The Manual School

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Kit Bartlett
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The Manual School

Post by Kit Bartlett » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:21 pm

Memories remain of the old Manual School , the staff employed and the subjects taught.
Mr. C.W.S. Averill presided and previously there was a Major Harrup in charge.
Departments included carpentry, bookbinding, metal work and the forge.
I remember in the forge run by a Mr.Clark the class all made a fairly large cake rack which was difficult to transport home on the train. We also made a set of fire irons.
Woodwork included making a small wooden stool and an egg rack to take four eggs. Mr. Leaney senior and Mr Leaney junior, presumably father and son ran this section.
In the Book Binding class of which Nelson Mitchell from Steyning was in charge we all made autograph albumns which were quite smart looking. I also recall rebinding a couple of House Library books.
Mr. Mumford worked in the metal work section
No doubt more modern technology has long overtaken all this instruction.

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Re: The Manual School

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:47 pm

I remember that we were assigned to particular crafts and couldn't choose them. As a result I was put off handicrafts for life, as I would never have chosen woodwork (LF) or printing (LE). The first I was (foreseeably, by me) no good at, and the second was boring as hell. I might have liked forge or metalwork.

I mainly remember Mr Mumford, who was in charge when I arrived. He still wore a stiff wing-collar, which was wildly eccentric by the mid-1950s.
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Re: The Manual School

Post by Katharine » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:28 pm

My brother must have been assigned forge or metalwork at some stage. Mother still has a photo frame he made with curlicues of cast iron (?) painted black. I can picture the frame hanging on the wall , but can't remember whose photo is in it!
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Re: The Manual School

Post by eucsgmrc » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:15 pm

I was famously clumsy and uncoordinated, and was a manifest disappointment to the manual school. I had to do woodwork in LF and metalwork in LE, and I was always behind and having to re-do stuff.

Imagine my surprise, years after leaving school, when I realised that I could remember how to do simple technical drawing, I knew what various tools were for, I could use them tolerably well, and I was actually far more handy than my contemporaries who had never had the manual school experience. Once I actually put a complete central heating system into a 13-room house, hanging the radiators, all the plumbing and even gas-fitting (which was legal in those days). And the system is still working after more than thirty years! But, more importantly, after the bollockings that I got in the manual school, I have no fear of what my wife may say when I make a hash of something. She can, in fact, do most of the same stuff herself, and she works to much higher standards.

And now for the real point of this posting: when I first entered the manual school, all the equipment was still operated by a belt system with overhead shafts running the length of the whole building. The shafts were turned by a magnificent oil (or was it gas?) engine just by the main door. After about a year, that all disappeared, and new electric machinery was installed. I assume that coincided with the school abandoning its 1902 DC generator and converting the entire site to use AC mains.
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Re: The Manual School

Post by postwarblue » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:03 am

First thing in the Prep was cardboard work, upstairs, making spill holders covered in wallpaper, presided over by an old man who mooched around reciting the Prodigal Son to himself. The downstairs to make a box with a lid. Sir (?Averill) holds it up. 'Do you call that square?' Me, thinking literally, 'Yes, Sir' because I did call it square even if it wasn't. The wrong answer apparently. I still have the box.

Then woodwork and a whole term making a T-joint but eventually a topless photo frame thing. I still have that, too, useless though it is. Later on my sons in a totally different school made similar things (but smaller) so there must have been some standard pattern book circulating in the secondary school world. The whole thing was a disaster for me but there was one good moment when a boy even more clueless than me drove a chisel into himself and lots of blood came out. At least that was interesting.

LE - metalwork - made a teapot stand and learned soldering and planishing (easy, you just stand there hitting it) and made two copper napkin rings that I was quite proud of and two which were less of a success.

Higher up the school we grew out of this unintellectual imposition except for Grecians' Manual Fortnight. It must have been 1953 and pageant loomed as I and wingman Tigger were put to making a sort of high stool to go behind a cardboard cutout horse for Queen Elizabeth to sit on. Try as we might we never got the four legs level, saw off a bit of one, saw off a bit off another .. eventually I think the cardboard horse had to have its hooves shortened.

The forge where boys made fireside companion sets (very 50s) was for D & E streams I think. Machine drawing was for them as well instead of Greek.
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Re: The Manual School

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:48 am

"a sort of high stool to go behind a cardboard cutout horse for Queen Elizabeth to sit on."

At the next pageant, 10 years later, Queen Elizabeth had a real horse. Staps to you!
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Re: The Manual School

Post by sejintenej » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:14 pm

Very different experiences though a few I recognise. I started off with cane work - some type of round container. Later on I was to go through woodwork - long time learning to plane a bit of wood straight then a wall light (which went straight in the bin) - these days I use machinery for most jobs. Bookbinding (could do it now if I had to), Metalwork - almost daily I still use the metal punch I made, forge - fire-irons followed by an anchor (the most useful thing ever - it went when I sold the boat). Overall it was pretty boring.
That said we were using equipment which can still do the job today but costs very little. In the Manual School 2 years ago they were learning to use machinery costing hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of pounds which they will never afford or use around the dwelling. ie 1950/60 Manual was useful for the practice of life and living.
Imagine my surprise, years after leaving school, when I realised that I could remember how to do simple technical drawing, I knew what various tools were for, I could use them tolerably well, and I was actually far more handy than my contemporaries who had never had the manual school experience. Once I actually put a complete central heating system into a 13-room house, hanging the radiators, all the plumbing and even gas-fitting (which was legal in those days). And the system is still working after more than thirty years! But, more importantly, after the bollockings that I got in the manual school, I have no fear of what my wife may say when I make a hash of something.
(John Wexler)

If you have seen one of those total wrecks in Grand Designs that is the sort of thing I did from drawing council plans (thanks to Mech Drawing, Manual school), through electrics, plumbing (- but only 10 rooms), re-roofing, reinforced concrete in floors, drive and patios instead of mud, interior and exterior tiling, walls in and out, stone wall building, plastering ............... and all in France using French tools and materials. Yes, Manual School showed me that even I could do it though it did take about 6 years! Oh, yes John - I also fitted a gas central heating system when it was legal in the UK. Surprisingly, although many of them are in the trades I get no adverse criticisms from my wife's family.

