Church Street School Staff - July 1914

Church St School Staff

This excellent picture of the staff has survived as part of a folio of photographs which includes a dated class group which enables us to date this photograph, and the other pictures in the folio, to July 1914. Also part of the folio are photographs of the school and a classroom.

The staff photograph has the signatures of each of the staff members which enables us to discover something about each of their lives.

Seated in the middle of the front row is the then Head Teacher, John Riley. He was born in 1860 in Nottingham, the son of Samuel James & Jane Riley. Samuel was a lace warehouseman and, by 1881 he had risen to be a warehouse manager and able to support John at Teachers' College. In May of 1882, John married Selina Jane Bartlett and, after early teaching experience, probably at the Board School in Sneinton, Nottingham, he was appointed Head of Church Street Boys' School in Beeston, in 1886. This significant appointment, at the early age of 26, enabled him to move his family - then including three children but eventually to increase to seven - to live at 72 Imperial Road, Beeston, a prestigious residential area, favoured by aspiring professionals. At the school, he took over from J Edward Mills, the school's first Head Master who had retired after 3 years in that position. Riley quickly established himself as a strict disciplinarian, conducted regular examinations in the "3Rs" and introduced several new subjects - including drawing and poetry - to widen interest amongst the pupils. These changes and his tireless service over 38 years at the school gained him great respect from the Education Authorities, pupils and parents - and over a period during which the school, community and country faced the difficulties and changes of the Boer War, three monarchs and the terrible toll of the Great War. After only a short retirement, he died in 1927 followed by his wife in 1930.

Erasmus Edwin Elcombe (Standing, first left) - was born in November 1890 in Sleaford, Lincs, the son of Edwin (a tailor and woollen draper, in business at 2 Southgate, New Sleaford) and his wife Emily. It appears possible that his first teaching post was at Chilwell as he is to be found there at the time of the census in April 1911, aged 20, boarding with the caretaker of the school there. After his time at Church Street, it appears that he took up a teaching appointment in the Rochford area of Essex, possibly in Southend-on-Sea, as it was there that he married Ellen Flora Lillywhite, also an Elementary School teacher, in 1920. However, the couple returned to Nottingham where Ellen died in 1960. He then married Florence Hilda Shacklock in 1962 and died, aged 82 in 1972.

Frederick Ernest Ellis (Standing, second left) - was born in Stanton Hill, near Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts in about 1872, the son of a miner, James Ellis and his wife Ann. Like many associated with the mining industry, the family moved between pits in that area and, by 1891, was living in South Normanton, over the border in Derbyshire where James had risen to become a colliery manager. At that time, Frederick, aged 19, was working as a confectioner but was to change the direction of his career by gaining teaching experience as a pupil teacher at St Matthias' School in Nottingham and gained Certification in 1900. In 1902 he married Martha Chambers, a teacher who originated from Carlisle. Following his appointment as a teacher at Church Street, he and his wife settled in Grove Avenue, Chilwell. It appears that he transferred to the staff of Nether Street School as part of the reorganisation of Beeston schools in 1924. Frederick died in 1953, aged 81, probably in Beeston, his wife having predeceased him in 1945.

Frederick William Coe (Standing with arms folded, third left) - was born in July 1892, the son of Frederick and his wife Anna Maria, in Derby, where his father worked for the Government as an inspector of gas meters. By 1911, the family had moved to 93 Noel Street, in Nottingham where his father had accepted a similar position and young Frederick, then aged 18, was a student at University Teachers' Training College in Nottingham. At some point he also graduated from London with a B.Sc. His first teaching post as a Certified Teacher was at Lindisfarne College in Essex during 1913 but, at the time of the photograph, he was working at Church Street as a supply teacher - which, as a young teacher must have been a challenge as this 1914 photograph of Standard 3 shows that he then taught a class of 51 boys. After a year at the Municipal Technical School in Birmingham he enlisted in the Army for the duration of the War, serving with the West Riding Regiment. During this time, he did not see service abroad but may have carried out a training role. After a period as Senior Science Master at Elland & District Secondary School he moved back to Nottingham in 1920 to become Science Master (and House Master) at High Pavement School, also lecturing part-time at Nottingham University College in Physics. It was in that year that he married his fellow teacher from Church Street, Elsie Mary Elizabeth Paxton (seated, second right) and the couple later - certainly by 1934 - settled at his parents' home at 7 Osborne Avenue Sherwood. In 1931, he was appointed Head Master of the Boots Day Continuation School in Nottingham which provided further education for employees of Boots' Pure Drug Company Ltd. It was from this position that he retired in February 1955. He and his wife had no children and he died in 1969.

