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J A Metcalfe

In 1883, the number of boys attending the School had fallen to 12 and Mr J A Metcalfe was one of the little band of pupils who moved from the old school buildings at their closure. He had joined the School in 1880 and, in 1953, wrote an article for The Guisborian Magazine about his School days.

Mr Metcalfe recalled that the approach to the old School from the town was along Church Walk, which led past the alms houses, wherein lived six old men and six old women. The first house at the western end of the row was slightly larger and in it lived Nurse Parkin who duty it was to look after the pensioners. All the old people, if able, attended prayers with the boys in the School-room each morning and then went on to matins in the church at half-past ten. The Headmaster’s house was a larger building at the eastern end of the row and between it and the alms houses there was a ground floor room with three lattice windows to the south and a separate entrance door. This was the school-room, the one and only room for the use of the pupils. In it were the desks and the oak chest. There was a fireplace at the eastern end beside which was a door leading to the Headmaster’s house.

The curriculum taught consisted of the four subjects considered essential for a boy’s grammar school education at the time: English, Latin, French and Arithmetic. Rev. Jackson, the Headmaster, taught Greek privately if it was required.

School started with prayers at nine and ended at noon, the afternoon session being from one-thirty to four o’clock. Games played on the Applegarth, which at that time was used by the townspeople as a common, were cricket in Summer and, in winter, football without goal posts. Knur and Spell was not played at the School but the townspeople played a game on the Applegarth called “Tip Cat”, similar to present day Rounders.

The School moved to temporary quarters in a building in Westgate known as the Club House which stood on the site later occupied by the Guisborough Provident and Industrial Scoiety Ltd. Mr Metcalfe completed his education in the temporary premises, known as the Club House and left before the new buildings were ready for occupation.

On leaving school, he learnt the art of printing and carried on the business in the corner of the Market Place at Guisborough, founded many years before by his family.

Although suffering indifferent health during the last 15 years of his life, he continued to practice his art up to 6 months before his death when illness compelled him to retire. For a number of years before his death he was one of the very few practising hand printers to be found in the UK.

Apart from his printing, his other interests were bell ringing, music and local history – all of which he excelled at and his nephew Mr Jackson, himself an old boy, said at the time that he would greatly miss his Uncle’s vast store of knowledge of the locality and Guisborough in particular and that another link with the ‘old’ school had been broken.

Mr Metcalfe died on 2 November 1953 at aged 81, having lived all his life in Guisborough.

 

 

 

 

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