Schools and Colleges in Ontario, 1792-1910 Volume I (1910)by
J George Hodgins
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN PORT HOPE, 1797
The first School in Port Hope was kept in 1797 in the Smith Homestead, by Mr. Collins, of Montreal. From that date until 1812 nothing definite is known of an Educational Institution in the Village, but it is not unlikely that there were Private Schools similar to the above, where the Children of the Village received instruction.
In 1812 there was a Plank School House situated on Walton Street, opposite John Street, and although a Private Institution, it may be considered as the Parent School of the present Public School System of the Town. It was taught in that year by Mr. John Farley, whom history records as a man of good Education and a successful Teacher. He was succeeded during the next few years by Mr. John Taylor, and later by Miss Hannah Burnham, who was School Mistress there from 1815 to 1817. Then followed Mr. Gardiner Clifford and Mr. Page during brief intervals.
At this juncture the School was taken down and removed to the corner of King and William Streets, where it stood for many years. In its new position the Teachers were Messieurs Hobbs, Valentine Tupper, Alexander Davidson, Patrick Lee, John Rengel-Rattery, George Hughes and ? Maxwell in succession, bringing the School period down to 1833
Meanwhile there were other Schools started in various parts of the Town. Mr. John Taylor opened a School on Cavan Street in 1819. Chief Justice Draper, then a Law Student, taught here about the same time. The Reverend Mr. Coghlan in 1832 built a School House and took advanced Pupils. Mr. Millard and the Reverend Doctor Shortt also taught there. About 1832, Mr. Murdoch McDonnell taught in Mr. J. D. Smith's old store on Mill Street for a short time, and then built a School House on the south-east corner of Pine and South Streets, which was later rented by the School Trustees. These were the first Educational Institutions the Town possessed.
The first Government aid granted to the Schools of Port Hope was received in 1842, and amounted to the sum of $182.50. From this time there was a public supervision of the Schools. The Reverend John Cassie was the first Local School Superintendent. In 1844 the Town was divided into three School Sections. For each of these Sections Trustees were appointed. Both Sections II and III had School Houses already, but it does not appear that there was ever a School House in Section I.
In 1848 the first Board of Trustees for Schools was appointed. It consisted of Reverends J. Cassie and J. Baird, and Messieurs John Reid, William Mitchell, William Barrett and William Sisson. Mr. Mitchell was Chairman, and Mr. Baird Local School Superintendent for several years.
In 1851 the Plank School House was moved some distance back on William Street and repaired. Mr. Thomas Watson was placed in charge of it, while Mr. Spotton occupied the rented School House on Pine Street. Another small School was kept at the same period by Mrs. Grierson in the Kitchen of her House. The fees of the Pupils at these Schools were about $1.25 per quarter.
Two years later, the Board of Trustees decided to erect two new School Houses, according to a plan strongly favoured by Mr. William Barrett and some others. These Schools were to be octagonal in shape, and lighted from the top. Sites were secured—one where the present East Primary School House stands, and the other on the corner of Little Hope and Sullivan Streets. Mr. Spotton was removed to the Western School and Mr. Watson to the Eastern School, while Mr. Wright was placed in charge of the old Plank School on William Street. Meanwhile a regular Grammar School had been established, which absorbed the older Pupils of these Schools. Tbe result was that a union of Schools was consummated in the Fall of 1856, and a United Grammar and Common School was opened on October 14th, 1856, in the upper flats of Knowlson's Building, on the corner of Walton and Cavan Streets, with Mr. John Gordon as Principal. Mr. Thomas Benson, Chairman of the United Board, was the man to whom the most credit was due in bringing about this important move in the educational history of the Town, without which at that time neither Public nor Grammar Schools could have property filled their mission.
In an announcement of the opening of the new School, addressed to Parents and Guardians of Children in the Town of Port Hope, Mr. Benson explains that "the hours of attendance will be from nine o'clock until twelve in the forenoon, and from one to four o'clock in the afternoon, on every week day excepting Saturday. The fees were fixed at 3s. 9d. per quarter for the Pupils in the Primary Schools; 5s. for those in the Elementary English branches in the Union School; 15s. for higher English, including Geography, Astronomy, History, Physiology, Chemistry and Natural Philosophy; 20s. for the foregoing studies with Algebra and Mathematics, and 25s. including the Classics."
