[from A Hundred Years of Education]
On January 14th, 1830, the Trustees approved the exact site recommended by the Clerk of the Rolls, Mr. J. C. Hutchen, and the Vicar-General, Rev. Benjamin Philpot, and empowered them to make plans and procure estimates. The foundation stone was laid by the Governor, Colonel Smelt, on April 23rd, 1830, a ceremony of which a humorous account will he found in the "College Register", and the College was opened on August 1st, 1833.
The total cost of the original building was £6,572 18s., which was met by an accumulation on the estate of £2,071 10s., subscriptions raised by Bishop Ward to the amount of £2,692 1s. (including the £1,000 for the chapel), the residue coming from a mortgage, to be replaced by a sinking fund. But there was, too, an unwilling contributor, for the contractor, who had underestimated, went bankrupt. In 1844 occurred the famous fire, caused, if a story a good authority has told me is true, by a boy under sentence of expulsion, who said that if he might not stay at the College there should not be a College to stay at.1 The reconstruction seems to have cost about £4,000, which was nearly met by the insurance of £2,000 and subscriptions raised by Bishop Short, amounting to £1,842 14s.
True to the Academical tradition, but with a prescience which is almost uncanny, the Trustees, in a notice advertising their intention and appealing for subscriptions, say that "in the progress of the Institution Professors of Divinity, Law, Physic (i.e., pathology) and Surgery will, if means exist, be appointed for affording instruction to those who, having passed through the course of education of the College, may be enabled elsewhere to complete their studies".
There has never arisen a demand for a Professor of Law; but the work,of a Professor of Divinity was carried on by the Principal in the Academical or Senior Students, "youths of the most pregnant parts for the supply of the Manx Church", until, by a better arrangement in 1886, they were transferred to Andreas, and later to Bishop Wilsons College at Bishopscourt. It was too great a strain on the Principal, nor is it well to educate boys and young men together. The provision for "Professors in Physic and Surgery" exactly anticipates what recent development has brought. The General Medical Council allows a boy to register as a Medical Student after qualifying for the preliminary and pre-medical examination, and he can, if proper provision is made, take his Medical Course at School up to the 1st part of the 2nd M.B. examination, thus avoiding premature mixing with older students and getting the benefit of the most valuable part of his school days, when he will have responsibility. This is now normally done at College by boys taking the Oxford, Cambridge, or London degrees, and we have been helped by having in Rev. E. H. Stenning a Science master who has himself done a large part of the Medical Course. The Scots and the newer English Universities do not, as yet, admit this, hut it is to be hoped that they will soon come to recognise the obvious advantages of the system. A College boy last summer had passed the 1st part of the 2nd MB. before matriculating at Cambridge, and it is a great advantage in a long course to save time. One College boy who followed this plan was practising five and a half years from the date of passing Matriculation at 16.
So it became what it was to be an Academical School. But, mercifully, the Trustees avoided the title "Academy," a word which has lost caste and which, outside Scotland, went under with "Mr. Birchs Academy for Young Gentlemen" at Rodwell Regis. One could have wished they had called a spade a spade with "School" and "Headmaster." The more pretentious "College" applies properly only to a self-governing community, with Master, Warden or Provost and Fellows, such as Eton and Winchester, and Radley when it was first founded. My own School, Haileybury, is a College in the second degree, in that it is on the site of " John Companys " College, but even Keble, at Oxford, with a governing body, is only now becoming a College. However, since T. E. Browns " Cullege," a change would be impossible. Similarly, one would have liked " Barrow School " as its name, but there was hope then of an endowment through the Queens influence, and there was some appropriateness in the Royal assent to an Island School being called after the Sailor King. So what we are, we shall be K.W.C. It remains a joy to one who will always live as a great figure in our history that he once received a postcard from foreign parts addressed
" G.L.C., K.W.C., I.O.M."
In a correspondence I shall refer to later, when stressing the dire need of an endowment, the first Principal, Rev. E. Wilson, tells Bishop Ward that the College is a Grammar School and not a Public School; but the remark is made in irony ; he means that it has not the establishment of a Public School. It has none of the notes of a Grammar School, and in the long period of its incubation was already contrasted with the existing Grammar Schools. Nor is it a "Secondary School" in the narrow sense, for its government is independent and it receives no grants. No place then remains for it but in the category of Public Schools, and it is not arrogance but reality that prompted the design of the window in Chapel representing in one light Bishop Barrow with an inset of the College, in the other William of Wykeham and the cloisters of Winchester, typical of the Public Schools.
The Principal has, I believe, from the first been a Member of the Headmasters Conference, and still is; there is a College O.T.C. ; representatives have attended every meeting of the Duke of Yorks Camp. And, the most practical test, it has come in for a full share of those openings in business which are going to the "Public Schools."
The College stands on the same footing as those new foundations which began about 1850, and it is not the least remarkable fact in the history of Insular education that the idea which then began to germinate over the water had been in full bloom 20 years before among us. As a boy, I knew "Eric, or Little by Little," as one of the two Public School stories. It is a book not much accounted of now ; it is hard for a book to survive Stalkys phrase "Ericing."2 Farrar, however, makes it quite clear that he wrote it with a purpose, to show how the Public School breaks down without the praepositorial system. Wiser than some other school masters, he takes for his typical school one with which he was no longer directly associated ; but even so he had, in the preface to the 2nd edition, to apologize for harm reputed to have been done to the College by stating that both incidents and characters were purely fictitious. One can only save the Deans veracity by supposing that the book issued from his sub-conscious mind. It is a perilous honour to have a domestic tale-pitcher, and it is not so many years ago since I had a letter from a parent who said he was thinking of sending his boy to the College, but had been reading "Eric," and feared there was much bullying at it ! I replied that if he read "Tom Browns School Days " he would infer Rugby to be a very, rough school.
I am not personally much concerned with names, but it is with a purpose that I stress the point that King Williams has no raison détre except that of a Public School. It is a great advantage to the Island to have a Public School on its shores, and if it ceased to be one it would cease to exist. Of course, in so isolated a position prestige is hard to win and it comes slowly, accelerated in recent years by contact with other schools in O.T.C. Camps, at the Duke of Yorks Camp, by Scouting, by Old Boys scattered over the world in positions of prominence; and the generosity of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in allowing teams to cross at single fare has facilitated matches. It is not nothing when the critic of the Liverpool Post can say of a College XV that they cam~. nearer to his ideal of Rugby football than anything since the New Zealand "All Blacks," and another that to see the College play and then to watch the International Trials is like going from a Hallé Orchestra to a Jazz Band.
"This fetish of athletics," I hear you murmur; yes, but modern football needs brains as well as sinews, and the College tradition was made by the master responsible for most of the History Scholarships we have got and carried on by the VIth form master.
But enough of this. Prestige comes, as things are, by games, but not by games only.
An educational institution ultimately stands or falls by its intellectual record. The only way of testing this is to compare the periods of various Principals, and this is fair way in early days, when Headmasters were primarily teachers. As time goes on, and they become more and more organisers the test holds less, and the credit goes more to the Assistant Masters, who, for lack partly of time partly of evidence must be content, as mostly they are to remain among the famous men "which have no memorial," hut " whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten."
Our test is the "Honours Boards," omitting 2nd Classes, which we now no longer record on them. The Rev. E. Wilson (1833-1838) did not remain long enough for his work to reach fruition. His two successors, the Rev. A. Phillips and the Rev. R. Dixon, achieved the respectable record of an average of one honour per annum; but it was by the next Principal, Dr. Hughes-Games, himself distinguished both in Classics and Mathematics, that the intellectual standard of the School was made. In his twenty years of office the annual average was 5.5, and this level, remarkable for a school so small, was maintained by his two successors, the Rev. F. B. Walters and the Rev. E. H. (now Bishop) Kempson, in whose time, indeed, it rose to 6.3. Still, to be quite fair, I should, on a close scrutiny, give the palm to Dr. Hughes-Games, whose honours were predominantly Academical, while later the percentage of Military honours increased.
