Mundella School, Collygate Road, Meadows, Nottingham, 1986 | Root
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Mundella School, Collygate Road, Meadows, Nottingham, 1986 | Root

Description

    • The School was open from 1899 until 1985. This view shows the East facade looking NorthWest from Collygate Road. The building in the front of this photo was the cycle shed and woodwork room. School demolished in 1986. Mundella Higher Grade School & School of Science, 'built to meet the growing and advanced educational needs of the City of Nottingham' was a splendid Victorian edifice. It was opened on 1Oth April 1899 by Sir George Kekewich, Permanent Secretary to the Department of Education. The date plaque on the school said 1897 but the construction of the school, which was near the River Trent, was delayed by floods. The school building cost £17,146 with a further £4,000 for equipment and was to house 402 girls and 502 boys. The more able pupils were transferred from Queen's Walk School and they walked from their old school to the new one at the opening. At their entrance to the school hall they are said to have sung 'Advance, Advance Australia'. The original school uniform was black and instead of a school crest they wore the, then, new City of Nottingham Coat of Arms. The well known maroon and gold uniform, together with school crest, the motto 'Go Forward', and the school song were all introduced in the 1920s. The song was written by schoolmasters Ringrose and Clark. The badge was designed by A.A. Game, the art master. The school and its name reflected changing political ideas on education, eventually becoming Mundella Grammar School, which name it bore to the end. At the introduction of comprehensive education the grammar pupils remained until they had completed their schooling and the school then moved to the Roland Green Comprehensive School. Despite many protests, the Mundella building was then demolished in about 1985. The unsuccessful Roland Green school became the Wilford Meadows School which was recently closed as one of Nottingham's failing schools. It is now to breathe new life and new hope as the Nottingham Emmanuel School, managed by the Church of England. Evidence of its links with the old Mundella School will be the Mundella Honours Boards and the statue of A.J. Mundella which will be given to the school. At the outbreak of the second World War, on 5th September 1939, the school was evacuated to Stamford, Lincs. The pupils returned to Nottingham in March 1940. Old Mundellans include St. Mary's choirboys and churchwardens, broadcasters, athletes, mountaineer Doug Scott and current director of Tottenham Hotspur, David Fleet. The First World War memorial now presented to St. Mary's was unveiled in the school's Upper Hall on Armistice Day, 11th November 1920. There were two guards of honour, one of serving officers and one of school cadets under their commanding officer Capt. T.C.Thorpe. The unveiling ceremony was performed by Major S.R. Trotman. Antony John Mundella was the son of an Italian political refugee and an English mother. Born in 1825, he left school at the age of nine yet became so important that his name was chosen for Nottingham's co-educational grammar school whose war memorial now resides at St. Mary's. The city's other two grammar schools were Manning for girls and High Pavement for boys. The story of Mundella's life is an inspiring one of energy and idealism. A photograph of him his huge bushy beard used to hang on the wall near the Headmaster's study along with a framed certificate telling that Mundella School had provided a dog named Mundella for Scott's ill fated Antarctic expedition. A. J. Mundella was brought up in Leicester, moved to Nottingham and became a Liberal M.P. for Sheffield. The family was a poor one and Antony found himself working as a printer's devil at the age of nine. Two years later his fortunes improved slightly when he became apprenticed to a Leicester stocking weaver. He completed his apprenticeship and was promoted, first to journeyman, then overseer and then manager. He married, became a Sunday school superintendent and got involved with politics. Then, at the age of twenty three he was offered a partnership in the Nottingham firm that became Hine and Mundella. The next fifteen years of Mundella's life were devoted to innovations in the hosiery industry. Hine and Mundella's new factory, completed in September 1851, was the first to use steam to power the stocking frame. It had the latest technology; wide, spacious workrooms, good working conditions and was brightly lit by gas. The company paid well and sought good workmen who could use their brains to improve the manufacturing process so brilliantly improved by Mundella. Always involved in politics, Mundella was a Chartist and a town councillor representing Park Ward and in 1852 was Sheriff of Nottingham. In 1878 he became an Alderman. However, life was not a continuous process of success and improvement for Mundella. The factory was burnt down in February 1859 while working flat out to honour export orders. Unrest in the hosiery industry was caused by the fact that factory workers were paid so much better than the old home-workers and Mundella became chairman of the Board of Conciliation, set up to prevent strikes by negotiating fixed prices for handwork. His ideas were so effective that they were adopted in Europe and the USA. Then came the cotton famine associated with the American Civil War. Mundella had a nervous breakdown, went to Italy and spent two years abroad recuperating. The company became a limited liability company and Mundella was free to become involved in politics full time. The great issue of the day was the possibility of a national scheme for education. Poor toddlers were often pinned to the aprons of mothers working dangerous framework knitting machinery. Mundella could see from his own experience in industry and also from his travels in Europe where he had seen compulsory education in Germany, that there was an urgent need to educate the workforce for the changes that were taking place. At the same time there were disputes between capital and labour in connection with the developing railways and Mundella's expertise as an arbitrator was called upon in setting up Boards of Conciliation. His face became familiar to the trades unions and the workers, urging them to seek arbitration and education. In the 1868 General Election he was invited to contest the seat in Sheffield and at the age of forty three Mundella became a Member of Parliament. Mundella managed to get passed his Factory Act of 1874 at a second try and after three attempts his bill for compulsory education was also adopted. Gladstone appointed him Vice President of the Privy Council and he became virtually minister of education. It was during this time that he brought in measures obliging all local authorities to frame bye laws to compel children to attend school. He went on to lay down ideas for a modern education system with secondary education for all. Apparently he was violently opposed by Cardinal Manning for this. Mundella's long and illustrious career had another setback over a scandal connected with a company in which he had an interest. He was President of the Board of Trade at the time and had to resign. However, he overcame the scandal and was returned to Parliament once more by his loyal supporters in Sheffield. Antony John Mundella became ill with what was described as paralysis and died at his home in Elvaston Place, South Kensington on 21st July 1897. After a memorial service at St. Margaret's, Westminster, his body came home by train to Nottingham for the biggest funeral the town had ever seen, conducted by Archdeacon Richardson at St. Mary's Church after a communion service for the principal mourners. He was buried at the Church Cemetery, also known as the Rock Cemetery, where his memorial can still be seen. During his illness concern had been expressed by important people at the time ranging from Queen Victoria to leading politicians of all shades of opinion. The names of the well known people attending the funeral extended to about 16 column inches of Nottingham's Daily Express. (information from www. mundella.org.uk)

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