St Martin's Northern Schools

St Martin's Northern Schools. 1850. Source: Illustrated London News, 19 October 1850, p. 312. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Extract from the ILN

A sermon was preached on Thursday, by the Bishop of London, in St. Martin's Church, for the purpose of inaugurating the St. Martin's Northern Schools. These have been erected in Castle-street, Long-acre; the architect being Mr. James William Wild, and the builders Messrs. Haward and Nixon, at the expense of £2433. The accommodation will include 400 boys and girls, and a large school-room for infants; with master's and mistress's separate residences. There is a covered playground at the top of the building—a novel feature, which extends the whole length of it (100 feet). The additienal height and colonnade required for the purpose add much to the effect. The Schools are intended to be self-supporting, though hitherto established by funds which have in fact been collected by subscriptions. The Bishop of London took for his text on the present occasion Mark x, verse 14: — “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” The right rev. prelate commenced by observing that those who brought their children to the Saviour to be healed, perhaps also extended their care to their moral welfare; nevertheless, the disciples mur mured and incurred the rebuke of their Master, who commanded the children to be brought to him — a fact referred to in the baptismal service of the Chureh. “We act,” continued his Grace,

in the spirit of that institution, in providing instruction for the infant mind, and thereby assist sponsors and parents in their duties. It is the province of the Church to deal with man as a spiritual being, responsible to God, and a probationer for eternity. But, unfortunately, the theory and practice of the case do not exactly agree. The province of education, in fact, cannot be restricted. It must combine many things which have no direct reference to religion. But his Lordship considered this an advantage, as interested motives might be brough to bear upon and to aid the great object in view. Long life and riches are equally the results of learning and religion, properly applied — wherefore the former may be used to corroborate the latter. But, on account of the opposition of the natural man, spiritual truths and motives must be the more emphatically enforced line upon line, and precept upon precept. Intellectual cultivation is not alone sufficient — it must be sanctified by the influences of the Gospel. The revolutionists of society are mostly instructed men; but, being with out religion, they are only the more degraded on that account. Nevertheless, the wrongs and sorrows of the poor are entitled to redress. Their condition, which makes them the victims of infidelity and treason, demands improvement. Increased exertions on the part of the Church are required, particularly in giving a religious character to education, and this mainly for the purpose of preventing the encroachments of Puritanism on the one hand, and Popery on the other. As to the last, there was great need of diligence; the Pope having recently offered an insult to the Church of England. Protestant education, therefore, should be the aim; an education, however, general in its character, and comprehending whatever it is useful to know and to apply. Man is born the heir of both time and immortality, and secular instruction must accordingly be largely promoted. Nevertheless, it should always be ac commanied with Church instruction. Additional churches were needed, as well as additional schools.

The sermon concluded with the advocacy of the cause of the New Northern Schools, and solicited funds in aid of their institution. A wealthy parish, at the West-end of the town, like St. Martin's, should set an example to poorer and less privileged localities. After the sermon, the children walked in procession to the building, in Castle street, Long-acre, where a magnificent breakfast awaited the subscribers, in order to inaugurate the Schools. In the absence of the Bishop of London, who was compelled to retire from indisposition, the Rev. Henry Mackenzie presided, who announced subscriptions received from her Majesty and Prince Albert, from the Woods and Forests, and from the Duke of Northumberland, of £100 each. After descanting upon the example of domestic virtue in the high places of the land, set by her Majesty, Mr. Mackenzie proposed the health of the Queen. In proposing that of the Bishop of the diocese, Mr. Mackenzie, authorized by the Bishop's sermon, ventured a digression on the conduct of the Pope, in appointing an Archbishop of Westminster, and censured much the unseemly interference of a foreign potentate; nay, what he would call the insolent presumption of a foreign bishop. The crown in this country was the fountain of honour, both ecclesiastical and political, and not the Vatican. In the words of our great bard, he would say, that “No Italian priest should tithe or toll in our dominions.” Latimer's candle still burned in undiminished radiance throughout England. The heart of England was still sound, and beat in behalf of Church and State united. In the course of the toasts and the speeches, it was remarked that the founding and first establishment of the schools was due to the Rev. Sir Henry R. Dukinfield, Bart., the late vicar of the parish. Sir Henry replied in an appropriate speech. The health of the churchwardens having been given with others, including that of William Cotton, Esq., late Governor of the Bank of England, the meeting separated. The company amounted to about 250 persons.

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">“St Martin's Northern Schools.” Illustrated London News. (19 October 1850): 312. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 24 August 2020.

Created 24 August 2020