It must he remembered that in earlier days the brains of little boys were not yet marketed and sold to the highest bidder by the Preparatory Schools, and it was still possible for any school to draw a winner from England, a thing that has become increasingly difficult since. But at all times until the very recent present, the nucleus of honours have been won by Island boys. Their name is legion; of old boys from "abroad " the most distinguished, apart from Dr. J. M. Wilson, the son of the first Principal, are Sir George White, Farrar himself, Ellerton, the author of "The day Thou gayest, Lord, is ended," "Now the labourers task is oer," and other well-known hymns, and Sir W. H. Bragg. Of insular boys who have won fame outside the Island one may perhaps without invidiousness mention the great T. E. Brown, Sir George Beatson, Sir J. Stewart Lockhart, Dr. Fowler, President of Corpus and Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford, and Bishop Drury.
The present régime cannot be brought into comparison, for the whole educational system was dislocated by the War, and passes into Sandhurst and Woolwich, of which, of course, there were many, fell in value. In the last 13 years, when things have begun to stabilise, there have been 30 University Scholarships and Exhibitions, 7 First Classes, and 3 Prize Cadetships.
To get, however, the "fetish of athletics," the stock reproach of Public Schools, into perspective, I may, perhaps, add this. The standard of a school is in reality more fairly judged by its average boy than by its stars; and in 1925, when we had one of our best athletic years, the 35 candidates entered for the School Certificate got 100 per cent. of success with 30 Matriculation Certificates, a record, I believe, unequalled by any other school. I make no bones of mentioning this, as I taught none of the boys myself. Much of the credit was due to two great athletes, the late Vice-Principal, Mr H. H. W. Dickson, and his successor, Mr. W. G. Wilson, coach then of the football XV and editor of the General Knowledge Paper, known throughout England and beyond it. The Headmaster of a London School said to a friend of mine, "Of course, we all know that ; that is the great General Knowledge Paper." Last year the VIth, and many of the XI and XV were in it, produced a small volume of prose and verse called "Nugae," favourably reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement. An Oxford bookseller recently wrote to me for a copy on behalf of an American client, a collector of first editions ! A second volume is now in, preparation.
I stress these things (again speaking perforce from my own experience) because in the day of decision which may have to come before long, mistakes will be made if it is supposed that games and work are alternatives. In reality, when there is vitality, it issues in every direction.
I very much regret the sparsity of early records. A narrative, necessarily bald, has mostly to be pieced together only from sternly reticent sources, such as accounts and minutes of Trustees meetings, but even accounts are often missing. But the veil is lifted for a moment by a very human letter of Rev. E. Wilson, a copy of which I have in my possession by the kindness of Dr. J. M. Wilson, his son. Miss Wilson, Dr. Wilsons half-sister, has also been good enough to let me see the correspondence of her grandfather, Bishop Ward. There is in it disappointingly little about the College, considering how great an interest he took in it, but it gives the occasion of this letter. There were hopes, as I have said, of a Royal endowment through the influence of the Queen. Hints had, indeed, been thrown out that part of the revenue of the Crown lands might be handed over to the College.
Mr. Wilson, urging this suit upon the Bishop, wrote on January 29th, 1838, "knowing your strong interest in this College, which you have always regarded and cherished as your own child, I am induced to bring before you a statement of its wants, in ye hope, ere you leave opulent and liberal England, you will be able to procure for em a seasonable supply. Public attention has lately been much directed to the Island "(the amalgamation with the Carlisle Diocese actually went through Parliament) "and a strong anxiety extensively evinced for its welfare." He goes on to express the expectation that " future Manxmen will rise by means of the College to usefulness and Consideration in Church and State . . . if only ye institution be moderately supported." He dwells on its advantages, " its central position, its salubrious air, its comparative seclusion from physical and moral harm, together with its cheapness." The Bishop, he says, knows the deficiencies, hut none else so well as himself " feels ye daily pressure. You will, therefore, I am sure, excuse my specific stating of em, for who shld. state em but ye Principal and to whom else can he state em with such hope of sympathy and aid as to his Bishop?
"First, then, . . . ye building . . . has now been opened for ye receipt of pupils more yn 4 years . . . and yet these walls are not finished. A large portion of ye interior walls remain to this day not even plaistered and they both are and look cold and repulsive to ye eye of boys and parents who must behold em. Again, ye exterior walls require , in this searching climate, additional cementing. The wet comes in thro the whole S.W. front, and you may perhaps give me credit for not murmuring more when I assure yr. Lordship we repeatedly catch 2 or 3 gallons of water of a rainy eveng. in our drawing room."
After recounting other defects, he goes on, "The chapel is neither completed outside, nor decently fitted up within. . . The playground is not satisfactory and is repeatedly complained of. . . The College wants better endowment. Indeed it can hardly be said to have any endowment at all. . . Endowment is equally wanted for master and scholars." After describing how the masters are overworked and underpaid, he continues,
"The College can scarcely be expected to flourish unles, it have some encouragement from ye Manx talented youth, who are almost universally poor, and unless it be connected with ye English Universities by means of exhibitions. . . The revenue arising from pupils is barely enough to support ye present nine masters in respectability," and from that arising from the land, the only £450, the liquidation of the £2,000 mortgage had to he met. Unless some endowment fund can be got, "King Williams College will be a poor and starveling remembrance of ye august Sovereign whose royal name it bears." He concludes with the rather startling statement, "We know he was pleased to express to his late Miinisters, Lords Grey and Brougham, his wish tha, [ ? something] mt be done for ye College; indeed, I myself accepted ye situation of Principal under a written promise of Lord Brougharns to your Lordship, yt. some endowment shd be given to ye institution," and suggest a minimum of £5,000, which would probably have gone as far then as £15,000 now.
This letter formulates, so to speak, a programme which all Mr. Wilsons successors have endeavoured to followand with a success that under the circumstances is remarkable, for the endowment fund never matured.
To the financial problem we must return. In structure and laying out of the Playing Fields each generation has contributed its part, and it is just about the same sum relatively, or £15,000, which is needed to clear the quadrangle and reconstruct the Hostel.
Movement was at first necessarily slow, and it was not till the day of Dr. Hughes-Games that expansion it building as in scholarships was speeded up, with the Hostel dining-hall wing, the present Junior House, the Sanatorium, and particularly the new Chapel, as well s the laying on of gas and water. Mr. Walters added the School House and Swimming Bath, but it was in Bishop Kempson that the College found its greatest builder. It is no detraction from the credit of Messrs. Willink and Thicknesse to say that they could not have produced buildings combining to the same extent dignity an utility as the Science and Gymnasium blocks had not the Principal of the time been a born architect. And, like all great architects, he built with the future in view. I remember him stopping just outside the fine door mt the Science block and saying, with a sly smile, "I built this door just opposite a blind wall, so as to compel my successor to pull the wall down." May I add a hint to my successors ? We built the new wing of the Junior House grey so as to compel them to roughcast the rest and get rid of the glaring red, which the War prevented us from doing. It may be interesting to trace the structural growth of the College. The original building consisted of the main block between the outside ends of the present Principals Study and the Masters Common Room, and beyond it in what was then, and until recently was still called, the Ball-alley, can be seen in old pictures the Giant Stride. The Tower wing at right angles was the old Chapel built by the Bishop s contribution, and it reached at first from the ground to the roof, though fairly soon the first floor was put in. "Siberia" was only added when the new Chapel replaced the old. But it has never been a complete success converted, and our hope is to see it re-converted into one room again as the Hostel Dining Hall.