To give a proper idea of this old School, it will be necessary to borrow from Doctor Purslow's concise description. "You entered at the back of the Building by a door on Cavan Street. There were 'no separate entrances for the sexes.' You mounted two flights of stairs and came to an enlarged passage, which served as a waiting-room for the Girls; another flight of stairs and you came to a similar waiting-room for the Boys; up another flight, and you arrived at the top storey, which had been partitioned off into five School Rooms."
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES IN ONTARIO
Meanwhile the Octagon and Plank School Houses were still kept open as Primary Schools. Mr. Watson took charge of the Union School, Mr. Wright took his place in the east Octagon, and the services of Mr. Erskine, a son of Lord Erskine of the Court of Session in Edinburgh, were secured for the Plank School. The latter Building was shortly after consumed by fire, and thus perished an Educational historic land-mark of the Town. Mr. Spotton took charge of the Union School, and his place was filled by Mr. Wright, while Mr. Erskine undertook to teach in the east Octagon School. Mr. Erskine's second School was almost immediately after burnt, and the Master was dismissed from the service of the Board. This School was then opened in a small wooden Building near the corner of Ward and Elgin Streets, and remained there until the East Primary School was built, in 1868. The Rooms of the west Octagon School continued to be used uninterruptedly until the time the new West Primary was built in 1873, and it was then torn down. Among its later Teachers was Mr. J. R. McNellie, who subsequently taught in the East Primary School for many years.
The Union School continued to prosper, so that, in 1861, a move to more commodious quarters was deemed necessary. In that year it was transferred to the old Meredith Building on Mill Street. Mr. Gordon severed his connection with the School in 1865, and was succeeded by Doctor Purslow. Meantime the Board of Trustees felt that the time had come to erect a superior School Building, and negotiations were set on foot whereby the present Site of the Public School was acquired and aid for building promised from the Town Council. The present School House, with the exception of the north-east Wing, was built during 1866 and opened in 1867. Here the Union School was continued for five years, when, owing to the making attendance at the Common (Public) School free, the accommodation was rendered too small. The Grammar (High) School was accordingly removed to new headquarters on Brown Street. Upon the separation of the Schools Mr. Thomas Watson became Principal of the Public School for one year. When the services of Mr. Goggin were secured, and he continued as Principal until 1885, when Mr. P. Wood was appointed.
cursor over or tap a facefrom
The educational question and the school book outrage 1902An example of how the system works, or, rather, 'is worked,' may be given. When W. T. R. Preston became an active political force in Ontario politics one of his first demands was that his old friend and townsman, Dr. Adam Purslow, the head master of the High School, Port Hope, should get something. The Minister gave him the Public School Grammar to edit. It was stated in the Legislature at the last session that Dr. Purslow's royalty had been $15,000. This was not contradicted. It seems a very large sum, but, perhaps, it included the sum given him to relinquish his claim in favour of Mr. Strang. At any rate, it was sufficient to enable him to retire comfortably in a few years.
A new wing, containing three commodious Class Rooms was added to the School in 1883, so that there was then room for eleven large Classes. A Model School
for the County of Durham was established in 1877, and has had a prosperous career. Two years ago, by the extinction of the Cobourg Model School, it has virtually become the Model School of the United Counties.
Mr. F. Wood's demise took place in 1904. Mr. A. A. Jordan succeeded him, and was Principal of the Public and Model Schools until Midsummer, 1907, when the Government did away with it and many of the Model Schools in Ontario. Mr. Robert Gillies, the present Principal, was then appointed, Mr. Jordan being appointed Principal of the Kingston Model School, it being one of the Model Schools that was retained by the Government.
Mr. George M. Healy
, referring to the Port Hope Schools in Historical Sketches, published by W. Arnot Craick of Port Hope, writes as follows:I went to Mr. Rattray's School in 1830 and later in that year I went to Mr. Hardy's. The same pupils who were with me at Mr. Rattray's School were also at Mr. Hardy's after Mr. Rattray was dismissed. . . . My only surviving school companion at that period was Mr. John Riordan. Quite a number of Mr. Rattray's pupils went to Mr. Hardy, who taught a Private School. A Mr. Friend also taught a Private School about the year 1839, in a house directly opposite the present Port Hope Guide Office. In 1840 he opened an evening class in Book-Keeping. It may be satisfactory if I mention that what I have written now and previously, has been from personal observation, having been a pupil under Messieurs Lee, Beng, Rattray, Hardy, Hughes, Maxwell McDonnell and Friend.
