A HISTORY OF FRIENDS' SCHOOL LISBURN

By
Neville H. Newhouse

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR
Joseph Radley

Joseph Radley's was unquestionably the key headship of the nineteenth century. When he and Mary Radley came to Lisburn in 1874, the buildings were old and cramped, the farm was losing money, the number of pupils had been kept small for fear of losing yet more money, and most of them left before they were fourteen. From every point of view the school was weak and struggling -how could it have been otherwise when at least twenty-four masters had come and gone between 1828 and 1874 ? (Bootham School had two heads during that time). For neither the first nor the last time, Ulster Quarterly Meeting for March 1875 was uneasy about both Brookfield and Ulster Provincial School. It appointed a committee to look into `the whole subject' of the two institutions. Perhaps surprisingly, it recommended that both schools be continued.

Twenty-five years later there was a very different story to tell. The buildings had been transformed, numbers were high, and the pupils were taking public examinations. The change, as many knew and testified, was the work of the Radleys. Their care of the family was such that those still at school celebrated their master's birthday by decorating his breakfast table with flowers and going on a picnic with him later in the day ; those who had left founded in 1888 the Old Scholars' Association. Even Friends who had little interest in Prospect Hill must have been aware of the importance of the headmaster, for the reports to Ulster Quarterly Meeting now contained his assessment of academic progress, and in 1895 his illness caused him to be mentioned by name, a rare distinction indeed for any master unless he had just arrived. And after his retirement in 1899 the Committee of Management praised him, as well as itself, in these words:

Joseph and Mary E. Radley occupied their respective positions with much acceptance for the long period of twenty-five years, during which period, owing to their efforts and those of the committee, the School made very marked progress in many respects.

Joseph Radley, the `Annual Monitor' for 1904 tells us, was the third son of a large family. There being little money at home, he had his own way to make in the world. As a boy he went to an Infant School founded by a Quaker, then to a Lancasterian School which he always praised for having given him a basic education, and, in 1847, to Croydon School, where, at the age of fifteen, he was apprenticed to its well-known Superintendent, John Sharp. From him he learned much until, in accordance with established Quaker practice where there were clever children of Friends in modest circumstances, he continued his training as a teacher at the Flounders Institute and at Bootham School in York. In 1861 he returned to Croydon, having married Phebe Jane Bentley, the daughter of an Ipswich Quaker family.

Seven years later she died leaving him with three sons. For a time he went on teaching at Croydon, but his friends persuaded him that a complete change was essential for his general well-being. So for a few months he tried a new occupation and worked as an accountant with a brother, an experience which served mainly to show that it was teaching which gave him the fullest satisfaction. He therefore returned to his first career, taught for five years at Wigton School in Cumberland, and towards the end of his time there married Mary E. Robinson of Pardshaw. Within a few months they and the three boys came to Lisburn where Joseph Radley entered upon what may be said to have been his life's work at Ulster Provincial School.

Difficulties

The twenty-five years are well documented. In addition to the proceedings of Ulster Quarterly Meeting and its specially appointed Education Committee (1875), there are the printed annual reports of school societies and, eventually, of the Old Scholars' Association which grew out of those societies. And there is also the Headmaster's official letter book which contains copies of just over 1,000 letters (they are numbered and the figures in the following paragraphs indicate the letters referred to). They were sent to a great variety of people, most of whom were Quakers and members of the School Committee, and they record vividly Joseph Radley's day-to-day struggles with the many problems involved in running a boarding school. They enable us, as it were, to look at this part of the school's history from the Headmaster's study. It is a strange and sad experience, standing alongside this well-loved teacher and observing some of his many battles.