At first, as may be gathered from those who read "Eric"and it is worth reading for its local interestthe Principal occupied the western end, which was then called "School House." To show how names linger, it is only a few years since an Old Boy entered his son for "School House," meaning the Hostel. The present Dickson House room and coat-room was the dining hall, and indeed the only living-room, the entrance hail was the library, and it was only later that the large south door was added. Access was got by the little door, which went from the cloisters behind the Hostel into the space below the Tower, and it used to be said then that by this, the only door, the Trustees and the coals came in. Later the Principal moved to his present house, and a lean-to room was added beyond it as a living-room for the 12 boarders he took who slept in his house; Mr. Walters built the present School House as his own boarding-house. On the appointment of Bishop Kempson, its finance was taken over by the Trustees, and it came to be known as the Principals Hostel, or, for short, "Principals." I fear I have never been quite forgiven by Old Boys for two changes I introduced when I came. One was abolishing apple shying" on All Hallows Eve, when masters shied apples at the boys by the Chapel. Having seen Mr. Hunt throw in at cricket, I. had a nightmare of a boy with his eye put out. The other was changing the name of Principalsa dreadful word, by the way, to shout on the touch-line in house matches-to School House, and my confession must now be made. It was not merely the desire to adopt the conventional name for the Headmasters House. It was a first start in getting rid of the habit of calling Houses after their Housemasters, and the step was taken after an Old Boys dinner, when a great wish was expressed for permanent names for all Houses but there was more to it. I found I got all my calls on the telephone and, in addition, calls for the Principals Hostel and, for short, for the Hostel. The School House is a good house; only to the dining-hall there applies the young Lady of Harrows remark, "Why, they make these here churches too narrow." The procession into lunch is embarrassing to boys and visitors.
The Hostel remained one House for all purposes under Mr. Walters came and brought with him the great G.L.C., to be joined soon after by "Dido," as all Old Boys still affectionately call Mr. H. H. W. Dickson, who came for a term and stayed 38 years. These two became House Masters of two of the three Houses into which Mr Walters with happy insight divided the Hostel, and for very many years these Houses were called Colbournes and Dicksons. For some years the Old Boys clamoured for names which would enable them to know which was their old House, and the thing reached a crisis when by a shift Hunts became Smiths and Smiths became Hunts; but no agreement could be reached as to the right nomenclature. I modestly lay claim to a brain-wave in the suggestion that Hostels Nos. 1 and 2 should become Colbourne and Dickson Houses respectively, and as Hostel No. 3, while the others had had two House Masters each, had indulged in the luxury of 17, was called Walters in commemoration of the separator.
Growth had begun from this end. The Hostel dining hall was added, which had first a window opening west and Mr. Walters raised the dormitories, which, though they had accommodated I believe as many as 120 without a sick-room or sanatorium, had been mere attics. The old Gymnasium was at the back on the site of the present one, and this at the time was the back of the whole school, which accounts for the Swimming Bath being built so far, forward; it was placed so as to hide unsightly out-buildings. But the Science wing and the new Gymnasium converted the back into the centre on which idea we have since worked. Our hope is that the Centenary effort will make possible the completion of the new kitchens and sick bay in continuation of the latest block, when the Dining Hail can be transferred, the Hostel re-cast and the quad cleared of temporary buildings. I hope, too, when we have been able to get rid of the present temporary change-rooms, that the cloisters may be restored. The first laboratory was in the room above the bath.
A word about the studies. They were first in the Tower, and gay tales are told by Old Boys of happenings up there, of geese (poached, I fear) cooked, of an inquisitive Junior master who violated the sanctuary and was neatly netted by a string lightly tied across the stairs. But the end came when the Principal of the day took some ladies up to inspect the studies and was met by a pet snake coming down. Then they were removed to the site behind the Tower block, which, with advantages had drawbacks, notably rats, which infested all the buildings till driven out by concrete floors. When we took up the floor of the old Dickson House room we, found, I think it was, 37 rats nests.
Our problem after the War was a difficult one, for with a rise in numbers of 100 in a year, more accommodation was urgently needed; but prices were violently fluctuating, and architects and contractors refused even to estimate costs. The huts, then used for the Junior School, and the Engineering side extension, were purchased from the staff quarters at the German Internment Camp of Knockaloe, and the Trustees by degrees bought eight out of the eleven houses on the Promenade. Raglan House was so called as the last official act as Governor performed by one of the best and sincerest friends the College has ever had, and its amenities have been enormously improved by the handsome gift of Trentham House for the House Master, made by Lady Reynolds in memory of her three stalwart sons, all Raglanites. Hangoside was opened just too late, for by then the slump had begun; but we hope when better times come that it will revive its honourable career.
By 1924 things had stabilised sufficiently to consider building, but, before starting, the Trustees had a complete lay-out made of an ultimate and final scheme. This included the block completed in 1926, of which the most impressive part is the Walker Library, named after Dr. J. M. Walker, O.K.W., then Vicar of Newark, who, besides other benefactions gave the handsome ceiling. The knobs are a present from Mr. George Brown, then foreman, which he worked himself in his spare time, and all our work is that of the College workmen, and the skill and devotion with which they serve the Collegesomething in the spirit of the old mediæval workmenwill be understood by anyone who makes a careful examination, starting with the Gymnasium floor, laid by old Hamilton, whom older Old Boys will remember. The War Memorial is to the design of an Old Boy, R. F. Dodd, architect of the new College in Oxford, St. Peters Hall, and is made of Cornish granite; and the residue over from that and the memorial window in Chapel was used to erect the western gateway. The western front when completed will duplicate the Science front. We can now have a real "lock up" after dark.
A new Armoury became necessary, as the old one was on the building site. it has been put behind the Bath, and when completed will provide on the ground floor a Gymnasium, so that the present Gymnasium can become only a Central Hall. Its present forbidding look is due to economy, but plans are laid by which when money is available it can be converted into a handsome building. The idea is to pull down the Fives Courts and throw open a wide space before the western front. The lay-out includes also a back Quad behind the Principals House, if it should ever be needed.
There will have to be a new Tuck-shopolder Old Boys, by the way, can still trace on the shore the foundations of "Mothers", and recall memories of potato-cakes and new Fives Courts. The Miniature Range on the shore is a memorial erected by Mr T. Eastwood to his two sons, Leslie and Donald Eastwood, who were killed in the war. We are just now starting on the Second XI Pavilion, a memorial to Mr. H. H. W. Dickson.
And the Playing Fieldsone of the greatest glories of the College ! Why did Bishop Barrow purchase just this estate ? Perhaps from its contiguity to the capital of the Island; perhaps for some prosaic reason, such as that it happened to be in the market. We should like to believe that with a Merlin vision he foresaw the goal-posts and the cricket pitches and had a glimpse into probably the prettiest sight the future was to bring forth, the fields on a summer day during "compulse." And with what sure instinct the first Principal marked out the lines of future progress ! "The Playground," he wrote in 1838, "is not satisfactory and is repeatedly complained of." But not now; and we who have come into our own in playing fields as royally as any school in the kingdom, should remember the constant effort to our predecessors our heritage has cost. Till 1899, the present second ground was the whole field, extended now to 15 acres, and we have been able to add the football ground behind the School House and the Junior grounds How different would it have been had the College been among the hills! The First XI Pavilion was built in 1902, by subscription. It is a great pity that the quarry whence came its beautiful slates is now exhausted.
Finally, a word about the Chapel. I have heard tell that the first intention was to build the walls double their present height, which would have much improved the acoustic properties, further marred by the heavy stone-work at the chancel, but that funds ran short. One could have wished, too, that it had been put in the field to the east and orientated right, thereby avoiding the worst of the winds. Incidentally it may be noted that the chancel arch fell flat down while it was building, and. only a few years ago, an abnormal windfortunately in the holidays nearly took the roof completely off. But it is firmly fixed now, and no fears need be entertained It has been decorated with singular grace by Mr. C. C. Gray, of Cambridge, and the scheme of windows deserves close observation. The last, St. George and Arthur, is part of the War Memorial, and of it I must tell one of my very few grumbles against the Trustees. I wanted the figures of Foch and Haig, but was not allowed my wish. The pulpit is the gift of Dr. J. M. Wilson.
The College is a monument of finance. The executive was first left to the Principal and a bursar chosen from the staff, but, in 1880, the Trustees appointed Mr. Christopher to the full-time office of Secretary to the Trustees and bursar combined. His sailorly efficiency and tact live in the memory of those who knew him. At his death, in 1911, Mr. G. L. Colbourne, Senior Mathematical Master, was chosen to succeed, and I can testify from personal knowledge to the uncalculated debt we owe him. He is the straightest man I have ever known, and one of the wisest, and he could differ without offending. His first task was to break in a new Principal and then direct the business side of the College, first through the War and then through the too quick expansion which followed It is to Mr. Colbourries unerring judgment we owe it that so few mistakes were made. But, if any man ever did, he sacrificed himself to the School. The Office gas would generally be burning up to 1 or 2 in the morning, and he refused all help until Prosperity was assured.