Another correspondent writes:
In 1832-3 Mr. R. Maxwell taught in the old School House near St. Mark's Church. About this time Mr. Murdoch McDonnell taught in the old red Store. Mr. McDonnell built a School House soon after this on the corner of Pine and South Streets, opposite the St. John's Rectory, where he taught for a considerable time. After Mr. Maxwell, Mr. George Hughes taught, again. (G. N. H.)
After the Reverend J. Coughlan left (in 1835), Mr. (afterwards the Reverend) William Millard taught a private School in the Building erected by Mr. Coughlan for his School. Mr. Millard was a prominent man In Ontario for many years In connection with Sunday Schools and other Church organizations.
(Mr. Millard was well known to the Editor of this Volume. He was a most excellent man and an active worker for the promotion of Sunday Schools in this Province. For fifteen years he was the Secretary and devoted Agent of the Sunday School Association of Canada. He was ever a most courteous Christian gentleman. In 1880 he left for England, where he remained until his death in March, 1892. aged 83 years. The Executive Committee of the Association, in a resolution, kindly sent to the Editor by Mr. J. J. Woodhouse, thus referred to Mr. Millard's labours; "The Committee recognize the fact that Mr. Millard was present at the first Canadian Sabbath School Convention, held in the City of Kingston in the year 1857. They review with pleasure his long connection with the Association, of his loving and faithful service as Secretary from its formation at Hamilton in 1865 until his retirement in 1880." In that year he went to England to attend the Centenary of Sunday Schools in London, and did not return to Canada.)
PORT HOPE EARLY SCHOOLS
The Reverend Jonathan Shortt, D.D., for more than thirty years Rector of Port Hope, succeeded Mr. Coughlan. After Mr. Millard's time he conducted most successfully a private School assisted by a Mr. Johnston. I also attended his School.
In a letter from Mr. Furby, he says:
"I saw Mr. Thomas Choat, 85 years of age, who lives at Warsaw, just east of Peterborough, to which latter place he moved in 1830. His Father was one of the early settlers here. He went to School in Port Hope to Mr. John Farley in 1812. Mr. Farley's school was kept in a Building built of plank on Walton Street, just opposite tihe Queen's Hotel. He was a man of good education and a successful Teacher. Mrs. Ozel Hawkins, his daughter, aged 96 years, still lives in Port Hope. She was of sound mind and memory until very recently. The next Teacher in the same building was Mr. John Taylor (already spoken of). He was succeeded by Miss Hannah Burnham, from New Hampshire, Sister of the late Mr. Mark Burnham, of Port Hope, and of Messieurs Zaccheus, (Born in February, 1777, and with his Father, Asa, came to Canada in 1798. He was an early settler in the Township of Hamilton, near Cobourg. He was elected to the Upper Canada House of Assembly in 1817 and 1820, and called to the Legislative Council in 1831. He died in 1867, in his 80th year.) Asa and John Burnham, of Cobourg—very prominent men in their day. This Teacher may be the Miss 'Burns' mentioned by Mr. George Ward. She taught from 1815 to 1817. Mr. Gardiner Clifford was the next Teacher, but only for a short time; Mr. Thomas Page followed. The Building was then taken down and moved to the southeast corner of King and William Streets. Then came Mr. Hobbs and Mr. T. Valentine Toffer; the latter was afterwards a man of note in the County. Mr. Alexander Davidson followed. He was the author of a Spelling Book, for the copyright of which he sought the protection of the Legislature. He went afterwards to Niagara, where he prepared a book of Sacred Music, or Sacred Harmony, as he called it, which was adopted by the Wesleyan Methodist Church. After him came Messieurs Patrick Lee, R. Maxwell, and George Hughes.from
The Watchman July 25, 1851
(as quoted in The Evening Guide Friday December 29, 1967
EXAMINATION OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
According to appointment, the examination of the Common Schools of this Town took place on Friday and Saturday, the 8th and 19th Instant. William Sisson, Esq. was called to the Chair. The Rev. Mr. McCullough attended during part of the examination. The Rev. James Baird, Superintendent, conducted the exercises. The boys were examined in the Forenoon on Reading, Spelling and Geography; and in the Afternoon on Grammar, Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry.
