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Rev. HENRY H. CHETTLE.
Mr. Farrar was succeeded by the Rev. Henry H. Chettle as governor. He had been third, and succeeded Mr. Farrar as second master, and, like him, in 1832, entered the ministry whilst a teacher in the school. Like him also . he was appointed to some of the most important circuits of the Connexion, as Glasgow, Stockport, Lincoln (twice), Liverpool (twice), Manchester, Halifax, Bolton, London (twice), &c. He was of a race of Methodist preachers, his father being the Rev. John Chettle, who entered the ministry in 1797, and who died in 1850. His grandfather was the Rev. Simon Day, one of Mr. Wesley's coadjutors, who entered the ministry in 1766, and died in 1832. Henry Chettle was a scholar in Kingswood School six years, afterwards removing to the Grove.
Mr. Chettle entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1832, being then twenty-three years of age. In 1852 he was appointed secretary of the Worn-out Ministers' Fund, an office which he held with ability till his death. He commenced his duties as governor in 1868, and after remaining at the Grove eight years he resigned the office through ill health in 1876. His biographer, in the Minutes of Conference, says of him, that "he had the gift of government, was quick in perception, just in judgment, firm and decided in action. Occasionally he was so terse in expression as to appear abrupt, but this was the result of nervousness, not want of temper." This is certainly a very
MR. CHETTLE'S VIEWS ON VENTILATION. 85
correct description. As a governor there was nothing erratic or grandfatherly about him. He was shrewd, sagacious, penetrating, painstaking, firm, and strict, but not unkind. An old Grove boy who was there at the same time says of him: “I look upon him as a first-rate governor. Strict, but kind; commanding respectful behaviour from all; able to give a good thrashing when required. I have always been glad that I had six years under him. I used to think that he shewed considerable penetration in his dealings with us, and that it would require rather more than ordinary cleverness to fool him. But,” my informant adds, “I know that many will differ from me.” This is quite true, for I have met with “old boys” who spoke of him as both sly and severe.
Mr. Chettle it must be remembered had been once a junior master in the school, and of course was alive to certain sly ways on the part of the boys and knew well how to deal with them. It is a mistake to say that he was severe, and he did not bear that character when he was master. Compared with former times the chastisement given in his day was very mild. Mr. Chettle had enlightened views on the subject of ventilation and other sanitary matters. In the success of the measures which he adopted, he took an evident pride. Some of the boys thought that he rode this hobby too much. To such a degree did he insist on the proper ventilation of the schoolroom, that on several occasions the lads were all turned out of the schoolroom on a wet holiday afternoon, to ramble in the playground, and seek shelter under the sheds, whilst the state of the atmosphere was being improved in the school, at the risk of the boys taking colds.
Mr. Chettle died in 1878, in the seventieth year of his age, two years after he resigned the governorship, and in the forty-sixth of his ministry.
Rev. GEORGE FLETCHER.
The Rev. George Fletcher, who succeeded Mr. Chettle, was the last governor of Woodhouse Grove School. He is the son of the late Rev. Thomas Fletcher, who was the first ministerial governor of the school, it being rather a remarkable coincidence, as already noticed, that whilst the father was the first, the son should be the last. Some account of the father will be found in the earlier part of the next chapter. Mr. George Fletcher entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1859, and in 1861 and 1862 he held the position of assistant tutor at Didsbury College. In 1876, he was appointed by the Conference to be governor of the school whose history is before us, and remained such till June, 1883, when the school was closed as one solely for ministers' sons. He is the only one of all the eleven governors now living. When these Memorials were commenced Mr. Farrar was living; he is gone, and Mr. Fletcher alone is left. After leaving the Grove he was appointed superintendent of the Lune Street Circuit, Preston.
The fact that Mr. Fletcher is still living and in full work, and that his governorship is so recent, precludes one from attempting any description of it. It must be sufficient to say that his government was judicious and reasonable. It was not characterised either by grandfatherly kindness and laxity on the one hand, or by undue severity on the other.
The boys have been wisely handled, and the strict régime of a former period has been prudently relaxed.
During Mr. Fletcher's governorship, arrangements were carried out so that the boys could wash in the bedrooms. A large playshed by the archway was constructed. The north extension, containing the “Old Top” cribroom, &c, was partially pulled down, and the materials were used in the erection of the playshed. A good reading-room was provided at the same time. The diet was greatly improved in many particulars. Coffee and tea, with bread and butter, took the place of milk and dry bread, which had formed the diet morning and evening for so many years— in fact, since the school was established. No doubt, some will question whether this was any improvement. But there was a general prejudice on the subject. The dinners were also in many respects improved. Another extension of liberty was granted in the use of a field for play when the weather permitted. In this the boys could engage with zest in the game of cricket. Many in consequence became excellent hands at the game.
Mr. John FENNELL · · 1812 Mr. JOHN GARDINER · 1832 Rev. THOMAS FLETCHER 1813 Rev. JOSHUA WOOD · · 1835
,, J. M. BLETSOE, M.A. 1813 Mr. WILLIAM GREAR - 1838 Mr. Jon. CROWTHER - - 1814 Dr. SHARPE - - - - 1854 ,, SAML. EB. PARKER - 1816 | Rev. Dr. RABY - - - 1856
Mr. T. G. OSBORN, M.A. - - 1874
W E cannot be surprised to find that on the commence
ment of a large educational establishment, managed by a committee of gentlemen inexperienced in such matters, everything should not settle down all at once into good working order. The general subject of education was not as well understood in those days as now, nor was it seen how much depends upon the choice of a head master. The fact was not then appreciated that success depends as much upon moral qualities as on mere learning. It was then supposed that anyone could teach if he had only sufficient learning. Not only so, but, at the time of which we speak, there was not the choice of suitable men that there is now. Hence we find without astonishment that the right man was not appointed till a few years had elapsed. There were frequent changes of head masters during the first three or four years, a state of things which happily terminated after