When he resigned, in 1925, he continued to give invaluable aid as a co-opted Trustee, and still, though failing eyesight compelled him to give that post up too, he remains among us, a loved and venerated figure, whose shrewd advice we are very glad to have. In his successor we are lucky in having both an Old Boy and a bursar whose drive and business capacity have brought about the great renovation visible about the School. But, in 1924, it was realised that the executive and the operation of the major account of the School were too much for the Principal and bursar, and the administration has been much improved by a standing Executive Committee of the Trustees. This was suggested by H.M. Attorney-General (Mr. Ramsey B. Moore), who, as chairman of it, has proved its utility.
The executive has been no small responsibility, for Bishop Wards efforts to get an endowment failed. Gifts and bequests followed, generous in relation to the donors but inadequate to meet the immense capital outlay required, and very largely tied up with current liabilities for scholarships, exhibitions and prizes.
The total income of the estate, if the endowments borrowed were still held and invested at 4½ per cent., would amount now to £2,036 2s. 6d; the actual yield in 1928, taken as a typical year, was £947 12s. 6d. The difference is due partly to the leave obtained by the Trustees to sink the second Noble bequest of £10,000 in the new buildings, on condition of maintaining from College funds, i.e. , from fees, the seven Noble scholarships of £60 each a year, and partly by the inevitable continuance of the process of borrowing the endowment and replacing it by a sinking fund. There has never been a time when such a sinking fund has not been a charge on the income, and a new one was generally opened before the last was completed. I find records of such transactions in 1832, 1836, 1849, 1875, 1879, 1887, 1894 and 1922, and I do not feel sure that the list is complete.
I have traced back the capital expenditure to the beginning, but cannot find figures for the period 1868-76, which included the first Laboratory, the laying on of gas and water, I think the first Gymnasium, and the cost of elevating the Hostel dormitories. The total of the recorded items amounts to £70,868 6s. 4d., which does not include expenditure in the Playing Fields nor equipment. One may conjecture that the building of the College has in all cost well over £100,000.
How has it been paid for ? From the start the total capital available to be sunk without replacement has amounted only to £15,008 8s. 6d., and beyond this the cost has had to be met by recurrent borrowings and sinking funds. There must, I calculate, have been altogether profits of over £70,000 put to capital account, and this alone is a guarantee of the vitality of the College.
In the post-war period the Trustees were faced, as has been seen, with the immediate need of very heavy expenditure, amounting in all to £21,413 14s. 4d., as recorded, and, adding to it amounts credited to income, not less than £30,000 in all. For besides other things, the belated work has been going forward of modernizing the old building and re-facing the stone-work which, on artistic grounds, had been of a porous stone that wears away, instead of the fine lasting limestone from Scarlett, used in all new buildings. Large parts of the front have had to be taken down and entirely rebuilt. In addition to this, a capital sum amounting now to nearly £10,000 has been invested for the Pensions Fund.
Towards this the Trustees had, as has been said, the Noble second endowment of £10,000, and the balance, apart from one not excessive sinking fund, has accrued from profits during the years of boom. But it is clear that further capital expenditure on a large scale cannot be risked without a capital sum to meet it, and it is for this purpose that the Centenary appeal has been made. Comparing the College as it is with the College as described by Mr. Wilson in its infancy, its growth is wonderful, and the more so as fees have always been low and must always he lower than on the mainland to counter the handicap of the sea. Nor, fortunately, can money he saved for capital expenditure, as was immorally done in most schools during the last century, by starving the staff. Schoolmasters are content, compared to some professions, with small incomes, but they must be adequate.
We are looking for help from our Old Boys, but we should appreciate, too, help from the Island. The Barrow Estate was bought and the first Chapel built by English money; the profits made have been from English sources; the College is a free gift from England to the Island, made without conditions. May we, now that the need arises, hope for such support from the Island as it is able to give? If so, the second century of the Schools existence should be one of progress as steady as was the first.
In only two respects, so far as I can find, has the administration of the Trust been publicly called in question since the College was founded.
At Convocation in 1888, Bishop Bardsley spake un-advisedly with his lips, and, not having studied the documents, claimed that the clergy had the right of free education for their sons. It was well he did, for, in refuting the contention, Sir James Gell has left behind one of the most valuable existing studies of the Trust.
The first Principal had raised a fund for the purpose, and, when it was exhausted, the Housemasters took the clergys sons free of cost. In 1865, the Trustees took over the boarding finance and established the still existing Clergy Scholarships, which are, however, merely reductions of fees, for no funds exist to meet them. All this was done of grace, not of duty, as Sir James Gell has shown.
In February, 1919, suspicions became vocal which had long been murmured, and a member of the House of Keys contended that funds meant for Manx boys were being used for English boys. There is nothing surprising about this, for the same belief prevails about every Public School in every locality. Bradby, in the "Lanchester Tradition," describes it humorously. He pictures a typical, though imaginary, Public School in a small country town which draws much profit from it. "Notwithstanding this bond of union," he says, "there is a traditional feeling of hostility on the part of the town to the School. This is due, in part, to the fact that the School people are supposed to look down on the town people, but still more to a widely prevalent belief that, somehow or other, the School has defrauded the town of the founders benefactions. As this belief is entirely without foundation, it is likely to be lasting."
I in no way resented this discussion, for it is important that the public should have jealous guardians of their rights. I replied in a letter to "The Isle of Man Times," of which I sent a copy to each member of the House, inviting to a friendly conference anyone who still had doubts. As I had no replies and the matter dropped, I suppose they were satisfied.
But it is well to understand exactly how far the Manx people does benefit by the College. The total amount of endowments for open scholarships, exhibitions and prizes is £202 12s. all open scholarships beyond this, and amounting in 1928 to £410, are provided from "College funds", i.e., fees. For all these Manx boys have an equal chance with English boys in open competition; and Manx applicants have always special consideration for the bursaries at reduced rates which have recently been adopted. In addition, there are the clergy scholarships, the Manx reduction and the close scholarships. These last are always awarded in strict accordance with the terms of the gift or bequest. They are not, as in England, thrown open pro hac vice, if there is no eligible candidate, but held over until one appears.
In 1928 the total Manx benefit was as follows:
By Close Scholarships
£475 0 0
Two Clergy Scholarships
20 0 0
£450 0 0
Twenty-three Day Boys
230 0 0
680 0 0
308 0 0
£1,483 0 0
In that year, after deducting £324 14s. 2d. for rates and maintenance of the Estatesan unusually low figure the total yield of it was £622 18s. 4d. , and even if the Estate were less encumbered, the yield of the endowment would often be almost exhausted by the Manx benefit; and again it must be emphasised that Manx boys can be educated at King Williams at fees vastly lower than they would be paying in any English School of corresponding status only because its prestige attracts boys from the mainland. This point has always been stressed when applications to mortgage the estate have been made to Tynwald, and from that dim region where builders of the past watch while their dreams come true, one seems to hear the Great Earl murmuring, "I had a design, and God may enable me, to set up a Universitie, without much charge (as I have contrived it) which may much oblige the nations round about. It may get friends into the country and enrich the land."
The finance of the School depends of course on numbers, for the law of mass production rules in every form of business. Early records are lacking and could only be traced with very great difficulty, but we have them from 1882 onwards. They then varied between 140 and 238; the top figure was reached in Dr. Hughes-Games day. I took the School over in January 1913, at 143, and though numbers began to rise, they had, owing to the War, sunk again by December, 1915, to 140. After that there was a continuous rise to 218 at the Armistice, and 312 in 1925. it was this increase which rendered the structural expansion and other increased costs possible to meet. The slump began in the end of 1925, for the College is an index of trade in the North of England. That we have in such exceptional duress been able to maintain an average round about 270 is, I think, a good augury for the future; and one factor must be remembered. A school looks primarily to its Old Boys for support, and we are being nobly backed by them. We have cases of three generations, and the number of sons of Old Boys increases every year. They are a contingent that we value in every way. But for 90 years the College ran on an average of 180 boys, and now that we want a minimum of 260 to be comfortable on the new basis, it must necessarily take time to develop the recruiting ground. But the signs are hopeful.