In general they acquitted themselves well, but about a dozen of them, chiefly Mr. Spotton's pupils, exhibited very considerable attainments in the knowledge of Geography, Grammar and Arithmetic, a few shewing considerable acquaintance with Algebra, and one with Geometry.
The Girls were examined on Saturday. The Rev. Messrs. Shortt and McCullough attended during the whole of the examination. The Rev Mr. Shortt conducted part of the examination. They were examined on Reading, Spelling, Geography. Grammar and History. We were very much pleased with their nice, modest, clean and neat, appearance and the general attainments in their studies.
We were sorry to see so Few visitors; we hope, however, that our fellow Townsmen will take a greater interest in the next semi-annual examination. We should also be glad if the Board of School Trustees would, as formerly, vote a few dollars for premiums, and our generous Fellow Townsmen generally would contribute a trifle towards giving the pupils a public tea after the examination. Thus something encouraging, agreeable and social would be connected with our rising literary institutions.from
a newspaper clipping 1853
REV. J. BAIRD'S PRIVATE SCHOOL
On Thursday last we were favoured with an opportunity of attending the Examination of Rev. James Baird's Grammar School. The Exercises were opened by prayer offered by the Rev. W. McCullough; there was a large number of friends and visitors considering the select character of the School; and nearly all the ministers of the town were present to witness the proceedings.
The first class examined was in English reading, and we were much pleased to observe with what care and attention the young gentlemen acquitted themselves regarding punctuation, prefixes, affixes, emphasis, pause, tone, and the proper modulation of the voice. This is the only way to lay a 'sure foundation' for a proper educational structure. Some of the junior classes were examined in Latin, embracing grammar and exercises, and acquitted themselves to the satisfaction of all who had the privilege of witnessing the proceedings.
A senior class was examined in Sallust, and the young Masters did remarkably well. Some compositions were read,—two of than elicited much praise—one on the value of Time, and the other on the importance of education.
On the whole we would say, from all that we witnessed, that we have no hesitation in recommending Mr. Baird's School to the attention and support of the public. Mr. B. is a Baptist minister, as is generally known; he is deservedly popular with the members of his Church, and universally respected by all who know him; therefore Parents and Guardians of youth may with confidence place pupils under his charge.
THE SCHOOLS OF PORT HOPE IN THE EARLY FIFTIES
Doctor Henry Forbes, eldest son of Mr. H. G. H. Forbes, late of Her Majesty's Customs in the Town of Port Hope, lately paid a visit to the scenes of his childhood here. He was one of the senior Boys attending the Grammar School then held on the top story of Knowlson's Block, when Doctor Purslow first became connected with it in 1859. He, therefore, called on his old Teacher, and the two spent an interesting time talking over the incidents of those days and telling and hearing stories of "old Boys" who now are scattered far and wide. Doctor Purslow obtained from Doctor Forbes a promise to put the recollections of his School life in writing and send them to him at an early day. This he did, as follows:—
"My earliest recollections of the Public School System of Port Hope dates from the summer of 1851, when the Town employed Mr. Thomas Watson to teach the primary grades of the Schools. There was no Grammar School at that time, but a higher education could be obtained at Private Schools. Mr. Thomas Spotton kept a Private School, and taught everything from the Alphabet to Homer. It was a small Frame Building of one Room, since burned down. The older Boys will remember going there.
"In 1852, the first, attempt to have a Grammar School was made. The Town then built two Octagon School Houses, one on the plan just below Ward's Hill, the other in Englishtown. Mr. Watson was made Teacher of the former, and a Mr. Wright of the latter. These two Schools were the first of the organized Schools, which led up to the present School System. In 1852 the Town thought it best to organize a purely Grammar School and employed a Mr. Oliver T. Miller, a fine classical Scholar from Trinity College, Dublin. The School was located in a large Room on the left of the entrance to the Town Hall, which had then been just completed, where it remained for two years, under Mr. Miller's care until the Winter of 1854-5, and many of the older people of Port Hope can remember his good qualities, and fine abilities as a Classical Teacher. I remained in his School until his departure. Among his Pupils were the Burnhams, Smiths, Bensons, George M. Furby, Sisson, Sculthorps, Gladmans, McNaughtons, Mitchell, and many others.
