has had the honour of educating many boys
that afterwards became clever and industrious men.
ST. ANDREW'S CHARITY-SCHOOL.
This school was founded by Sir William Blackett, Bart. who died December 2,
1705, and left to this parish £1000; one-third of the profits of which to be appropriated to the teaching
of 30 boys, one-third to binding apprentices to trades, and onethird to poor householders. This legacy was never paid; but Sir William's heirs
pay 6 per cent, per annum on the amount, two-thirds of which, or £40, is paid to
the trustees of the school. Sir William Blackett, the son of the founder, began, in
1719, to clothe the boys; and by will, dated August 14, 1728, made a permanent
endowment for this purpose. Each scholar, at Christmas, receives a green coat and
cap, a waistcoat, a pair of leather breeches, two shirts and bands, and three pair of
shoes and stockings, which altogether cost above £80. There are now 34 boys educated and
clothed, three being paid for out of the interest of a legacy of £50, left by
Mr. John Hewit in 1738, and one from the profits of £50, given by Aubone Surtees,
Esq. The school is governed by the vicar of Newcastle and the church-wardens of
St. Andrew's parish, who, with the approbation of the heir of the founder, have the
appointment of the master, whose salary is only £25 per annum. He has a free
dwelling-house, and annually receives a gratuity of £5. The school-house, for which
a nominal rent is paid to the corporation, is situated behind the west end of High
Friar Street, and opposite to the town-wall. The present master is Mr. James
Cook. He succeeded Mr. T. M. Richardson, who kept this school from the death of
his father, who was the master many years. The boys, on going to trade, receive
the same presents as those belonging to the schools before mentioned.
A stone built up in front of a house, near the bottom of the east side of Percy
Street, bears the following inscription:—"This School-house was built by the voluntary Contributions of the Promoters of a Charity-school for Girls belonging to this
Parish, instituted in the Year 1792." The house, which is freehold, contains a large,
airy school-room, with convenient dwelling-rooms for the mistress, &c. Adjoining is
a good yard. This establishment was very spiritedly commenced by the ladies of the
parish, assisted by the late Rev. N. Ellison and the Rev. William Haigh, and consisted of 40 girls, who were educated, and each supplied annually with a green gown
and petticoat, two caps, tippets, aprons, shifts, and two pair of shoes and stockings;
and amongst those who left school every year, the three most deserving received 40s.
to purchase clothes, and a present of books. The subscriptions having gradually
fallen off, the school has dwindled down to 15 scholars. A sermon is occasionally preached for its support. Mrs. Beeney, who was chosen mistress when the
school was first formed, receives a salary of £20 per annum, arising from funds
amounting to £536, part of which are held by the corporation, and the remainder are
vested in the navy 5 per cents. She has also the profit of the work done by the girls.
They are taught Writing and Accounts by the master of the boys' school.
ST. JOHN'S CHARITY-SCHOOL.
This school was endowed in 1705, for the education of 44 poor boys, by Mr. John
Ord, who gave to its support the Great Magdalen Close, or the Mill Close, held by
lease of the master and brethren of St. Mary's Hospital, at the annual rent of £4.
The Close, at the time, left a clear income to the school of £21. Mrs. Margaret
Allgood, widow, also left by will, dated July 15, 1707, £100 to this school; the interest to be paid annually. There is likewise an annual subscription for its support,
and an anniversary sermon for its benefit was formerly preached on the Sunday after
the feast of St. John. The school is governed by the heir of the founder, Mr. Ord
(who was unknown till after his death); the mayor and vicar of Newcastle; the
forenoon lecturers of All Saints', St. John's, and St. Andrew's; or any five of them.
They have the chusing of the master. The boys are supplied with shoes and stockings
at Christmas and Midsummer; and, at the latter season, with a blue coat, cap, and
waistcoat, a pair of leather breeches, and shirts and bands. When bound apprentices,
they receive 40s. and the books given by the other parochial charities. The schoolroom and master's rooms, which are situated in Cross Street, belong to the corporation.
The Great Magdalen, or Mill Close, which extends from the premises of David
Cram, Esq. in Ellison Place, to the termination of Ridley Place, and contains 11
acres 34 perches, is now subject to the yearly rent of £28. It is let by the trustees
of the school to Robert Ormston, Esq. Dr. Steavenson, and Aubone Surtees, Esq.
who pay £24 each yearly, leaving a surplus to the school of £44; besides £10 paid
by Mr. Ormston for two cottages in Vine Lane. Formerly, 14 free incorporated
companies subscribed £1 each to this school, which entitled each company to recommend one boy; but since the alteration in the value of money, a subscription of £3
annually has been made the qualification for the exercise of this privilege, in consequence of which, 9 companies withdrew their subscriptions. From these circumstances, the school at present consists of only 20 boys.
ST. ANN'S CHAPEL SCHOOL.
This school, it appears, was first erected by the corporation in the year 1682, when
the chapel was rebuilt, and since that time has been kept in repair and partly supported out of the town's revenues. The mayor is styled governor of the school; and
the governor of the Hoastmen's Company, assistant governor. The curate and lecturer of All Saints' for the time being, and four other gentlemen, are visitors and
trustees; any three of whom constitute a committee, competent to visit, to make
rules, &c. subject to the approbation of the mayor.
About 100 children at present attend this school. They are taught Reading for
8d. per month, and Writing and Arithmetic for 1s. 2d. per month. Mr. Thomas
Nicholson, the Writing-master, receives from the corporation £20 annually, and for
other duties and expenses £20, 2s. Mr. Robert Bolam, the usher, receives for salary,
house-rent, coals, and teaching psalmody, £16, 16s. per annum. The discipline of
the school has been recently improved by the introduction of some parts of Dr. Bell's
system of education.