And what is the numerical objective ? Not indiscriminate expansion; that would be unwise, for violent fluctuations are difficult things to deal with. And beyond a certain limit a school changes its character. The House, rather than the School, becomes the dominant factor. House esprit de corps is a great thing, but it needs the corrective of the wider school outlook, and that tends to be lost with too great numbers. So I have always been rather inclined to the smaller school, wherein office holders-and it is in office that the highest value is gotcan have the School sense as well as the House sense, and where intimacy with the senior masters, a great education, is possible for all leaders. On the other hand, below a certain figure it becomes hard to maintain an efficient organisation. One of my ideals has been to equalise the numbers of all Houses so as to put competition on an equality. We find that the time available for matches is fully occupied with the present number of Houses, so, to define, my notion is to have round about 40 each in the existing seven Houses, or, if Hango can with improving trade re-open, eightthat is a total of 280 to 320. The last figure I should put as my maximum, hut the organisation works satisfactorily a. good deal below it, and numbers are really the worst test of a schools merit. There have been great eras at College in the past with very much lower numbers.
There is one point that is interesting to watch, the distribution between Island and other boys. In all, from its opening, 5, 102 boys have been entered on the register,of whom 1,339 have been from the Island and 3,763 from elsewhere, a ratio of 1 to 2.8. In recent years the ratio has tended to change in favour of the Island, and it now stands at 1 to 1.6. Of this we are glad, partly because we hope it indicates an increase of Island prosperity,partly because it draws tighter the bond of union between us and the land of our scholastic birth.
The College was to serve a dual purpose, and the idea germinating in the minds of its originators will, I think, be clear; nor have the Trustees of the Barrow Fund been wholly unsuccessful in carrying it into effect. It was to he the top rung in the Insular scheme of education; it was to go as far as a school could go towards the "academical" goal; and it was to help the finances of a small community by attracting boys from across the water. This it was eminently fitted to do when you consider its unrivalled site, its climate and the attractions of the country; and the hope has been realised.
They have always borne in mind the appeal of Mr. Wilson, to bring it as far as possible within the means of "ye Manx talented youth who are almost universally poor," and have been helped by gifts and bequests for the purpose. But as early as 1850 it was realized that these required supplementing and twenty free Foundation Scholarships for Manx boys were instituted. They were "Foundation" only in name, for the cost of them was met by the masters foregoing their claims in respect of them. In 1867, a somewhat vague proposal was made for "affiliation" by the Grammar Schools, which the Trustees met by assigning two free scholarships to the Grammar Schools of Castletown, Ramsey and Peel, and to the Middle School of Douglas. About 1906, a further experiment was made with free or almost free scholarships both to the Secondary and Elementary schools; but the scheme was ill-digested and had lapsed before my time. They now try to meet the need by bursaries, and. are anxious to bring the College within the means of all Manx boys who are qualified to profit by it; but, as will now be clear, finance is a serious difficulty, and their ability to extend the system depends on their having funds from other sources to help in the cost.
The advantage to the Island of having within it a school not wholly Manx is set out in the application to Tynwald for leave to raise a loan on mortgage in 1836, words which Sir James Gell said in 1893 were "as applicable to the present time as they were in 1836"; and they are not less applicable today.
"In order to obtain masters duly qualified," they wrote, "you must hold out to them a sufficient inducement, i.e., an adequate remuneration. The inhabitants of this Island could not furnish a sufficient number of boys to provide that remuneration. It has, therefore, been devised that, while strangers furnish the bulk of remuneration to the masters, the native youths are receiving the benefits of the superior education which these masters are able to afford.
"It is highly desirable for the Manx youths that they should be brought into competition with youths out of their own country. In order to the full development of talent, and therefore to the success of education, some degree of competition is necessary, but in order to have competition you must have number and variety. In King Williams College there is a mixture of four nations, and from the numbers which compose that mixture almost every variety of talent is obtained."
AN ISLAND SCHOOL IN WAR-TIME.
[From The Barrovian No. 119, March, 1919.]
The above curve is the best answer we can give to the question, often put to us, "How has the war affected the College ?" for though in normal times numbers are not the only or the best test of prosperity, they provide a working index of the U-boat blockade as it has concerned us. Our experience is probably unique among Public Schools, and it may be of interest, now that the naval censorship is withdrawn, to record some things on which "Dora" [Defence of the Realm Act] previously bade us be silent.
Our curve follows the general line in Public Schools, though the recovery was retarded until such time as the waning fear of the U-boat was finally over-balanced by the spreading news that there was "corn in Egypt," or, rather, meat in the land of Mona.
At first we listened securely to the distant clash of arms there were those who even took refuge among us from the early raids on the Yorkshire coastand contributed our personal quantum by conducting aliens to the internment camps, conveyed over to Douglas by motor cars at 5am. One good story of those days must not be allowed to die. A large German, kept in line on the Victoria Pier by the bayonet of a very small cadet, now holding H.M. commission, asked, insultingly, "Are you a sprout?" "No," was the proud answer, "Im an O.T.C." But our troubles began on February 18th, 1915, and some 30 boys remained on the Island for the Easter holidays. In those days we did not understand, among other things, the long range from their bases at which submarines could operate, and it was thought that they might effect a landing somewhere near Santon and march overland to Castletown, where was oil, raiding the armoury on the way. Hence peremptory orders came one afternoon that the O. T.C. should mount guard day and night over the College, but no more serious affray occurred than a sentry, at 11p.m. , holding up the Principal, who did not know the password. He did not run him in. What a chance missed
It is noteworthy that only one boy was removed during the whole war for fear of submarines, but entries during 1915 fell towards vanishing point. By the summer of 1916 the recovery had begun, and there seemed grounds for greater confidence. The early submarines, being small, could not get through the nets of the Northern channel, and when they dashed up from the south their course could be traced by airships. It was known that the Admiral at Liverpool personally regulated every sailing of the Isle of Man boats, stopping them when he thought there was risk. Our route was off the main danger points of ocean traffic, and on a protected route, while our steamers were not worth a torpedo, and a U-boat rising to the surface for gunfire would run serious risks of being sunk. More than anything else, however, the opinion grew that the Germans would not sink the Isle of Man steamer if they could. The export of foodstuffs from the Island was prohibited, and so far from helping the supplies of England, these boats were bringing food and many articles of value for 20,000 Germans interned at Douglas and at Knockaloe. Stories are current, probably substantially true, that the directors, asked by the Imperial Government to camouflage their ships, replied that they did not want them sunk by mistake for another boat, and that a U-boat captain sent his compliments by a captured fisherman to the captain of the "Fenella," and asked to be allowed to point out that his propeller was out of order -which turned out to be the case. At any rate, the Isle of Man steamers ran throughout the war with few interruptions, at scheduled times, with red funnels, and without mishap.
But a mine is a different thing from a torpedoit does not discriminate. Ordinarily, indeed, there was a large measure of security in the marvellous development of mine-sweeping, for the enemy had to sow their mines at night, and our boats sailed each day only after the course had been thoroughly swept. The plan, however, adopted by the Germans in 1917 was to end the war in a few months by sowing mines indiscriminately in the mouths of all our portsonly so could they get prey enough and quick enough. Eighteen submarines operated off Liverpool, of which, in three weeks, we destroyed fourteen. Our Admiralty were annoyed that they could not get the remaining four, but, by April, the German Admiralty must have known that this too expensive mode of attack had failed.
While it lasted it was serious enough. Submarines sailed up at night, dropping mines. Our boats sailed irregularly : for 48 hours one of them was kept outside the Mersey, and, just when things seemed to be getting better, an American steamer blew up within a mile of the Tynwald, which rescued her crew and pas sengers. A snowstorm was raging, and the victim was out of the Admiralty course. But what happened to one ship might have happened to another, and this was the occasion when the College spent the Easter holidays on the Island. After that the U-boats had to go further afield for victims.