Less than three years after his appointment, Joseph Radlcy was counselling Friends to keep `low and watchful respecting the sad spirit of division' amongst them (159), and was protesting about the 'fault-finding and misrepresentation to which we have been so long subjected' (182). By the time thirteen years had gone by he learned to speak less guardedly

Now the Committee can help or not . . . [and] the new Committee have passed a new rule without consulting me or Mary Radley . . . [Also] I have been strongly criticised for having a class of goods from a firm recommended by Jo. Richardson and am at once to obtain a lower class of goods ... What most of all would be welcome would be the unmistakable strengthening of our hand by the Committee. Is there ground for Mary E. Radley's feeling, and mine too, that the intended rule means a lack of confidence on the part of Friends ?

It was not only the Headmaster and his wife who suffered from these constant interferences and recriminations. Sometimes the whole staff was involved with the Governors. Towards the end of Joseph Radley's headship, there was much discontent among the teachers about the food. There must, the staff decided, be a formal complaint, a thing unimaginable in those days. Dare they take such a step ? And if so, how ? After discussion, they all signed a letter to the Committee and then chose one of their number to deliver it - the mild, well-liked and well-connected Isaac Swain who later became a Professor and whose paintings hang in the Reception Room to this day. `Make it clear' they told him, `that it is from all of us'. After all, was not Isaac a Quaker as well as a very likeable fellow ? His Quaker connections did him no good on this occasion. The blatant temerity of the whole affair so scandalised the Committee that it promptly dismissed young Isaac. Of Joseph Radley's reaction to this there is no record. As for Isaac, according to his younger brother Charles when he was recalling the event in the late 1960's, he felt to the end that he had been unfairly treated.

So was Joseph Radley. His letter book gives the strong impression that some of the Committee looked on him as of no great account - as a mere schoolmaster who, for one reason or another, had not got on in the world. True, he was superintendent of Ulster Provincial School, but it was they, the Committee, who would direct the establishment. They therefore excluded him from their meetings and often communicated their decisions, not by speaking to him, but by letting him `gather the meaning' of the minutes. On the occasions when he misunderstood them (though he had read over the minute `very carefully and more than once'), it was his fault not theirs, and merited yet another of the continual apologies he had to offer down the years (495). It was the Committee who admitted children (606), who appointed and dismissed staff, who decided the colour of the paint, and who chose the room in which an examination could be held (393). And it must, as we have seen, be the whole Committee, not a sub-Committee, whose ruling was liable to be deplored or overruled.

`How can a Superintendent of a school do anything if he is set aside in such little matters of detail ?' Joseph Radley asked in 1878, when Joseph Richardson of Springfield, Lisburn, his most determined opponent on the Committee, was insisting that paint be put directly on the glass in order to save the cost of cheap Holland blinds-'I must be frank with thee and say that thy insistence is humiliating . . .' (250). The vigour of the remonstrance made no difference to Joseph Richardson's hostility, which continued unrelenting. Thirteen years later, in 1891, Edwin Squire complained in the course of a hard exchange with the superintendent that Joseph Richardson was uncivil to him. `If', replied Joseph Radley, 'Jos Richardson still refuses to treat thee kindly (as he does me) it is not my fault'. (1002). No, indeed, but the evidence of Joseph Radley's letters is overwhelming in its impression of prolonged bickering-to use no stronger word-between Quakers themselves, never mind the Committee.

At this distance in time only the outlines of the major quarrels remain discernible. William Turtle's son was refused admission in 1878 -I am', wrote Joseph Radley, `not answerable for the conclusions of the Committee but I believe that they have the real prosperity of the school at heart' (291) ; a young teacher, F. Sutton, left the school without warning and `made the most damaging statements about the school', statements which grievously divided the Committee and Friends in general, and in which Joseph Richardson had `perfect confidence' (660) ; James Hobson and his wife circulated `hurtful' reports that the children at Prospect Hill spent their time `chiefly in the reading of novels' (597) ; Eliza Jane Richardson, redoubtable wife of the redoubtable Joseph, consistently treated Mary E. Radley like a hired servant and was particularly careful not to consult her, or even speak to her, when it was a question of planning the redecoration of the Radleys' apartments (241) or of making new rules about the children's diet for which Mary Radley was daily responsible (707) - I perhaps', Joseph Radley wrote to her after one of her upbraidings, `I look too much for sympathy and approval. I certainly feel the want of it'. (707). Robert Fisher was asked, with the sub-committee's approval, to leave the school, whereupon the full committee and many Friends fell to bitter disagreement (992) ; the wood for the Natural History Cabinet in the entrance hall cost more than the sanctioned amount, and even though Joseph Radley had pleaded for it for many years, his wishes were first ignored and then obstructed (846) ; and the question of whether or not to teach music was for years debated with fierce acrimony. And these are only a selection of the school's troubles. The others are less well documented and it would be both difficult and tedious to piece them together.

