An appeal has been put out for the histories of Manx schools for a project to celebrate 150 years of ‘education for all’ in the island.
Culture Vannin, a government foundation that promotes Manx culture, heritage and language, is working to find out more about schools that haven’t been detailed in the Manx National Heritage Library.
Manx National Heritage currently holds histories of Ramsey Grammar, St Thomas’, and Arbory schools, and special books celebrating the centenaries of Michael, the Dhoon, and St John’s schools, and of King William’s College.
Culture Vannin said: ‘We know that there are some exceptional pieces of research into the history of Manx education by the likes of Dr Hinton Bird, Bob Forster, Ann Harrison, Dr Mike Hoy, and our own board member, Professor Angela Little, but books and pamphlets on schools are written all the time, especially in celebration of important anniversaries.
‘We also know that Arbory School has books relating to their 150th and 175th anniversaries, a remarkable achievement!
‘More recently founded schools are also covered – Ballakermeen’s 50th anniversary was captured, as was the history of Castle Rushen High School.
‘Are there other books out there?
‘We recall being told about the history of the Buchan School, for instance, and there will be others.’
Culture Vannin is working with the Department of Education, Sport and Culture on the project.
It is asking if anyone has a spare copy of a book or pamphlet or other material about a Manx school that they consider offering it to the Manx National Heritage Library in Douglas as a donation for their collections.
Such material will help people know in the coming years what life was like in the island, and it will help researchers build a comprehensive overview of Manx education.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the important 1872 Isle of Man Act for Public Elementary Education.
The 1872 Act was a landmark in the history of education in the island as it made education accessible to all.
It did this by re‐introducing compulsory education, transferring control from Church to State, mandating the raising of a local property tax to finance the scheme, and paving the way for the abolition of school fees.
Professor Angela Little, from UCL Institute of Education and Culture Vannin board member, said: ‘School histories offer insights and images “from the inside” and add greatly to the island’s wealth of knowledge about education through times of change.
‘Please share any documents, photos and films, tape recordings or other memorabilia with the MNH Library.
‘This will greatly assist those who wish to understand the past, and draw lessons from it for the benefit of education on our island in the future.’