It is remarkable that the "ruthless blockade" did not stop the upward curve of numbers. Von Tirpitz never said a more ominous thing for Germany than that the war would be won by the strongest nerves. "My boy," wrote one father, "will continue to cross the sea so long as there is one boat afloat flying the Union jack." "He will be very disappointed," wrote another, "if he does not see a submarine." "I have chosen the school I mean to send my boy to, and I am not going to be debarred by the Germans," said the father of a new boy, crossing on a day when all the ports in the Irish Sea were closed, and the Isle of Man boat, escorted by a destroyer, was the only boat allowed out. We draw from a virile stock, and the College cannot be too grateful, not only for their confidence, but that it was not misplaced.
We could tell of other things, too, not recorded in the official news, of torpedoed mariners fed, clothed, and provided with smokes, of German sailors hats adorning Hostel studies, of the "Celtic" beached at Peel, of Z34, which found that by landing on College field it could get lunch, how jealously it kept the secret from other airships, and of official wrath descending on the too zealous Photographer ; but the paper shortage is still with us we must close. We can, at least say of the War, Cuinsparsquanulacunquefiuimus.
Since the war, educational progress has been speeded UP in the Island. There had been a private Art School in Douglas from 1879, and when the Eastern District Secondary School was established it came under the regulations first of South Kensington and then of the Board of Education. It was fortunate in having as its headmaster, from 1903 to 1921, Mr. F. R. Grundey, now Director of Education, and made itself a name which has been maintained. But expansion only came with the Act of 1920 centralising the Local Authority and giving it the same powers as authorities in England had got under the Balfour Act of 1902. They have wasted no time, and now the Island has three Secondary Schools of which it is justly proud, the High Schools for Boys and Girls, now separated, and the reconstituted Ramsey Grammar School. In 1929, the Council of Education exercised its powers in subsidising the Buchan School for Girls, in Castletown, which already had an honourable career of fifty years behind it, and there is every reason to hope a still more honourable future under its new constitution.
No one who appreciates the trend of events will grudge the heavy expenditure involved in developing an up-to-date system of education, for opportunity in the new age means educational opportunity. It was inevitable, as happened in England, that it should have reactions on the College, and that which we most regret is that, temporarily I believe, it has seriously reduced competition for the close scholarships. We look, as heretofore, to the "Manx talented youth" to provide the nucleus of our intellectual distinctions, and we can certainly not less than in the past open the door of careers to them. To the endowed University Exhibitions the K.W.C. Lodge of Freemasons has generously added another, and supplementary assistance is given by the K.W.C. Society and Archdeacon Moores fund for poor students. It requires now only County Major Scholarships open to all poor boys at any school, and not allocated to any particular University, to put Manx boys on an equality with English boys. As the mists clear away after the first bewilderment, I think it will become clear that the College has an important place in the local system, and that it is as essential now as ever.
The population of the Island is 52,000, and, to compare it with two areas I happen to know intimately, York with 80,000 and Oxford with 57,000, have both four higher grade schools. They are compact areas; we are most diffused. The more concentrated an area is the fewer schools it needs to serve it and the less the cost per head. For, as is indicated in the Local Authoritys first survey, the cost per head rises about £8 to £10 in schools with under 150 pupils, and capital expenditure is duplicated. On the other hand, long railway or bus journeys cost money, involve loss of time and nervous energy to pupils, and have other serious drawbacks. Further, at the supplementary stage, the two areas I have quoted are well supplied with Technical schools, and can get University aid, for York is close to Leeds. We have made a start with Technical education, but it is a formidable task; incidentally, one branch of it is served by the engineering side at College, more developed than is usual in a school.
This first survey was a business-like effort on the part of the new Authority to review the field of their activities. Much had to be done to provide even for present needs, and they recognised what I said at the start, that education has not reached a static position and the needs of the future will increase. They wisely resisted a suggestion that had been made to concentrate Secondary Education in Douglas, and, despite criticism, we cannot doubt that they are right in providing Ramsey with an up-to-date building, for what Thring called "the almighty wall" rules in education. One sympathises with the Peel people, who want a school of their own, but stern economic fact seems to rule it out. So the Authority was wisely content to start with two Secondary Schools, a number, however, as will be clear from the figures I have given above, inadequate to put the Island on a basis of equal competition with the mainland.
Two problems are frankly faced in this Report, but their solution was inevitably postponed while the more urgent needs were provided for; one was the South, too scattered and aloof to be served wholly from Douglas; the other was the post-Matriculation stage. For some time they recognised that their own schools outside Douglas could not cater for boys above 16, the average matriculation age, although the Ramsey Grammar School has in fact already advanced to a higher stage. This is the real crux of the problem, for with it is involved that of opportunity for clever children. As things are now moving, a matriculation certificate, now almost a sine qua non, does not of itself guarantee even a moderate job, and the numbers who hold it are increasing and "mechanisation" in its strictest sense is being applied to business. A machine is doing in banks what used to be done by a clerk, and the invention will doubtless spread to other businesses. Opportunity is going to depend on other thingsa higher standard of education, and, above all, developed personality, for you cant give personality to a machine.
It is a technical point, and I must apologise if I dwell on it a little at length. Post-matriculation teaching is becoming highly specialized and differentiated. There will, in such areas as York or Oxford, be courses available to anyone who wants them up to higher certificate and scholarship standard in three groups, viz., Latin, Greek, French, German and Spanish; mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, geology, and biology; history, geography, and literature. At College we have specialist teachers in all these. To omit any may be a grave handicap for someone. For instance, botany and geology open some good Government and trade appointments, such as Woods and Forests, Timber, etc. ; biology is essential for medicine; modern languages open the Consular Service and many trade appointments, especially Spanish in South America. There is also the question of University scholarships so vital now that the cost of all Universities has risen. There are comparatively few scholarships offered for competition at any Universities except Oxford and Cambridge, and one should add the London Hospitals. The keenest competition is in mathematics and science, for these are generally the subjects in which Secondary Schools specialize. The best opportunities for a scholarship at Oxford and Cambridge are in classics and history, the latter involving a post-matriculation standard in Latin, as a rule. And for a chance in these subjects boys need intensive teaching in smaller classes lower down as the usual form teaching for matriculation is not enough. This involves duplication of teachers and so higher cost. And at the post-matriculation stage the teachers will be specialists at the higher rate both of salary and pension.
So great is the drain financially that the Board of Educations custom is to restrict specialization in many schools which they control to one or two courses. This is a severe injustice to individuals, for it cuts off certain careers and may deprive a boy of the only opportunity open to him. It does not follow that a clever boy can star in every subject. It would have been a tragedy if T. E. Brown had been confronted with the alternatives of mathematics, which he hated, and science, for which he had no aptitude. It was through the classics at the College that he got the chance to become what he did become, and judging, by past records, the Manx temperament expands particularly in the literary direction; we have a long list of Manx classical scholars. Restriction of educational opportunity is the epitaph on the grave of "mute, inglorious Miltons." "Minorities must suffer; tis the badge of their tribe," said Birrell, introducing of all things in the world an Education Bill; but that is an abandoned view of democracy. The true democracy does not level down, but up, providing a ladder by which the fittestalways a minoritymay rise. I often think it is a pity we cannot provide, too, a fire-escape by which the unfit may painlessly slide down.
It would be clearly impossible for the Authority to provide easily accessible courses in all districts and in all these subjects; and yet talent does not distribute itself geographically Three schools fully equipped would be the least that would suffice, and to provide all these courses even in one would he an added financial burden
An alternative, contemplated as a possibility in the report, is to make one of them a Boarding School and centralize all higher teaching in it. But this would be very costly. Apart from capital expenditure there would be heavy charges for maintenance, for with brains nature does not provide the ability to pay fees, and it is unlikely that the deficit would be made up by other fee-paying pupils. Those able to afford them would in the main continue to send their sons to Public Schools. Over the water there is more than an ample supply of schools, and, to be quite frank, there is no instance on record of a provided school becoming a Public School.
One more factor counts. For the healthy life of boarders playing fields are essential, and Douglas, where most naturally the highest grade school would be located, is, owing to its contours, unsuited for this purpose.