John William France (Standing on the right) - was born in Holmfirth, Yorkshire in about 1864, the son of George and Jane Ann France. His father had started out as a weaver but, by 1871 he had become the licensee of Brooks Hotel, Everton, Lancashire, later moving to nearby Litherland where he kept a beerhouse. By the age of 17, John William had become a pupil teacher. In 1887, he married Jean Roddan in West Derby and, by 1891, was working as a railway correspondence clerk. The couple had two children before Jean's early death in 1893. After a second marriage to Mary Maria Jackson in the Salford area of Manchester in 1894, John William moved back into teaching. By 1901, the couple had moved with the two children to Grantham where he had taken a teaching position and sometime before 1911 they moved again, this time to take up a position at Church Street. Early in 1911, his second wife, Mary Maria, also died, leaving John and his daughter Jean - it appears that his son had also died - living at 16 Chapel Street, Beeston. John appears to have left Beeston but, otherwise, details of his subsequent life are unknown.

Herbert Hargreaves (Sitting, first left) - was the son of Robert and Ann Hargreaves, their seventh surviving and youngest child, born in Castle Donington, Leicestershire in about 1870. His father worked there as a hairdresser all his life - for most of this time, on Borough Street. After gaining early teaching experience in local schools, Herbert came to Church Street about 1892 as an unqualified assistant teacher. In August 1899, no doubt following his qualification as a Certificated Teacher, he married Annie Langham, at the church in Bunny, Notts and the couple were able to settle at 34 Imperial Road, Beeston, where their only child was born in the following year. By 1911, the family had moved to 22 Harcourt Street and Herbert continued to teach at Church Street, at least up to 1921. Although it is known that their daughter, Winifred married John William Crooks at Beeston Parish Church in 1924, the family's subsequent history is currently unknown.

Winifred Austin (Sitting, second left) - was born in Leagrave, Leicestershire in about 1885. Her father, Frank C Austin was a elementary school master and her mother, Ann, was a school sewing mistress. By 1901 the family had moved to Barrow on Soar, Leicestershire, where her father taught at the local school, rising to be its Head and, by the age of 16, Winifred was a pupil teacher there. By 1911 she had risen to the level of assistant teacher at the school before her appointment at Church Street Beeston in the years leading to the time of this photograph in 1914. Nothing is currently known about her subsequent life.

Elsie Mary Elizabeth Paxton (Sitting, third left) - is the only one in this group who was a native of Beeston. She was born there in 1892, the daughter of Charles and Amelia Elizabeth (née Hudston) Paxton. Her father, a native of Edinburgh, came to Nottingham to take up a position as clerk in the offices of the Nottingham Guardian and soon became assistant to the managing publisher. In 1887, he married Amelia Elizabeth Hudston the third daughter of Samuel Hudston, a Beeston stationer and printer. The couple set up home at Victor Villas, 73 Queens Road, Beeston and three children were born to them, one dying as an infant, before Charles died in 1902 at the early age of 40 - when Elsie was aged about 10. By 1911, then aged about 19, she was teaching - probably at Church Street School. As we have seen (see above) she married fellow teacher Frederick William Coe in 1920 and moved to Sherwood, Nottingham from where he held senior positions in local schools. She died in 1988, age 96, in a nursing home in Attenborough.

These brief life stories from the era of the School Boards, illustrate clearly how much a position in the teaching profession tended to establish the individual, both socially and financially.

Thanks to Richard Sutton for offering this picture and the others in the folio. They are from the collection of his late parents, John and Marjory Sutton
and are likely to have come previously from the household of Frederick and Elsie Coe (née Paxton), who appear in the staff photograph
Elsie Paxton, Marjorie Sutton and David Hallam's mother were first cousins.

Comments and further input are welcome

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