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A History of Horncastle by James Conway Walter

McLay should be secured for a repetition of them


It

would not be possible, nor is it desirable, here to go into full details as to all the work done; but as, in future years, it may be interesting to have some record of the progress in the earlier days of this Institution, and as the writer of these pages has been closely connected with the school, from its first inception, a summary of the more important particulars is here given.

In the spring of the year 1896, a course of public lectures, illustrated by lantern views, was given by himself, descriptive of his own travels in Egypt, which were attended by full audiences of junior pupils, and many adults. In 1897 he gave a similar series of lectures on his travels in Palestine, and these proving equally popular, a third supplementary course was given by him in 1898.

In 1898 illustrated lectures were also given by the Rev. J. A. Penny, Vicar of Wispington, on "The Abbeys and Castles of England," and as being very instructive on the subject of architecture, these were largely attended. They were followed by a course, which proved very interesting, given by Mr. R. W. Clitherow, the Treasurer, descriptive of a walking tour made by himself, among the scenery of the English lakes. He also gave an instructive lecture on Canada.

In the spring of 1898 the Head Teacher, Miss Foster, gave a series of lectures on "Physiography," being an account, the result of most careful study and practical

investigation, of the various geological formations and fossils of the earth, illustrated by specimens largely of her own collecting. {115} These were very instructive, and attended by a fairly numerous class of pupils.

Other valuable courses of lectures were given during this early period of the school's existence. In the autumn of 1896 Dr. R. McLay, of Horncastle, was engaged by the Committee to give lectures in the Masonic Hall, on "First Aid to the Injured," under the St. John's Ambulance regulations. The pupils, numbering 25, were afterwards examined by Dr. G. M. Lowe, of Lincoln, when 23 of them passed as entitled to St. John's Ambulance Certificates. So much interest was shewn in these lectures (to which policemen were specially invited), that it was resolved, in the following year (1897), that the services of Dr. McLay should be secured for a repetition of them, with increased remuneration. They were again given in the autumn of that year (beginning Oct. 18), when 24 persons attended, of whom 16 presented themselves for examination, which was again held by Dr. Lowe, all of whom passed with credit, and gained ambulance certificates. We give these particulars as shewing the value of the work done at this period.

Similarly valuable instruction has been given in later years, but, with diminished funds available, and classes smaller, owing doubtless to the exhaustion in some degree of the stream of candidates for instruction, compared with its flush at the outset of the school's existence, fewer lectures on these extra subjects have been given; and instruction has been confined to more ordinary, but not less useful, work, in drawing, geometric and from models; modelling in clay, painting in water colours and oils, book-keeping, arithmetic, shorthand, French, and so forth.

To show that the school has continued to do good work, we may state that on January 25, 1906, a meeting was held for the annual prize giving, when close upon 70 pupils, of both sexes (69), received rewards, several of them for success in four or five different subjects. For the year 1905-6 the school received a grant of 100 pounds from the County Council, 25 pounds from the Horncastle Urban Council, and the fees of pupils paid about half the expenses.


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