The obvious solution seems to be that the College should continue to play its traditional part in Insular education, not as a rival to the Secondary Schools, but as complementary to them. The two systems run on parallel lines, both essential like the infantry and the artillery, and we of the College have watched with sympathy the progress of our younger brothers. We applaud their successes; we have only one complaint to make of them, that they have abandoned the traditional Manx game of Rugby football, for we should like to meet them on the field.
The South wants a school which, if provided, would cost now to maintain close on £30 a head per annum, without interest and sinking fund on capital expenditure, and about £8 to £10 more if under 150 pupils. For Manx boys the cost at College for day-boys is £18 in the Lower, and £20 in the Middle and Upper Schools, these fees including games, swimming, and a few other things which are not counted in official estimates. These fees are, of course, above what is paid in a subsidized school, but it should be possible to devise means for reducing them for suitable boys who were unable to pay.
And the two other Insular needs the College already meets. There is a staff of specialist teachers in all the subjects, including those which it would be hardest and most costly to provide elsewhere; and it is a boarding school, fully equipped and with splendid playing fields. Manx boys even without scholarships or bursaries pay an inclusive fee which is about two-thirds only of what would be paid in any school in England of this type. And it has been provided free of cost to the Island.
It must, if it is to continue a Public School, retain its independent government, though there is no reason why the principle of representation should not be extended as it is in England. But, to utilise the College, even if it meant the provision of scholarships and bursaries, would be far the cheapest solution of the difficult Island problem.
This is a suggestion only, and an individual suggestion, committing no one but myself and made irresponsibly just as I am resigning office. But I have always thought that the College was eminently fitted to belong to the schools of class C which I scheduled above. (Page 18.)
It would require time and thought to work the scheme out, and to operate it would need sympathetic Co-operation among the schools drafting boys to one or the other according to their bent. But it has been done elsewhere with success, and I have great confidence in the native shrewdness of the Manx people as shown through the ages. To them I commend the idea for their consideration.
In one other way it has always been my dream to see the College carrying on its "academical" tradition, and I am more than interested to find I was anticipated by no less a man than the great T. E. Brown. In his application for the post of Vice-Principal at the College, he wrote : "My principal motive is the discharge of a duty I owe to the Island of my birth, and to the place of my education. Should it be in my power to promote the cause of sound Christian education in the Isle of Man (than which I am deeply Conscious that no other can be effectual for the real improvement of our common country), I shall deem myself singularly happy in having used my humble ability in communicating to such a movement any healthy impulse, however partial, however inchoate." (Memorial Volume, page 26.) It is in this spirit that I have encouraged my colleagues to give lectures about the Island, educational and musical to T.E.B., music was of the essence of lifeand have myself done what I could. I retain for instance happy memories of evenings spent with the Wesley Guilds; and I had hoped to see the W.E.A. floated on the Island, in which effort my colleagues had promised to co-operate with me. For, as I have said, the sea cuts us severely off from contact with Universities and compels us to make our own culture. I cannot but hope that in the future a common effort among all the schools may put adult education on a more organised footing.
But what is "Cullege," anyway ? The question may well be asked by those who do not know it from the inside, for the amphibious animal is never quite easy to understand one, as the showman put it, "which cant live on the land and dies in the water." Just so one might conceive sheep-dogs sniffing suspiciously round a half-bred Alsatian thrust in to help them in their work. May I try to explain one or two points about it, for it is the Islands school?
It is an economic asset to the Island. Our not inconsiderable turnovertrebled in the past 12 yearsis spent almost entirely on the Island. We employ a large staff of local workmen and servants; when we build we build of local stone with local labour; both staff and boys spend largely on the Island, and we attract a constant stream of visitors, not seasonal, who stay in hotels,boarding-houses and lodgings, and spend freely. In conveying the handsome donation of £500 from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company to the Centenary Fund, the Chairman of the Line expressly said that "the amount was no more than a very small percentage of the profit accruing to the Company through the College." This in days when prosperity is drifting south is worth consideration.
And while, Janus like, we have two heads, one looking over the sea, the other gazes steadily on the Island, whose lure no one who lives here even a year or two can fail to catch; it is this that brings our old boys back in troops. And though by the mere force of mathematics the English element must always exceed the Manx, never has the Island contingent been stronger than now. They number over a third of the school; they have had this year eight out of twelve praepositors; they provide five out of the eight heads of the Houses, and most of the important offices, including Head of the School, Captain of the XV, Battalion SM. of the O.T.C., Captain of swimming and shoooting (all of these with three Heads of Houses, Manx boys born and bred), Captain of the XI, Secretary and Treasurer of the Musical Club, Secretary and Treasurer of the Scientific Society, Secretary of the Debating Society, and Editor of the "Barrovian." At the moment the school is being run by Island boys mainly, and that by the mere accident of merit, for we take nothing else into consideration in such appointments.
We are proud to be adoptive Manxmen and, after the T. E.B. Centenary, shall be better able to interpret the Island to "foreigners." We are pleased to welcome the Home-comers; we are ready at any time to sing "Ellan Vannin" or the Manx National Anthem, or the Manx Fishermans hymn, when called on; and once when five boysonly one, the then head of the School, Manxwere at the Duke of Yorks Camp, and national songs of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland were sung at a sing-song, our contingent indignantly protesting that one of the five nations had been left out, were duly called on to sing "Ellan Vannin" next night. Of course, a Manx boy will not always like being chaffed for his accent"jes the shy"-but "a jolly good thing, too," said one Manx boy, "for it cures us"; and Lancashire, Birmingham and Cockney boys get just the same treatment. One needs in speech as in other things to be a citizen of the Empire, and as a fact Manx boys are just as able to hold their own as any others. And we are pleased at any part we can take in the life of the Island, proud to provide a Guard of Honour to His Excellency on Tynwald Day, to provide "specials" for the T.T. Races, and Scouts to work the clocks when other Scouts are not available. We are pleased to see visitors at matches and other athletic functions and at our entertainments so far as space allows. We take, believe me, more part in local life than is done by most schools of our class; only we would have you remember that life is very busy, we have work to do and we cant risk introducing infection into so intensive a community.
What I have said. may indicate some of our inside activities, and there are many more, for a modern boarding school can only be satisfactorily run on two principles. One is to have as many voluntary occupations as possible going, so that in that spare time which everyone has a right to have there may be something in which he is interested to do, for "the Devil gets his recruits from boredom." Scouting has come to our aid here. The other is to do as much as possible for ourselves. It is much more interesting, things get better done with plenty of people to help, it leads to efficiency, and we need in these hard times to learn simplicity of life. All school bells are rung by boys, each in turn having about three days at it, continued if he does it wrong. An old boy who had sent his son to the College once wrote to say he was surprised to find that boys still did menial offices, like ringing the bell. I answered that it was so, and would be as long as I held control. To be bell prefect is the making of a boy; it teaches him to put the job through punctually, and what better education can you have than that?
In these and other ways College never has been, and never, I hope, will be, an "exclusive class school." From its birth there has been a long and honourable line of boys who have climbed the ladder through it and emerged at the top. For boyhood is not "snobby" unless it is trained to be so, and everyone takes his stand on his own merits, not on his fathers position.
Finallyto let out a secretthe modern boy, because more busy, is less naughty than we were at his age. He is not a little angel"thank God ! " as T.E.B. might have saidand we sometimes hear amusing tales, generally about "five years" later. There was, for instance, the "League of the Wooden Lady"but no, I must not let out secrets. On the other hand, when I was a boy, and considered, I believe, rather a good one, we used, having nothing else to do to amuse ourselvesbut again, perhaps, silence is golden.
Well, its a great game, the game of school, played in a sporting spirit on both sides. Im sorry to have to go on the touch-line, but its a mistake to go on playing after the limbs begin to get stiff; and I shall, I hope, be on the touch-line.
I would like in a "swan-song" to be allowed to say freely what is in my mind on a subject whose importance, I know, no words of mine are needed to stress to the Manx people.
I have just been reading a letter from one of the many applicants for the post of Principal, a layman. "I consider," he says, "that religion comes first in education." Bishop Wilson went further. To him, as I have said, religion and education were an inseparable unity, and that is why it is now so difficult a task to separate educational and religious endowments. in the 17th century there could be only one basis for education, that of the Church as established by law in the land; and King Williams College, founded upon the Barrow Trust, was, therefore, and must remain, a "Church of England" school.