Part of the difficulty was that the School Committee had to ensure that the school paid its way. Accordingly, it began its annual reports with fairly detailed financial statements. Joseph Radley, too, was aware of this aspect of things, but his work was with human beings, not with money, and in this field the Committee's outlook was necessarily more limited than their superintendent's. The report for 1890 puts the matter in this way

Of the children in the school thirty are not members of our Society, but it may be interesting to Friends to know that of these there arc nine whose parents were in membership and two others are immediate descendants of Friends, so that we may reasonably entertain a hope that some of these may, from the influence of the teaching, both in the school and in our religious meetings, be drawn into closer unity and fellowship with us . . .

The Committee, it may be seen, hoped that by managing the school they would make more and better Quakers. Joseph Radley may have had similar hopes, but his main concern was with the individual pupil. A school, particularly a boarding school, teaches children to live together-it is neither a profit-making institution nor a means of increasing church membership, and the quality of living practised in it is its own justification, an end in itself, not a means to something else.

It should be remembered, too, that the Committee were children of their age. As Victorian businessmen and gentlemen they were much occupied with success and propriety, as well as with rectitude and charity. Indeed, many of them seem to have thought of the school as a charity ; they certainly gave it a good deal of money. For the `innocent people of God' who had once stood, weak but fearless, against the earthly authority of Cromwell and Charles II, had now added wealth and power to their election to the service of God. The characteristics of these `weighty' Ulster Friends are vividly recorded in the illustrations to James N. Richardson's `The Quakri at Lurgan and Grange' out of whose pages gaze loftily the virtues hymned by Samuel Smiles - clear-sightedness, noble thinking, high endeavour, hard work, and sometimes even dignified fun. And informing these virtues is the unshakeable nineteenth-century Protestant pride of men and women who, having set no wicked thing before their eyes, believe that, in the words of the Psalmist, light and gladness are the reward of the righteous.

A story, no doubt apocryphal, supplies a commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of late nineteenth century Ulster Quakerism. The leading lady of an established and wealthy Quaker family sent out invitations to what we call afternoon tea, though the card announced enigmatically `a drawing-room gathering'. With mingled curiosity and awe the other local ladies `gathered'. `We will begin', said the Quaker hostess, `with a reading from Scripture'. It was lengthy and was followed by a pause. Then, `Let us pray', said the hostess and knelt down, arranging her plain silk tastefully about her. `O Lord', she began, `we are but filthy rags in Thy sight . . .' The prayer, too, was long. After it, tea was announced. `Thank you', said one local lady, who had found the whole thing too much for her, `we shall not be requiring any', and she took her daughters from the room, to say indignantly outside : `If God calls me a filthy rag, I suppose I must bear it ; but I will not bear it from a Quaker'.