"The School then was placed in the charge of Mr. McNaughton, one of the advanced Scholars. He only remained until the Fall of 1855, when the Board of School Trustees employed Mr. Brooks P. Lister, a young man from Christ Church, Oxford, who, although well educated, did not have the faculty of planting knowledge in our heads, and was allowed to resign in 1856. The School was then kept by him in a Room on Walton Street. Mr. Benson,—the Father of Judge Benson,—was the Chairman of the School Board, and with the Reverend Jonathan Shortt and others, did good service and organized the 'United and Grammar and Common Schools,' and employed a corps of Teachers, consisting of Mr. John Gordon, Principal; Mr. Launcelot Younghusband, Fourth Division; Mr. T. Watson, Third Division, and two female Teachers, Mrs. Grimison, and Miss Keown, of Toronto. Mr. Gordon did good work until his leaving In 1865. Mr. Younghusband was succeeded by Mr. Thomas Gordon, and he, by Mr. A. Purslow; Mr. Watson remained at his post for many years. Many of the old Boys of Port Hope, myself included, look with fond memories on his valued service and kindness. The Schools were removed to Mill Street about 1860, and on Mr. John Gordon's resignation, Mr. Adam Purslow was appointed Principal. The fine new Buildings on Pine Street were built after I left Port Hope, and the School gradually increased in efficiency under the able supervision of Doctor Purslow, until his retirement.
Henry Gordon Forbes, M.D., 'An Old Port Hope School Boy.'
HlSTORY OF THE PORT HOPE HlGH SCHOOL
The history of the Port Hope High School as a teaching Institution is identical with the history of Secondary Education in Port Hope. Until the establishment of a Grammar School in 1853, such instruction was given in Private Schools, of which there were several in existence from time to time. The real progenitor of the Grammar School, however, was the Seminary founded by the Reverend James Coghlan in 1831, in the House near the Toronto Road. Mr. Millard and the Reverend Doctor Shortt continued the academic labours of Mr. Coghlan in the same building. Conjointly other Teachers were giving instruction in the Classics and Mathematics, notable among whom were the Reverend Mr. Baird, Mr. Thomas Spotton and Mr. Thomas Watson.
In 1851 the Government of Upper Canada passed an Act enabling Towns like Port Hope to open Grammar Schools and to secure financial aid for their maintenance. Two years later Port Hope decided to take advantage of this legislation and to establish a Grammar School. Trustees were accordingly appointed, who immediately petitioned the Town Council for the use of a Room in the newly completed Town Hall. The Council readily complied and fitted up for School purposes a Room in the south-east corner of the first floor of the Hall. Here the School was opened in 1853 with Mr. Oliver T. Miller, a Dublin Scholar of fine attainments, as Master. Mr. Miller remained in charge of the School until May, 1855, during which time the Trustees removed the Classes to a separate Building standing on the south-east corner of Dorset and Smith Streets.
(The flrst Grammar School in Port Hope was opened in 1858, with Mr. O. T. Miller. M.A., a Graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, as Head Master. The Government Grant was about Four hundred dollars yearly for salaries. The Pupil's Fees were, I think, about four dollars per quarter; but the number of daily Pupils did not exceed Twenty. The School was not a great success. Mr. Miller was a fine Scholar and a gentleman, but he was at a great disadvantage without an Assistant, or suitable building in which to teach; for the Law made no provision for Grammar School Buildings. Afterwards, under the School Act, the Grammar School became united with the Public Schools, under the Headmastership of Mr. John Gordon, afterwards a distinguished Educationist in Ireland, and both Schools continued ever after to prosper. (George M. Furby, Port Hope.)
After the Summer Vacation of 1855the School was opened in a Room above the Store on Walton Street. Here Mr. Brooks P. Lister from Christ Church, Oxford, taught for a year. Local history records that, as a Teacher, he was a distinct failure.
The Fall of 1856 witnessed the union of the Grammar and Public Schools in Knowlson's Building, under the Headmastership of Mr. John Gordon.