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Re: The Manual School

Post by LongGone » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:57 pm

While I was mediocre at woodworking, I love using the lathe and made over a dozen bowls (all still in use by family members). Then got put on printing the next year. The only plus was when personal computers came out, I knew what a font was!
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Re: The Manual School

Post by postwarblue » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:28 am

As a detail, I forgot to list the shoe rack, perhaps intended to teach us the use of the spokeshave. Eventually quite recently experience spoke and, heeding St Paul (about putting away childish things) I realised that I would never need a rack that took exactly three shoes (or indeed need a shoe rack at all) and threw it out.
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Re: The Manual School

Post by CHAZ » Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:10 pm

A wonderful building for smokers to hide behind...
But in my day it was Mr Perry for Tech Drawing; Ken Stratton for Metalwork and the irrepalcable Ken Grimshaw for Woodwork. I wonder how many lamps are out there in the world as we all had to make one in the 3rd form!
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Re: The Manual School

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:54 am

The manual master I remember best was a Mr Wyncoll, not because he taught me manual, but because he was officer i/c the Civil Defence Section in the CCF, where I was the senior NCO. He was an easy-going sort of guy, but he didn't really seem to fit in with the intellectual side of school life, and I think he may actually have been glad that staff of the manual school didn't count as 'staff', and didn't have to mix with the nobs. They weren't members of the Common Room, for example. (Another manifestation was that they didn't attend the very occasional meetings of the whole teaching staff either. In the Lent Term one of these meetings was always timed for 12.15 on Shrove Tuesday, so that 'real' masters weren't confronted with the moral problem of appearing to be spoilsports at the very rowdy Pancake Race. As this was held on Lamb Asphalt, the manual staff all appeared (like royalty) on the balcony of the Manual School to watch.)
Back to Wyncoll: I have a notion he was Australian. Does anyone remember?
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Re: The Manual School

Post by Tommy » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:01 pm

I don't remember Wyncoll being Australian; I do however remember him having a very high pitched voice. I had him for Woodwork on the 3rd Form - my parents still have the lovely candle holder and chopping board I made for them. He had a habit of stopping the lesson midway through and calling out "Right could you come round my bench please!" in an almost falsetto tone to describe exactly what he wanted us to make.
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Re: The Manual School

Post by J.R. » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:03 pm

As I'm sure I've mentioned on here before.

In my last year, (1963), myself and Paul Coates, (Middleton house, I believe), were placed for several hours a week in the Manual school with a new, and possibly the youngest master, Chris Read.

We did all the schools printing, and Mr Read was the only master that I ever addressed by his Christian name. He couldn't have been more than five years older than Paul and I.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: The Manual School

Post by Mid A 15 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:29 am

CHAZ wrote:A wonderful building for smokers to hide behind...
But in my day it was Mr Perry for Tech Drawing; Ken Stratton for Metalwork and the irrepalcable Ken Grimshaw for Woodwork. I wonder how many lamps are out there in the world as we all had to make one in the 3rd form!
I think it was Keith Stratton. He was a junior housemaster in Mid A.

Manual was not my forte but I remember a few of the masters mentioned. "Beefy" Barnes is a name not yet mentioned. Beefy being an ironic rather than factual nickname as he was very slightly built and looked as young as the Grecians.

I remember Wyncoll and thought he had a northern accent but cannot be more specific. There was a Mr Ingledew and Mr Norman too that I recall as well as Mr Read referred to by JR. Read was a junior housemaster in Maine A when I was there.
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Re: The Manual School

Post by Chris T » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:28 am

Some further points about the old Manual School – its official title was the “Manual Training School” and one activity taught there, not mentioned so far, was the use of a foundry. For example a round recessed disc was cast and then made smooth and shiny by being turned on a lathe. A few radial semi-circular recesses were added, to turn it into an ashtray. (I presume such things would never be made at CH now. But a new thread about Smoking by boys at CH half a century ago, may amuse the younger generations.)

Mr Ingledew was the first teacher of a craft at the Manual School with a degree, a B Tech from the then Loughborough Institute of Technology. Possibly because of this he achieved two other firsts at CH for Manual School craft teachers. He became a junior housemaster (of Lamb B) and a member of the Masters’ Common Room. (Messrs C Averill and GW Deakin, both heads of the Manual School with degrees never taught crafts.)

Today the Manual School building houses the Doyle School of Design and Technology, founded, in 2007 by the generosity of a Californian OB, John Doyle, who is a reputed British-American engineer and multimillionaire entrepreneur. This Design School replaced Housey’s former Design and Technology department. (This short para is based on a Wikipedia entry.)

John Doyle was at one time a Vice-President of the Hewlett-Packard computer company. He has been most generous to CH and course is a donation governor, as are his American children. But unusually he has persuaded his American next-door neighbour also to become a donation governor.
Last edited by Chris T on Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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