Why, then, did Joseph Radley bear for so long the unkindnesses meted out to him ? Why did he not, like the lady of the above story, get up and leave ? Mary Radley must have longed to be back in her native Cumberland, and they must surely have discussed moving more than once, for though the Headmaster's letter book offers no evidence that he ever sought a different job, correspondence on such a subject would hardly appear there. Several reasons suggest themselves - Joseph's lack of a degree and of worldly substance must have made moving difficult, and he clearly became fonder of the school as it became his life's work. Not that he was altogether blameless on his side. These personal antipathies, which exist in all walks of life, are never the fault of only one party, and it is particularly hard for headmasters to avoid pompous self-importance. Yet these words are not easily applied to one who told Edwin Squire that he was dis appointed that after a sharp difference they had not been in touch with each other-'if thy brother has transgressed against thee, go and tell him' (1002). The same spirit was shown on occasions even towards Joseph Richard son (637, 679). And when difficulties occurred between the Headmaster of Brookfield and himself, Joseph Radley wrote `suggesting a way- of mending our relations', through a committee of `impartial Friends', if that seemed the best way (677).

Nearly one hundred years later, Joseph Radle's troubles, trying and long-continuing as they were, are of no great' importance in the history of the school. Other, far better-known Heads had similar difficulties- Samuel Butler of Shrewsbury or James Prince Lee of King Edward School, Birmingham, for example. We can simply be grateful that Joseph Radley was tough enough to survive the opposition to him. It is not too much to say that under his guidance the school found its identity as a small, semi-rural community in which children were helped to practise those Quaker virtues likely to make them decent men and women, and to learn enough practical skill and book knowledge to get them jobs when they were old enough.

Early years : re-building

It was a struggling school to which Joseph Radley came in 1874. A glance at its inadequate and untidy buildings indicated its extreme financial insecurity. In some ways, it must hardly have seemed a school at all.

But Joseph Radley knew what he wanted and had the ability to spur others into action. Within a few months of his arrival Ulster Quarterly Meeting was much taken up with the standing and future of the two schools in its care : Brookfield and Ulster Provincial School. A committee was appointed. It recommended that the prevailing `very erroneous impressions' be corrected, and that in the case of U.P.S., `Friends generally should be made aware that to maintain the school, a large annual subscription is necessary to supplement the Endowment, which otherwise would be altogether inadequate'. Quarterly Meeting was also told that `in order to increase the usefulness of both schools, a certain Standard of Education be required for each child for entry'. As minute 11 of a meeting held 4.5.1875 put it : `it is intended to give a superior or improved Education, more adequate to the wants of the Province, in the Provincial School'. For the first time perhaps since the school's foundation under John Gough, it was to have a purpose which was defined in educational as well as Quaker terms. For one hundred vears it had been mainly a place to train in their own faith the children of members of the Society of Friends. It still had this aim ; but it added a further one, to provide the kind of secular instruction given by other schools which also had religious intentions - such as, say, the recently founded Methodist College in Belfast (1868).

Joseph Radley persuaded Friends to look at the whole problem. A deputation visited Richard Wallace's Agent to see if it were possible to secure `an absolute title in perpetuity to land at Prospect Hill'; the grounds were tidied up ; the wall between the boys' and girls' 63playgrounds was taken down ; and a building appeal was launched. It quoted the findings of John Newby of Ackworth after his recent inspection

Part of the present building is damp and very dismal, and under the level of the ground. The boys' lodging space is insufficient and scattered, by the temporary occupation of spare rooms. The teachers, as well as Superintendents, have no private sitting rooms or study. The boys have no covered playshed in wet weather ; and the girls' play-room is an annoyance to all the internal departments.

It was proposed to add classrooms, bedrooms, play space, a new kitchen and dining room, private rooms for the Superintendent's famliy, and private bedrooms for every teacher - all for `nearly double' the present fifty-four boarding pupils at a cost of `about £5,000'.

Before long the cost of rebuilding and extending had gone up to £7,000, and by the middle of 1876 £3,421 had been promised for the appeal fund. Some of the amounts were `conditional on £5,000 being raised'. In July 1876 the Quarterly Meeting Education Committee `directed' that Joseph Radley `proceed to England ... to collect subscriptions and interest Friends on behalf of the school'. He spent ten days visiting Newcastle, Darlington, Sunderland and York, but the financial result was meagre in the extreme - £7.10.6 and one large amount promised, less expenses of £4.5.0.

