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“COURT,” MONITORS, AND POCKET-MONEY.-In order to assist in preserving order when in the dining-room, at meals and at other times, four of the elder boys were appointed monitors, whose duty it was to make a note of any breach of rule, such notes being produced at the court, which was held every Saturday afternoon in the dining-hall. The court was composed of the governor, the resident masters, and all the boys. All charges were carefully enquired into, and due punishment awarded, sometimes corporal, but generally a fine. On these occasions the boys' weekly pocket-money was distributed, which amounted to twopence halfpenny to each boy, three halfpence being given by the institution, which was known as “extra,” and a penny from the parent. Dr. Moulton gives the following humorous account of the way in which the money was expended, and of the advice of the governor on the subject : “On Saturday afternoons at what was called court, the pocket-money was given out, nominally three halfpence per week. The amount was reduced to a penny by a tax levied for the Missionary Society. Besides this, the missionary collector came round to extract voluntary subscriptions ! Then there were fines to pay, and we were expected to give something in class. At the same time, the governor, who took all our loose cash into his hands when we came to school, told us we ought never to be without sixpence in our pockets !” On the breaking up of the assembly, the boys made for the large playground, at about twenty yards from the outside gate of which was found stationed the toffy man, with his basket of “humbugs,” gingerbread, and other good (?) things. One of the masters superintended
the transaction, and only allowed two boys at once to go to the basket.
There were other monitors for other departments of school management also appointed, generally boys in their last year. There was a shoe monitor, whose duty it was to see after the changing of the boys' shoes for Sunday, there being pigeon-holes, with the boys' names attached, in a place known as the shoehouse. There were also clothes monitors, whose duty it was to carry the bundles of Sunday clothes from the wardrobe and place each boy's bundle on his bed on the Saturday and return them to the wardrobe on the Monday. Each boy was taught how to make a bundle by placing his jacket and trousers neatly folded-up inside the waistcoat, and buttoning up the latter inside out with the two former inside, the boy's name being marked on the lining of the waistcoat.
There was also a lodge monitor, whose duty it was to leave the school each morning about ten minutes before the usual time, proceed into the house, where he would find, in a certain spot, the letter-bag ready. This he had to carry to the lodge and leave it to be called for by the Bradford carrier, who would take it to the Bradford Post Office, where it would be emptied, and replenished with incoming letters. On his return, the carrier left it at the lodge at about five or six in the evening. The lodge monitor had to fetch it on his coming out of school in the afternoon at five o'clock, and if the carrier had not arrived he could return to the playground, or walk about the Grove as he liked, till the bag arrived. It was my happy lot to hold this office during my last year at the school, and greatly I enjoyed it; for it was rare that the carrier had arrived at five, and when the weather was fine, to stroll about the Grove was to me a most delightful treat, and was regarded by me as a very great privilege. In the morning, when proceeding into the house for the bag, I had to pass through the scullery, and occasionally found in a corner of a certain shelf a piece of teacake which had been left at tea, and which was placed there for me by Mrs. Stamp, the governor's wife. This to a boy with nothing but dry bread and milk for his own evening meal, as may be supposed, was a treat. Most of these monitors received an extra penny per week as their reward.
The system of monitors is adopted by all public schools, and was found to be so useful at Woodhouse Grove that it was continued to the end. Mr. Sugden gives the following account of its operation in his day (1863 to 1870): “The maintenance of discipline was assisted by the monitors, who were usually chosen from bigger boys in the upper class. There were four bedroom monitors to keep silence in the dormitories; five table monitors to keep order at meals; and a lavatory monitor to watch the boys when washing. Other monitors were appointed to assist in the domestic arrangements, as cloak and boot monitors, &c. Silence was enforced in the bedrooms and at all meals, but reading was allowed at breakfast and supper. One of the most serious offences was going out of bounds, and a master was always on duty in the playground to see that we did not get outside the limits of the playground. When Mr. Chettle came the rule was a little relaxed as regarded the elder boys, but even they had always to obtain permission.”
W E may be quite sure that at a school which was
entirely devoted to the education of the sons of Wesleyan ministers, over whom presided one of themselves, religious teaching was not neglected. And yet it was not made too much of. The plan adopted by Mr. Wesley amongst the boys at Kingswood, already referred to, was not forced upon the Grove. A sketch of the school would not be complete without some account of the subject.
Whilst the chapel was over the stable, as already described, the services on a Sabbath were in the morning and afternoon. The boys occupied the most important position in the seats which were exactly opposite the preacher, and which rose above one another somewhat in amphitheatre style. Beyond the boys' seats was a space appropriated to a promiscuous congregation gathered from the surrounding neighbourhood. On the front of the pulpit inside were printed in ink, in well-formed Roman letters, the now immortal words "Be short and lively.” This there is no doubt embodies the true secret of preaching to lads. The words were there when I entered the school and remained when I left it, as long as the place was used as a chapel. The pulpit was well supplied with preachers during my six years ;
one of the two circuit ministers, with the governor and occasionally one of the masters, Mr. Farrar or Mr. Brownell, generally conducted the service. But occasionally a local preacher took a turn, though I think more care was taken in their selection than in the earlier times described by Mr. Robert West.
The figure who is most impressed on my mind is that of a little man, whom the lads knew as Daddy Gibbons, but who stood on the “Minutes ” as the Rev. Edward Gibbons. He began to travel in 1790, and when he was superannuated he retired to Manchester. I remember him on two accounts. First, that his sermons were, like himself, very short, sometimes no longer than fifteen or twenty minutes ; and, secondly, he invariably, as I then thought irreverently, used to take the large pulpit hymn-book and lay it down on the footstool in the pulpit to kneel upon during prayer. During Mr. Stamp's governorship the senior boys of the school were taken into the dining-room on Sunday afternoon, and learned the "third catechism," as it was called. Mr. Stamp appointed a certain portion to be learnt off by heart, and considerately divided it into sentences, appointing each boy his own sentence. Learnt in this manner it was very easy.
Next in importance to public worship is family prayer, which was held morning and evening. At eight a.m. and eight p.m. the whole household assembled in the diningroom--not only the eighty boys, but all the resident masters, the governor's family, and the six female servants. It so happened that both Mr. Martindale and Mr. Stamp had three daughters each, who were generally present. Our