Wheler Street School

I got an email recently from Yvonne Rogers. Her great grandmother was Emily Jane Geddes, who had two brothers, both of whom lived at the Moravian settlement.

One of the brothers was Sam Geddes, who was an Arts Master at Wheler St school in the very early years of the 20th century.

The classroom picture shows him and the headmaster with a class of boys; no girls. Perhaps they had a separate part of the school, or were taught in segregated classrooms.

The picture of the school building shows it little changed to all the other images of the school in more recent years.

The picture of Ashton Old Rd shows a crowd waiting for the funeral of the headmaster, Mr Porter, who lived at 866 Ashton Old Rd. Whether this was the headmaster in the classroom picture is not known.

He died in 1908. It seems unusual to see such a large crowd for the funeral of the local headmaster. Whether this was common in those days is not clear.

Sam Geddes served in the RAMC in WWI. He lived 1882 to 1930.

Yvonne sent me more details on the headmaster, John Porter Sharp, including the census for 1901, showing hin and his family at 866 Ashton Old Rd (the rest of the address is nonsense).

There is also a newspaper cutting requesting donations to raise £1,000 to install a memorial window in Lees St Congregational church. Judging by that, and the crowd gathered for his funeral, he must have been a well loved member of the community.

Sam Geddes’ grandfather ran the Grove pub on Ashton Old Rd

Mr Geddes is at the back of the classroom , the headmaster on the left.

Wheler St exterior 1908

Crowds wait the funeral of Mr Porter, head of Wheler St school.

Harley St on the right, looking towards the canal bridge.

Sam Geddes, Art master at Wheler St, in RAMC uniform.

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  1. Reading this I could poss be related to Yvonne Rogers & the name Geddes seems to ring a bell in my family tree?
    My great grandma was Martha Leah Barber, nee Rogers, from Bangor on Dee or Bangor Isy Coed she married Herbert Harrison Barber whose parents, Robert & Martha Barber, were chemists, sometimes called ‘Druggists’ on Census at the time, had a chemist shop on Ashton Old Rd.
    Robert Barber came from Chorlton & his father, Matthew Barber was a School Master.

  2. I have a couple of these school photos of my grandma around the same time & poss the same school! But her photos have mixed classes & the boys are wearing exactly the same collars.
    My great grandparents ran a chemists on Ashton Old Rd, lived that end of Abbey Hey Lane, & my grandma’s older brothers potentially could be on this photo?

  3. Alec,
    I think the collars must have been popular, or maybe some form of school uniform. If you look at the pictures of the funeral and of the outside of the school, they are all wearing them. They appear to be detachable collars, the ones that need collar studs, which means that it’s easy to clean the collar without having to wash the whole shirt.My only experience with them was when I did my national service, and they are very uncomfortable.
    Interestng how few girls there are; none in the classroom and perhaps just a few in the playground.
    There appears to be two policemen in the playground picture. Wonder why?

  4. An interesting post Derek if you are an ex.pupil of Wheler St.school. Look how smart the boys look with their white collars, I wonder if this was just for the photo or did they wear them all the time ?.
    The headmaster must have been well respected to have such a turnout for his funeral.
    In the photo of the school, I think the caretakers house was built in later years where the pupils are gathered.
    A lovely photo of the art master, Sam Geddes, in his uniform. He died quite young at 48 years of age.

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