Mr. Gordon continued to hold the post of Head Master until 1865, when he was appointed one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools in Ireland and left for that Country. He came to Port Hope in middle-life—a cultured gentleman, who secured the universal favour of the Town by his disinterested and genuine devotion to his work. He was succeeded in the control of the Union School by Doctor Adam Purslow, who had been associated with him on the staff since 1859.
Legislation of 1871 changed the names of Grammar to High, and Common to Public School, and rendered the latter free. The result was a great influx of Pupils and the Union School Building was found to be much too small. To meet the difficulty the Joint Board of Trustees purchased the 'Old Kirk' on Brown Street in the Fall of 1872, and, in January, 1873, opened it as a High School, under the Principalship of Doctor Purslow.
There were four Forms and Three Teachers in the School and the registered attendance was fifty Boys and thirty-two Girls. In 1878 representations were made of the necessity for a fourth Teacher, and, in 1881, the Board appointed a Science Master. Since then a fifth Assistant Teacher has been added.
In July of 1894, Doctor Purslow resigned the Principalship and severed his connection with the teaching staff of the School. After thirty-six years of active service, during which the Doctor had successfully superintended the upbringing of two generations, the time had come for him to seek a well-earned rest and the event of his retirement was made the opportunity by both Pupils and Ex-Pupils of giving expression to the high esteem in which he had been held. He was succeeded as Head Master by Mr. T. A. Kirkconnell, who, for several years, had been Mathematical Master and Doctor Purslow's Assistant.
In 1896, the new High School Building on the north-west corner of Brown and Bedford Streets was erected, and, in January of 1897, the School was moved up the hill to its new home. The new Building, with its modern equipment, commodious and pleasing appearance, (all of which was acquired at an expense of little over $12,000), far surpassed its antiquated, cramped and unimposing predecessor.
The new Building was officially opened on January the 11th, 1897, by the Honourable G. W. Boss, Minister of Education for the Province of Ontario. In the evening Judge Benson, Chairman of the High School Board, presided at a crowded Meeting in the Opera House, where the Honourable Minister delivered an appropriate address.Mr. Kirkconnell was appointed Principal of the Lindsay Collegiate Institute in 1908, and was succeeded in Port Hope High School by Mr. E. E. Snider, the present Principal.(W. Arnott Craick's record of Schools in the Port Hope Historical Sketches.)
Another local record of the Schools in Port Hope states that:—
When the regular Grammar School had been established, which absorbed the older Pupils of these Common Schools, and made It scarcely possible to keep so many of these Institutions going. The result was that a union was consummated in the Fall of eighteen hundred and fifty-six, and a United Grammar and Public School was opened, on October the fourteenth, eighteen hundred and fifty-six in the upper flats of Knowlson's Building, corner of Walton and Cavan Streets, with Mr. John Gordon as Principal. Mr. Thomas Benson, Chairman of the United Board, was the man to whom the most credit was due in bringing about this important move in the eduactional history of the Town, without which, at that time, neither Public nor Grammar Schools could have properly fulfilled their mission.
In an announcement of the opening of the new combined School, addressed to Parents and Guardians of children in the Town of Port Hope, Mr. Benson explains that "fees are fixed at three shillings and nine pence per quarter for the pupils in the primary schools; five shillings for those in the elementary English branches in the Union School; fifteen shillings for higher English, including Geography, Astronomy, History, Physiology, Chemistry and Natural Philosophy; twenty shillings for the foregoing studies with Algebra and Mathematics and twenty-five shillings Including the Classics."
To give a proper idea of this old School, it will be necessary to borrow from Doctor Purslow's concise description lately written. "You entered at the back of the building by a door on Cavan Street. There were 'no separate entrance for the sexes.' Up two flights of stairs there was an enlarged passage, which served as a Waiting Room for the Girls; another flight of stairs and you came to a similar Waiting Room for the Boys; up another flight, and you arrived at the top storey, which had been partitioned off into five School Rooms."
