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THE OLD SCHOOL HOUSE – WILLIAM PART SCHOOL
The earliest educational establishment in Hale was erected in 1739, it was founded by William Part, a mariner, and it stands at the western end of the village on the High Street – near to Ramsbrook Lane.
The school building is constructed of red brick with a clay tile roof, with an octagonal cupola supported on slender columns intended to house a bell. The lead dome on top has a weather in the form of a sailing ship to represent William Part’s maritime occupation.
The east facing facade is of 4 bays one of which is occupied by a two story projecting porch inset to the building, with a stone tablet bearing an inscription in Latin, which translates as “Sacred To Memory, William Part, descended of an old race, long inhabitants of this village, built this edifice at his own sole expense, and endowed it in the year of human redemption, 1739”.
The brick arch windows are unusually large, presumably to
allow extra daylight to flood into the classroom.
The original frames were treble horizontal sliding sash, but
were replaced with replicas of similar design.
Surmounted on the wall at the southern end of the facade
is an unusual vertical sundial.
The building was refurbished and extended in 1875 by the
Lord of the Manor Colonel John Ireland Blackburne, who
was a Trustee of the school and converted it from a mixed
school to a boys school. In 1874 a girls school and been
erected by Colonel Ireland Blackburne at the opposite end
of the village – in Pepper Street
After William Part had constructed his school in 1739, he
set - out clear regulations for the running of the school
along with a board of trustees was formed. Children from
Hale, were to be taught free and as soon as the clear
income of the School Master reach £20, children from
anywhere were to have the privilege on certain conditions
as follows> Every Pupil, except those of the poor of Hale,
were to pay 5 shillings entrance fee, 1s.6d at Shrovetide and 1 shilling for food.
The Church Catechism or other orthodox explanations were to be taught in the school and the Lord or Lady of the Manor had the power to make alterations to the regulations as they thought necessary – and which they thought would benefit the school.
In 1753 William Part donated £200 towards his school, along with other donations which were recorded on a “Board of Benefaction”, in St Mary’s Church Hale. This was known as “The William Part Charity”, and provided repairs to the school, books for the poor children and for the Schoolmaster!
Two further charities were set up for the maintenance of the school, that of Ellen Halsall in the early part of the 18th century, who donated 20 shillings annuity from her properties in Tithebarn Street and Kay Street in Liverpool, along with Ellen Bushell in the early 19th century whose will left £100 to be paid to the Master for the teaching of 4 boys free.
By 1875 the school was in bad condition and the Master, who had been there for 47 years, was incapable of teaching. Colonel Ireland Blackburne decided to rebuild the Old School House and he asked the Charity Commissioners if he could do so at his own expense. He also wished to dismiss the School Master and provided new equipment for the building.
The Comissioners reply was that they would have it considered under the Endowed Schools Acts, but it would be difficult. The Colonel was not content with this and abandoned his suggestion to the Commissioners. He made out a deed appointing Trustees who were to hold the premises on trust while he resigned the School Master, repaired his house and built a larger School House. He then made a yearly contribution of £50 to the School Masters salary.
Around 1905 the school had an average attendance of 40 pupils and was a public elementary school for boys who paid a weekly fee of one penny in the fourth standard and upwards.
By the 1960’s the schoolhouse was too small and outdated so a decision was made to build a new school on a field at the edge of the villa to accommodate both boys and girls. The building of the new village school commenced in 1969.
The old schoolhouse building was put to alternative use. William Parts original schoolhouse of 1739 was converted into a private dwelling, whilst the 1875 extension became a youth club, which is still in use to this day...
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