Friday, 16 July 2010

Deptford teachers update

I recently described the rather alarming recruitment procedure conducted in 1837 by Deptford Benevolent Institution when they wanted a new schoolmaster. Contemporary documents showed that it involved public interviews in public houses, printed testimonials and a preference for a candidate with his own schoolroom. All that was missing was the outcome...

Pigot's Directory of 1840 has provided the answer. It lists Absalom Davies - the candidate with the existing schoolroom - as master of the Benevolent Institution at Deptford Green. His colleague at the girls' school in Broomfield Place was Mary Ann Sturdee - a surname with longstanding Deptford connections. Mrs Sturdee was grandmother to local historian and press photographer Thankfull Sturdee.

But what of the unsuccessful candidates? Bill Ellson traced James Bailey Bassett (he of the printed flyers) to Australia: there's even a photograph of him. Interestingly, although he was described in Deptford as 'brought up in the Established Church', in Australia he was a Wesleyan Methodist. If the conversion had happened prior to his Deptford candidature - and the careful wording of the testimonial suggests it might have - then that may have been another factor in the recruitment process.

4 comments:

Marmoset said...

Ha ha, very cunning! I forgot about your recent post about teacher recruitment in the Swan Inn and automatically assumed this post was news about Tidemill

CarolineLD said...

Sadly, not even cunning - just uninspired as I was drafting this late last night!

Minnie said...

Wonderful, Caroline - serendipitous speed. And, of course, Cymru am byth ...

Linda said...

Why am I reminded of the TV show "History Detectives"? ;)

I'm glad you found out the answer!

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