350th Anniversary Celebrations

David Lewin, son of Peter Lewin [1940–1948], kindly sent us a cutting of the 350th Anniversity Celebrations held in June 1947, that is, 350 years after the laying of the foundation stone for the school.

As it is long and thin and not easily read on a website, it has been transcribed.

Heath School’s Impact on Life of Halifax

A dinner by Heath Grammar School’s Old Boys’ Association, on Saturday evening in the School Hall, concluded the celebrations the school’s 350th anniversary.

Founders’ Day service in the Parish Church in the morning, was followed by a programme of events in the school, when five or six hundred people assembled.

In the lecture room were scientific demonstrations by youths of the Upper Science Sixth Form; there was a film display, basketball knock-out competition for the Founders’ Day Cup, physical training display by Fourth Form boys, boxing for the school boxing championships, camp-craft by the school’s Scout troop, school v. old boys at fives, a model railway, an art exhibition, exhibition of hobbies and specimens of text books shown, all indicating the aliveness of the old school. Large numbers stayed to tea.

The dinner was presided over by Coun. W. E. Horsley, president of the Old Boys’ Association. Among those with him at the top table were: Sir David Smith, J.P., Coun. P.N. Whitley, J.P. (chairman of Halifax Education Committee), Canon P.E. James (Vicar of Halifax), the Mayor, Coun. Dryden Brook, M.P., Mr. W.R. Swale, M.A. (headmaster), Mr. D.J.D. Smith, M.A. (late headmaster), Mr. W.B. Crump, M.A. (science master at Heath from the late 1880s), Mr. A.J.C. Hirst (governor), and Mr. F.N. Wilson (who, as secretary of Old Boys’ Association, was largely responsible for the arrangements.

Big hills, big hearts

Canon James, giving the toast of Halifax, spoke of the town’s long history. Halifax was fortunate to have had an historian like T.W. Hanson, whose book was considered good enough to be put in the schools. He recalled his own reactions when shown Halifax by the late Bishop Seaton from Godley, when he was thrilled by the town’s evidences of vitality. The authorities of Halifax were showing vision and courage in planning ahead, and he expressed the belief that “the great opportunities before us will make the future of Halifax worthy of its great past.”

Responding, the Mayor said he could say with honesty that the school had played no small part in making Halifax well known. There had gone from the school authors, humorists, and even an astronomer royal, not to mention an arch bishop, The Mayoress recently had received a letter from one serving in India, wishing to be remembered to various friends in the town, and saying that numerous men around him who had spent some part of their service in Halifax had been impressed by its “big hills and the big hearts of the people.” As Mayor he had realised the generosity, and good nature of the people. No one could hold that office without finding that the people, irrespective of political opinion, religious outlook, and social standing did their utmost to make the Mayor comfortable. Next year, they would celebrate the civic centenary; this was the 99th year, and he was the 69th Mayor.

If he had any regrets when he came to the end of his term, it would be that he could not have another 12 months, “I have most seriously considered suggesting to the Council that I am entitled to an extension on account of the bad weather.” (laughter).

Challenge of the future

Giving the toast of the, school, Coun. Dryden Brook, M.P., said that from the very fact of having a long and honourable history with its tradition and high ideals of education, Heath had contributed much, not merely to the life of Halifax, but to other towns and to their times. He believed it to be a fundamental truth as had been said by a well-known educationist, that an educational system should be a refreshment of the social life and social ideas of the country. Because of that, Heath, and schools like it, had enlarged ideas of education for the development of social life of their period. The glory of that and similar schools was that they had enlarged their ideas of education along with the growth of the democratic ideal and life of the community as a whole. That widening of the scope of social life had meant, particularly during the 19th-century, the growth of social consciousness among the people. Now we were on the eve of great developments in the enlargement of the horizon of human beings. The two great wars had meant we should have changes in our social life, and the great challenge of the future was to ourselves. It was only if there could be an enlargement in the quality of life that a democratic community and state could continue.

Responding, Mr. W.R. Swale, M.A., the headmaster, following references to original rules for Heath which included “to train scholars in godliness and good learning,” thought it could claimed that the school still stood for those things.

Speaking of the “Guests,” Coun. Horsley said he wished it to. be publicly known that when he had certain difficulties arising from Army Welfare work, the assistance given him by Coun. Dryden Brook, as M.P. was great indeed. He alluded also to the headmastership of Mr. Smith as one of the happiest in the history of the school. He spoke affectionately of Mr. W. B. Crump, science master from 1889 to 1914, recalling one of Mr. Crump’s comments in the science class when he spoke of certain boys being “in a quagmire of mental inertia.” Nobody was ever more loved as master at the school than Mr. Crump.

The school’s individuality

Mr. D.J. Smith, M.A.. who left Heath headship last year for that of the King Edward School, Stafford, in reply confessed he had thought he would still be at Heath for the celebrations. He was happy to see that the anniversary had been celebrated in a great manner, truly worthy of the occasion. The celebrations had begun in the Parish Church, thus maintaining that connection which was so vital in the life of Heath, showing that its aims were not materialistic but idealistic.

That was a timely 350th anniversary because the school faced a new era. One of the old injunctions for the heads of Heath began “The headmaster should be painful …” Mr. Swale might not be painful, but under him the school would be guided with wisdom, understanding, enthusiasm, administrative ability, and with real joy in the job of being headmaster, The word “new,” he proceeded, had almost become outworn in education lately —“new forms, new methods, new schools, new curricula, new teachers, new this, new that,” and we needed them. He was heartily glad to see educational extensions for young people. But, in the pursuit, love, and admiration of all that was new. there was a danger that that which was old might be neglected. It was so much easier in a large national educational system for all things to be alike. An association like Heath Old Boys could watch from outside and influence those in authority to see that Heath obtained its due, retained the vigorous individuality which had baffled H.M. Inspectors, visitors, and all sorts of administration experts whom he had experienced at one time or another. It was important that a school’s individual character, all that brought to it colour, all that it could put into life should be retained. For that reason alone he welcomed the re-establishment of the Old Boys’ Association.

Entertainment, at intervals, was agreeably given by Mr. J.A. Drake with magical moments, and Mr. N.J. Gain in a series of song cycles with Mr. E.J. Taylor as accompanist.