Joseph C. Marsh, meanwhile, was to prepare detailed drawings. Before the end of the year he was being asked to `modify the plan by the omission of the Basement (and otherwise as may be found necessary) so as to bring the probable cost down to within £4,000'. The building sub-committee now met frequently, the plans went out to tender, and in April 1877 the contract was awarded to Dixon & Co. at an agreed total cost of £3,790.14.10.

For the next three years the school suffered the dirt and disruption that attend all building operations. The Building Committee's Minutes (from which almost all these facts are taken) reveal something of the story to those prepared to read between the lines ; Joseph Radley's letter-book is much more explicit. There is no need to list the long succession of troubles. Fortunately he was tough, and on the whole most of the Committee supported him sensibly and with foresight. The most serious problem was that investigation often revealed the dangerous condition of parts of the building that it had been intended to leave. `It is proposed', runs a minute of a meeting held in November 1877, `to rebuild the front block of the Old Buildings instead of repairing it as heretofore intended . . . it is evident that such rebuilding is almost a matter of necessity'. The result was the front hall, the headmaster's study and the Reception Room, `Middle House' as they have been known from the 1930's, though until the Second World War the Reception Room was the Headmaster's private sittingroom. It is a dignified, solidly-built frontage, linked with very different days.

The Quarterly Meeting was kept fully informed. It agreed to ,appropriate £1,000 or £1,250 of schools funds for rebuilding the old centre block and for furniture for the building generally in case the amount is not raised by public subscription'. The old centre block, occupying the area of the staff-room known to pupils under John Douglas and later, seems to have been the original school of John Gough, and must have needed much attention. Like any headmaster worth his salt, Joseph Radley kept continual pressure on his committee : `Do not stop short of a full extension programme', he had written in his very early days (33, also 26). In the outcome he had his way, or most of it, though money remained a difficulty, as the minutes show. It was decided, for example, to use the school outdoor staff as far as possible for levelling the ground and tidying up. And there were frequent modifications of the work-'many reductions in expense were suggested to the architect', by a committee held in January 1878.

The burden of watching, in the school's interest, the conversion of plans into buildings was borne by Joseph Radley. He did this so thoroughly that both architect and builders were repeatedly subjected to serious and detailed suggestions or complaints -about the shape of the new classroom and its unsuitable desks (50), about the slate of the fireplace (214), the plaster on the partitions between the boys' bedrooms (284), the glazing (317), the keys (318), the quality of the bricks (396), and countless other similar matters. Joseph Radley had a very practical mind (92) and occasionally drew plans and diagrams in explanation of his suggestions (39 ; 186). The most interesting to us are his sketch plans of the school buildings before and after the reconstruction and additions (303, / 304). He received little thanks for all his work. In 1879, when the builder had gone, leaving behind a good deal of rubble and a still struggling school, Joseph Radley wrote feelingly to the School Treasurer

I am expressly forbid, not by a minute, but by a member of the Committee, to charge labour to the building fund. Most Friends will never know the labour that has been incurred in clearing up - the improvements in front of and behind the school. . . . Now, a number of Friends, including women, who do not allow me to justify myself, censure me. . . . I get things done very cheaply and get no thanks. . . . Please try to remove the misunderstanding. (374, 375).

For a number of years after this the school buildings remained unaltered, until in the late 1880's the Committee began to consider once again the provision of more modern amenities. This is the way with any school ; the latest extension is no sooner finished than the next one has to be envisaged, and it says much for Joseph Radley's energy that he was not content to rest on the laurels of his first considerable building achievement.

In 1886 Joseph Richardson wanted to make an upper storey in the laundry (558), perhaps because he knew the idea annoyed the Headmaster who had other, more ambitious plans. The ambitious plans were eventually agreed and a Minute of Ulster Quarterly Meeting for March 1891 reads

The necessity for a new dining room, and a covered Playground and New Workshop for the boys . . . has been largely spoken to, and the Committee is encouraged to endeavour to raise the necessary money to carry out these requisite improvements".

