the building of Christ Church School #3


William Hodgson’s struggles to find the money to build a schoolroom for Christ Church continued. His next letter to the Secretary of the National Society gave more detail of the costs of the proposed school.

Dec 26 1838

Reverend and dear Sir,

I have not before this day been able to seize an opportunity of answering the two letters with which you last favoured me.

I return my warmest thanks for the few hints you offer. Some of the plans you mention are in active operation, and, by the Grace of God, the remaining ones shall not be lost sight of.

All the parts of the estimate have been furnished by men who are accustomed to undertake those respective parts; but in erections of this kind things are always wanted which were not at first foreseen, – and under this [lost] it was that I observed in my last that [lost] should be wanting other things than what are already included. The estimate came in as follows, viz,

christ church costs

In the above, as you will perceive, the expense of ground conveyance, five grates and stoves are not included; the extra of which would probably be about £12. But it is intended to let the work by ticket, by which the original estimate will probably be so much reduced. It is my conviction that the building and fittings up, so far as can be foreseen, need not cost more that the estimate which I have given, and that it cannot be well done for a less cost.

I have in a rough way, sketched the ground plan, because it appeared from yours of the 12th that my statement had not been sufficiently clear. I hope that the plan will meet with your approbation, and if not, shall thankfully receive you kind instructions, fearing that the two Class Rooms may be thought unnecessary, I would beg to say that they would be very useful.

Hodgson had also applied to central government for a grant. The government had made the first such grant only a few years earlier and prior to that had had no involvement in education provision. The most it did by this point was make grants towards the building of schools to be run and financed on an ongoing basis by voluntary organisations such as the National Society (National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church in England and Wales, established 1811

In the end the money necessary to build the school was forthcoming. Final plans were drawn up in May 1840 and it was completed by January of the following year. Hodgson’s money problems were not over though. The school opened in January 1841, but children were taught on Sunday only, presumably by Hodgson himself. The intention had been that money to pay a full-time teacher would come from school fees paid by those attending, or at least be largely covered by these, any deficit being made up by the better-off locals. But, nothing like the necessary number of children came to the school in the first year or so to support a teacher and it continued to open on Sundays only. Hodgson would soon be going cap in hand again.

Sources: the image of Christ Church – Lancashire Archives reference PR 3173/2; Hodgson’s letters to The National Society are at the Church of England Record Centre, reference NS 7/1/3365

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