St Chrysostom’s School is growing! Major work has taken place to extend and improve the school buildings and Year 4, 5 and 6 children have new classrooms. Mr Trevor Matthews, Headteacher, says; The time has come to move into our fantastic new building extension. This is an exciting time in the history of St Chrysostom’s…’ To mark this we are having three different entries on our church blog, about the school’s history. First of all on the origins of the school:
St Chrysostom’s CE School was founded by St Chrysostom’s Church. It opened with 19 children on September 4th 1876 in a small building on Upper Brook Street (then called Clarence Road). By 1880 numbers had risen to 62 and the school moved to Clarendon Road (Carmoor road, now). Soon the number of children reached 129 and standards were very high – in 1882 of the 23 ‘Mixed’ schools (that is with boys and girls) St Chrysostom’s and one other school reached the highest levels of pupil achievement in Manchester.
The Curriculum include reading, writing and arithmetic (the 3 R’s) as well as religious education. The curriculum was broad though – girls learned sowing and knitting. By the age of seven girls had to ‘complete a garment such as a child’s plain shift.’ Painting, drama and ‘technical education’ were also included for all children. An inspector noted that there were ‘fresh flowers on each teacher’s desk.’
Some of the teachers stayed a few years, some stayed longer. Mr J T S King was headmaster from 1882 to 1922 – a remarkable 40 years.
Of course the area was different from now. Miss Chadwick, who taught at the school in the 1880s later recalled: It was vastly different in those days, a few streets and lots of fields, … There was a big farm where the Victoria Baths now stand. One pupil was afraid of the geese and always brought bread to throw to occupy their attention till she got past. Upper Brook Street was quite out in the country then. There were no shops nearer than Brunswick Street.’
A report on schools in 1905 noted that Manchester and its neighbourhood swarm with benevolent and wealthy people. But except in a few rare cases, they display no practical interest in the … schools
We are proud to say St Chrysostom’s School had one very notable exception to this. Emmeline Pankhurst was once a governor of the school.
The great suffragette and figure of national importance in the field of women’s rights, lived near the school. She found time among her national and political engagements to serve on St Chrysostom’s School’s Board of Management (now called the Governing Body).
Here is the proof! Looking through school archives recently Fr Ian came across the minutes book of the school managers, and this included a list of the managers of the school in 1906. By then Mrs Pankhurst had moved from Daisy Bank Road to Nelson Street.
How fitting to have such an outstanding and inspiring campaigner for inclusion and equality in our school’s history!