But tolerance slowly won its way, and the "Non-conformists" became the "Free Churches." Inevitably for some time after the fight (in which the Church must bear her share of blame), points of difference - those points over which the battle had raged hottest - loomed large, and liberty of Conscience was jealously guarded. So came the era of the "Conscience clause" and the movement to the left in the secularization of education with the "godless" schools. Compromise was found in "undenominationalism," and we have seen how in the Island the bitterness and the worst consequences of the struggle have been avoided. To me it seems that here as in other things, as the mists clear away and the salient features of the landscape appear, we shall find that we are moving into a new country where the things that divided are losing their significance and those that unite all professing Christians loom ever larger. Organic reunion of the Churches may yet be a long way off, but writing in this year of the Lambeth Conference, with the picture in mind of Indias striving for unity, we are, as it seems to me, where the nations were when the consciousness of a great peril brought monarchies and republics, Latins and Nordics, Europeans, Americans, Africans, Asiatics and Australasians, together in a concordat where minor quarrels were silenced and the ranks closed against a common foe.
And the perils attending disunion are not less at home than abroad, for our common faith, not in creed only, but in ethics is being challenged by what can only be described as a new religion, the first serious rival to the Christian faith since the Renaissance failed to revive Paganism.
And it spreads by education, formal or informal, for Bishop Barrows instinct was right and education is and must be religious. Religion, by derivation, means a "binding," and that which binds us in our outlook on life is our religion equally whether it is belief or atheism. The classics persuade Hellenism, or the worship of the beautiful; science, whose diffusion is the most characteristic feature of modern education, tends to a mechanistic, and so to a materialistic, outlook. It is true that there is a reaction among the greatest scientific men of today, but popular opinion always lags behind discovery. It suggests a blind élan vital as the creative force, experimenting with extravagant profuseness in types and individuals, none having permanent value or existence, each in turn scrapped as a new type appears, better because fitter to survive. As Tennysons frightened spirit in the days when geology held the first place in modern science put it:
For Nature lends such evil dreams;
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life.
So careful of the type ? But no,
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She criesA thousand types are gone
I care for nothing. All shall go
(In Memoriaim 1850.)
There seems here no place for a creed based on a belief in immortality. And the new psychology has completed the disintegration by disintegrating the soul. "It is certainly not the fashion any longer," says one of the acutest assessors of "modernity" (Lippmann, "A Preface to Morals," page 114), "to think of the soul as a little lord ruling the turbulent rabble of the carnal passions; the constitutional form in popular psychology is republican. But each impulse may invoke the Bill of Rights, and have its way if others will let it. As Bertrand Russell has put it, A single desire is no better and no worse than any other. . . . Morality becomes thus a traffic code designed to keep as many desires as possible moving together without too many violent collisions." Conscience resolved into the "herd complex" has lost, like all other idols of the past, its authority. "The modern man is unable any longer to think of himself as a single Personality approaching an everlasting judgment." Impulse rules, and he drifts where the strongest impulse carries him, and purpose seems to have gone out of life. It is true, as Lippmann notes, that the more thoughtful of the rising generation are uneasy, "disillusioned with rebellion," feeling a need to believe but having nothing they feel they can believe, for the reconstruction long overdue has not yet come. And the more thoughtless multitudes revel in their emancipation, "still exhilarated by their escape from some stale orthodoxy." And this cult of "self-expression" is broadcast in popular literature, subtly permeating by a medium far more potent than any pulpit. This lies behind all the more obvious causes of empty churches.
Popular sentiment has been shocked by the "Godless campaign" in Russia, itself a religion, for it binds its devotees with a fanatic fervour as compelling as that which lit the fires of Smithfields, and though nothing was more unfair than the ignorant identification of Socialism with Atheism, strongholds exist in England of Atheistic-Communism. The great danger, however, is the sub-conscious absorption of the new teaching in its more refined forms.
It is not religious creeds only, nor the common social codes, that are menaced. As Streeter says ("Primitive Church," page 195), "It is always in regard to the ethics of sex that antinomianism (i.e., the rebellion against conventions) is primarily in revolt"; and how definitely this is so may be seen from such a book as Bertrand Russells "Marriage and Morals," contemplating the final decay of the family, the breeding f children on eugenic principles in State institutions, and "free love" made moral. It is the more serious because, for all our discussions on the subject, few parents face it, and we have not even made a start towards a rational and national system of sex education.
The surprising thing is that, passing from school into this atmosphere, so many of our young men and women retain a radically wholesome outlook on life; but it is high time the churches composed their domestic differences and set about an organised anti-propaganda. No battle was ever won by hiding your head in the sand.
The Roman Catholic Church, unyielding in its traditions, holds the front trenches and is making many recruits by its staunchness. Behind are Christian forces adequate to win a complete victory once they marshal themselves for the fight.
These are the reasons why I should deplore anything that makes for the weakening of a religious basis in any of our schools.
To return from the general to the particular. The advent of the Free Churches laid a great responsibility on the older religious foundations. New foundations had every right to be "denominational"a word that had no meaning in the days of uniformitybut the old foundations were national institutions. They were boundas was done at the Universities after the repeal of the Test Actsto open their doors to those of other confessions without fear of proselytism, and yet they were bound to maintain the conditions of their title deeds. Compromise was inevitable, and how in almost all cases the corn-promise has been operated may be understood by the practice of the College.
The Principal, though he need not be in Orders, has been required to be a member of the Church of England, and the services are maintained according to the use of the Church, the Bible read in them, the psalms and most of the hymns sung, the creeds recited, and a large part of the prayers being the common heritage of all the churches. Sermons and Scripture lessons are occupied with the 99 per cent. of teaching on which we agree, and that amply fills the time at our disposal. "Denominational" formularics, such as the Catechism, and instruction in the points where we differ, are taken in Confirmation classes, which no boy is ever individually asked to join unless his relatives so wish it, nor is any boy confirmed without a written request from home. Free Church boys are exempted from attendance at the Confirmation, and presence at the Holy Communion is, of course, absolutely voluntary for every one. As the service the boys by their own choice attend is at 8 am., presence or absence is not noticed and public opinion exercises no censorship. There have been many Free Church members of the staff.
The objective of the regular services is corporate worship in which all may take part without disturbance to their home influences. I have been told by Free Church boys both that they value the services and that they are not by them detached from their own churches. Indeed, I feel that, in national institutions, we are in honour hound not to exercise personal influence against a parents wishes, and I even went so far once as to refuse a boy whose parents asked me to convert him from the faith he held. I replied that the business of a headmaster was not to proselytise.
Of course, we allow a "conscience clause," and Roman Catholics avail themselves of it. It has always been declined by Free Church parents, and two of those who were most emphatic were Free Church ministers. Of this, personally, I am glad, for we need in these days to stress agreements, and not differences, and unselfconscious common worship among the young is one of the most hopeful ways of bringing Christians together.
So, though I should never have refused it, I should regret segregation for worship.
I have found in friendly intercourse with my Free Church brothers points of difference growing fewer and fundamental agreements looming larger, and in the fight that is undoubtedly upon us of Christian civilisation against the new Paganism, my vision for the future is that as a national institution the College may continue to contribute something to the religious education and the religious life of the Island and to the cause of unity.
So with my chief adjutant and helper, Miss Owen, I wish good-bye to the many friends we have made in and through the Island. It is in no spirit of gaiety, you will believe me, that we go, but we feel that the time has come. They have been great years, to us as to the Empire, years that will leave us with an inspiration and a memory the more grateful that, we trust and believe, they have been a stepping stone for still greater years ahead for the College. And it will be enough for us if we have been able to do something to make that greater future possible.
1 This fact does not, however. come out in the enquiry held by the trustees, a record of which was out in the minutes.
2 T. E. Brown, who was a boy at the time to which it refers, protests against it as a travesty. (Memorial Volume, p. 28.) [fpc - however see J M Wilson who unlike Brown, a day boy, was boarder.]