Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Lytham College for Boys, Ansdell - an article from 1904

Article from Faces and Places vol.3 NS no.8, August 1904

Lytham College

Lytham College c1901MARIE CORELLI Says in relation to the noble powice of the education of youth, "overstudy is fatal to originality of character; and both clearness of brain and strength of physique are denied to the victims of cram. Professor Cadman Gore was an advocate of cramming; he was esteemed in many quarters as the best coach of the day, and he apparently considered a young human brain as a sort of expanding bag or holdall, to be filled with various bulky, articles of knowledge, useful or otherwise, till it showed signs of bursting, then it was to be promptly strapped together, locked and labelled---‘Registered through passenger for life.' If the lock broke and the whole bag gave way, why then so much worse for the bag-it was proved to be of bad material, and its bursting was not the Professor's fault."

There is no doubt that a far better estimate has been formed in these later years of what education is. There is no longer, in schools like Lytham College, too confusing of the meaning of education and instruction. Attention is paid to education; the leading out and the development of the faculties of the personality; not the mere instruction of the mind. To do this wise teachers of youth have realised that the whole of the personality must be touched and influenced, and so more attention is paid to health and the development of the physique. Mr. Paton, of the Manchester Grammar School, said the other day, let boys have plenty of pure air and pure water and they would be able to learn and understand what they learned in much less time than if their minds were crammed without any regard to their physical condition.

The Lytham College began about seven years ago when the intention was that boarders only should be provided for. The original intention, however, was soon abandoned at the request of parents in the town. The constant increase in the number of pupils made it necessary, in a short time, to secure larger remises. These were secured in Agnew Street. The principal was met again with the need for larger and better accommodation. He accordingly decided on the building of a well-arranged and thoroughly up-to-date establishment from plans prepared by himself, with the view of obtaining everything suggested by experience for the comfort and convenience of the pupils.

It was decided to build at Ansdell, where now stands the handsome and admirably arranged college, a picture of which we are able to give in this number, together with the face of the principal, Mr. John H. Watterson M.C.P., F.R.G.S. It is interesting to know that care has been bestowed in the structure of the college premises for every minute detail-those things which though small in themselves have so much to do with the comfort and the success of life. A lock¬up bicycle house for the stabling of boys' machines is one of those small but not unimportant things. There is also a workshop for boys who wish to receive instruction in wood working.

In the school, each division has its own room enabling the work to be done without distraction. A gymnasium has been added during the present summer, and an effort will be made to have the tennis lawn ready for use in the coming spring. The school has done well in the national game of cricket, and, in football it has already made for itself a reputation amongst the schools of high standing in the county.  

As regards what may be called the morale of the school, there is a splendid spirit of chivalrous loyalty to those great principles of rectitude and manliness which have won the laurels of which Great Britain is justly proud. So much depends upon atmosphere in the early and most impressionable years of men's lives. 

A classroom, Lytham College c1901Every care is exercised by the principal and his coadjutors to develop the good and to foster the love of goodness in the pupils. That this effort has not been in vain is proved by the testimonies of the old boys who are now to be found in all parts of the world. 

 At the last speech day, Mr. Brookes, in speaking of Mr. Watterson and the work of the college, said schoolmasters and all who taught the young had has highest admiration for Mr. Watterson they had the warm heart and the clear brain-a rare combination-and a scholar of high rank.

Mr. Brookes went on to say-and his words were so excellent that we quote them rather extensively: " For its successful commercial men the Empire depended upon the masters who taught them, and the diligence of the boys who were taught. Unfortunately for himself, before he was nine he went to business, and ever since though diligently seeking to know and to learn, he had felt the lack of that basis of education which might have given him gifts he could never have now. The boys present had a grand future before them if they would only diligently perform their tasks, and watch their characters. He had been engaged with a great commercial house now for 35 years, and it had been his duty for many years past to engage the boys and the men. He had therefore seen the necessity, of early study of foreign languages. 

Cricket Team, Lytham College c1901They would do well to learn Latin, all South-America was peopled by a Latin-speaking race; but all languages would be valuable to them if they entered into commerce. He asked them not to despise good writing, and said that the neglect by the public schools of this important accomplishment often retarded a youth's progress very considerably at the beginning of his commercial career. He often envied Mr. Watterson of his beautiful writing, and he hoped the boys would copy it. To the parents he would say don't unduly interfere with the curriculum; allow the principal to take boys and prepare them for the duties of life in the educational sense without hindrance.


 Mr Watterson, Headmaster, Lytham College c1901He asked boys when they had left school never to cease being students; always seek to learn. Some of them had earned prizes and certificates. It had never been his lot to earn a prize, except for good conduct, and that would surprise some of them. Don't be discouraged. The virtue of life lay not in its prizes but upon the struggle to gain. Milton only received £15 for his 'Paradise Lost.' Yet who would dare to say he had failed because of the lowness of the reward. Above all let the boys watch their characters. They could not find a sufficient supply of men who possessed average brains combined with perfect integrity. If God had not given them as many brains as another boy, they all might have a high character for goodness, truth and integrity, which would bring them success. Never be bribed at school. Have self respect and self knowledge. Above all in this day of trashy literature read good books, such as those he saw before him. The Old Book told them to be `Diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. See'st thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.'

A dorm, Lytham College c1901Be good tempered. He used not to be very good tempered, but he began to train himself to think about bright things, and to acquire habits of self-control. Study good manners and politeness, and keep your eyes wide open. Ask questions, even if they are foolish. He saw in a paper the other day some mistakes made by boys at school. One boy was told to give a. little essay on a man, and he said, Man was composed of two parts-the upper part was the head, and was supposed to contain the brains; and the lower part was the bowels, which contained a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y. Another boy was asked to give the feminine of hero, and he said shero. Asked to say who were the five foolish virgins, another boy said, `them as didn't get married.' Still he would not give anything for a man or boy who never made mistakes. Use your wits; success will not hunt you. Some thought that men were, so to speak, all placed in a row, and that chance picked certain men out for success. “Nothing of the kind." Proceeding, Mr. Brookes pointed out that Watt, Michael Angelo, Raphael, Luther and Edison all accomplished their greatest works in life whilst still young men. Now was the time to be in earnest. They could not fill the higher rank unless they were faithful in the lower places. Looking around at this dear old England of ours, he was alarmed to find that society was full of those who thought they might have done something if they had not been slighted; that was self-conceit, and he wanted none of Mr. Watterson's boys to have any of that commodity.

The Lytham College has won for itself a name for successful work in the real training of youth that educating of the faculties, that instructing of the mind, that development of the tabernacle in which the mind finds a habitation, that directing of the personality-with which any boy is equipped for the battle of life and without which no boy, though his head be crammed with erudition will succeed.

The college has a magazine. Two numbers lie before us and make a decidedly promising beginning. The second number contains an impromptu greeting to the distinguished editorial staff of the Pittsburg High. School Journal, U.S.A., by J. H. W., which is a gem. 

 The college has a motto, “Concilio ex animis.' That is exactly it. With wisdom and strength, or, being more fully interpreted, "Decide wisely what work you are to undertake, and having once made up your mind, throw all your energy into the accomplishment of your task."

 From Faces and Places vol.3 NS no.8, August 1904