College – Issue 41

William Guise Brittan (10) wrote of the time he spent in the classroom “which was about 17 feet long and 16 in width” 22 at St Michael’s in 1852-1853. “We sat for preparation or written work at a double row of desks, all round the room, and for translation or other via voce work we had to come up in class and stand round the master’s desk…. As space had to be economised the desks were very much crowded and it was a difficult matter to get in and out…” 23 Information about the course of instruction can be found in the advertisements in the Lyttelton Times in March 1851. It was to include,“Greek and Latin Classics, Ancient and Modern History, Ecclesiastical History, and Geography, Arithmetic, Algebra, and Euclid, Vocal Music, and Drawing, and French, and, above all, the Doctrines of the Church of England as expounded, by the United Church of England and Ireland”. On the front cover of the Form Book in Henry Jacobs’ handwriting is the scheme which was devised for recording how well each piece of work was completed. (Figure 4)

Figure 4 – Form Book, Register of Places and Exercises, Christ’s College Archives.

To this was added the place in class on any particular day. Exercise and place marks contributed to an overall place for the week. Clues in the Form Book make it possible to follow the College year. From 1853-1855 there was a regular pattern of a 21–-22 week first term, followed by a four or five week break in June or July. The year continued with another 19–20 week term which culminated in a seven-week summer holiday. In 1856 the pattern changed. A 20-week term

was followed by a four-week break as usual. However, the rest of the year was divided into a 10-week term, followed by a two-week break in late September/early October, and then another nine- week term ending on 13 December. The same source, and the Bad Conduct Register indicate that Saturday School was introduced on 3 September 1853. Additional holidays were based around the Church’s year. There was always a short break in March or April, depending on the date of Easter followed by one or two days

Figure 5 – Place and Exercise marks for October 4th – 8th 1852 for Joseph Brittan and Benjamin Dudley. Dudley’s marks were made up by: Opt (4 marks ) + 4 x S (4 marks) = 8 exercise marks 2 x placed 2nd and 2 x placed 1st = 6 place marks Total for the week = 14

Form Book, Register of Places and Exercises, Christ’s College Archives.

Christ’s College Canterbury


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