Meanwhile the Octagon and Plank School Houses were still kept open as primary Schools. Mr. Watson was brought into the Union School, Mr. Wright took his place in the East Octagon School, and the services of Mr. Erskine, son of Lord Erskine of the Court of Session In Edinburgh, were secured for the plank School. The latter building was shortly after consumed by fire, and thus perished an historic land-mark of the Town. A new shifting of Teachers ensued. Mr. Spotton came down to the Union School and his place was taken by Mr. Wright, while Mr. Erskine undertook to teach in the East Octagon School. It so happened Mr. Erskine's second School was almost immediately after consumed and the unfortunate Master dismissed from the service of the Board. This School was then opened in a small wooden building near the corner of Ward and Elgin Streets and remained there until the present East Primary School was built in eighteen hundred and sixty-eight.
The career of the West Octagon School was of a longer duration. It continued to be used uninterruptedly until the time the new West Primary School House was built in 1873, and it was then, not being required, torn down. Among its later Teachers was Mr. J. R. McNellle, who subsequently taught in the East Primary School for many years. The Union School, notwithstanding its uncomfortable position, continued to prosper, so that in eighteen hundred and sixty-one, a move to more commodious quarters was deemed necessary. In that year it was transferred to the old Meredith Building on Mill Street, until recently occupied by the Carpet Factory.
Mr. Gordon severed his connection with the School in eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and was succeeded by Dr. Purslow.
Meantime the Board of Trustees felt that the time had come to erect a regular school building and negotiations were set on foot whereby the present site of the Public School was acquired and aid promised from the Town Council. The present building, with the exception of the northeast wing was built during eighteen hundred and sixty-six and opened in eighteen hundred and sixty-seven. During the process of construction the Town passed two Bylaws, authorizing the raising of ten thousand three hundred and eighty dollars to meet the expenses incurred. Here the Union School was housed for five years, when, owing to the making attendance at the Common (Public) School free the accommodation was rendered too small. The Grammar (High) School accordingly left the building for new headquarters on Brown Street.
Upon their separation Mr. Thomas Watson became Principal of the Public School for one year. Then the services of Mr. Goggin were secured and he continued as Principal until eighteen hundred and eighty-eight when the present Head of the School, Mr. F. Wood, was appointed.
A new wing containing three commodious Class-rooms was added to the School in eighteen hundred and eighty-three so that now there Is room for eleven large classes.
A Model School for the County of Durham was established in eighteen hundred and seventy-seven and has had a prosperous career. Two years ago by the extinction of the Cobourg Model School, it has virtually become the Model School of the United Counties.from
the Evening Guide July 27, 1959 page 9
SCHOOLS OLD AND NEW PRODUCE MANY OUTSTANDING SCHOLARS
The story of secondary schools in Port Hope dates back to 1854 when Oliver T. Miller established a Grammar school teaching his pupils in the town hall. About this time the Government of the Province extended financial assistance to the secondary schools and a Board of Trustees was appointed. The first Board consisted of Rev. D. Shortt, Rev. Jas. Cassie, Dr. Parks, John Might and T. Benson. Rooms were acquired on the third floor of Knowlton building on Walton St., and from there they tramped from place to place; rooms in the Meredith building on Mill St., accomodation on Dorset St., later they shared space in the old Central school and in 1872 the Board acquired the unused St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on Brown St.
Dr. Purslow was the headmaster and his assistants were W. E. Tilley and Miss J. Kyle (later Mrs Craick). There were 50 boys and 22 girls. T. Dixon Craig was the first to get his matriculation. Later he became M.P.
In 1884 the place was rennovated and there the pupils remained according to the Guide, as described by Mr Purslow, uncomfortably stationed in a musty poorly ventillated unsanitary building that was frequently condemned by the Inspectors of the Department of Education. Dr Purslow was their headmaster for 38 years until 1894.
On Jan. 11th 1897 a new High building School was dedicated by the Hon. George Ross, Minister of Education, who complimented the Trustees and Port Hope on what he termed a little gem of a school, complete in every detail, well ventillated, well arranged, well lighted and well prepared for every branch of study. Not over-architecturally beautiful, he had said, but for beauty of location it could not be surpassed.
It served its purpose, and for its day it was a triumph for those who had looked forward to having everything modern.
In the issue of the Guide of Wed. 31st, October 1956 the story is told that another new High School has been dedicated and complete in every detail.
The former High School, now Dr. Hawkins School, accommodates grades 7 and 8.