My Dad's first job

My father could get extremely hot under the collar about injustice. He must have been extremely irate about the condition of the school to even consider saying anything publicly let alone to the newspapers. I hadn't realised that he had been at the school longer than "Billy" Orrell. Got to admit that I don't think he had much time for the man. This is a paper clipping from the "News Chronicle" Wednesday, October the 5th 1955. He must have been in something like the second year of teaching - he loved the kids dearly. I know my father left the school later. I do not think the condition of the school had too much to do with the move. He did get an excellent reference from Billy Orrell in the end.

Walshaw School 1955

This is the transcript of the article:

Every day a cracked bell summons 180 chilren at Walshaw, near Bury, behind the high, prison like walls of a school that has been described as a "disgrace"

It is the Church of England villiage school and no one has a good word to say about it. After narrowly rejecting a suggestion by Major W.S.Cain that the school is in such a disgraceful condition that that it should be closed immediately, Rossendale Education Executive  is sending a deputation to discuss the matter with the school managers.

One of the executive members , Coun. W.H.Nuttall said he found it hard to believe that the children were being educated in such a disgraceful building.

The headmaster Mr. William Orrell who had been at the school for 2 years said: " The lavatories are grim. One of the roofs is dangerous but repairs are in hand."

"The County Council are responsible for the interior decorationbut I expect that they don't think that it is worthwhile doing that until the school managers have done the exterior repairs."

"An unsuccessful attempt was made to get a separate dining room. The food attracts rats and mice. But I think there are schools that are just as bad."

Staff Comment

One of Mr. Orrell's Staff, Mr Andrew Martyn-Clark, added "I have seen the school deteriorating during the three years I have been here. It has got galloping consumption."

The Rev. A.H.Phillips, Vicar of Walshaw and chairman of the school managers declined to make any comment.

"The picture above is an enlargement from the school hall picture (left). One of the Masters, Mr Andrew Martyn-Clark, shows a patch of paintwork peeling from a wall. In the hall children are taught in the dull atmosphere of this decaying room."

Notes: The Orrells were a local family of some note, they occupied Turton Tower at one point in their history. A web search will find many links with the Orrells and Walshaw.

Rev A.H. Phillips seems to have disappeared into the mists of time as far as the internet is concerned. It seems he may have gone abroad!

However Councillor Nuttall fares little better in the excerpt from the Rossendale free press

"DESPITE protests from parents, Cowpe Primary School was to close and the pupils were to be transferred to Waterfoot. This was confirmed by Rossendale Divisional Education Executive by 13 votes to nine, after a vain bid to save the school by Councillor W H Nuttall. He said it was causing a great deal of concern in the village, but councillors said pupils could travel to nearby Waterfoot School instead." Dated July 1956

Major Cain was at the withdrawal of  "B Company"  from the beach at Dunkirk. There is information here. My father was also at Dunkirk - I wonder if they ever spoke. It was very raw in my father's mind - possibly all his life.


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