The start was delayed until enough money was available and the familiar round of money-raising, planning, and building began all over again. Early in 1892 Joseph Radley put his name to a new appeal which began by pointing out that the "last zealous effort" of fifteen years ago now needed repeating, particularly as it was intended to provide in addition to the Dining-Room, Workshop and playground first intended, a Laboratory, a Science Class-Room and new Dormitory accommodation. It was all accomplished by the end of 1893, and though no doubt the usual dirt and difficulty made the re-building tiresome, it seems to have been a good deal easier than during the earlier work in the late 1870's. The result was the back of the school so well-known for the greater part of the twentieth century - the Dining Room, the Old Chemistry Lab., the little room on the Magheralave Road side of it (for a long time a workshop) and the boys' lower dormitory above these. The old gym was at first the covered playground.

In many of those whose schooling took place in these eventually dirty and inadequate rooms, an affectionate nostalgia is evoked by their mere mention. Visiting Old Scholars in the 1950's and 60's who had been at school before the 1914-18 War, would look at the Lower Dormitory; smile ruefully and say : "It is exactly the same". One American visitor on her first visit to the school in 1966 was shocked at the starkness of the arrangements. But the pupils of the time, though not without their grumbles, would not have understood her dismay. When, a little earlier, a well-meaning Governor who was inspecting this old part of the building prior to the making of arrangements for its demolition and replacement, said to a senior boy who was near : "You must be glad we are going to make all this new for you", she was astonished at the resentment of his reply : "No, I like it like this. You've no right to change it". It was simply his way of expressing his loyalty to what was his school.

As the 1890's brought to a close both the century and Joseph Radley's twenty-five years' headship, new building work still went on. In 1894, £100 left by John Greer was used to carry out "some absolutely needful Sanitary Improvements on the Girls' portion of the premises and at the Cottage belonging to the school". Discussion began about the possibility of a swimming bath. Forster Green, the tea merchant, who had already made a number of generous gifts to the school, was keenly interested. These were the days when the music battle greatly occupied Ulster Friends-was it Quaker, was it Christian for Ulster Provincial School to teach its pupils music ? Forster Green was firmly persuaded that it was not. A piano was taken into the building for pupils to practise on. On the instant Forster Green's support for the swimming bath ceased. "I intend", he announced, "to provide such a pool for Newton, where the Lord's way is adhered to". And he did. But the enthusiasm already aroused in Lisburn was enough to keep the Northern project alive and old scholars were active in collecting money. Then Newtown got a piano. Forster Green was appalled. Could ingratitude be baser ? Baffled, he made a generous subscription to the Lisburn swimming bath after all, and it was opened in 1899, the same pool used by the pupils ever since. It gave special pleasure to Joseph Radley, who had long been interested in life-saving, bad attended public meetings in the town to popularise the cause, and had been given a medal to mark the value of his work which had proved `the means of saving the lives of two of his pupils'.

He retired from a building very different from the one he had come to -bigger and much more suitable for a school. Yet during the whole of his twenty-five years Joseph Radley had little help in looking after the property, just an odd-job man. In 1879 his duties were listed as follows : knives, shoes, cleaning, pumping, coal, mats, knife house, garden and windows (443 When Peter Pelan left in 1883 Joseph Radley gave him the following testimonial, which brings nearer to us the different school of almost a hundred years ago

Peter Pelan leaves the place of his own accord having rendered good and efficient service for about ten months. We consider him thoroughly reliable, willing, respectful, and attentive. Much of his time was spent on routine work about the house, but he did some higher work. He will be missed by the pupils whom he drilled. (489).

It is a perceptive last sentence. Joseph Radley could see the school from the pupils' side and he knew the importance to them of a man like Peter Pelan who was less distant than the teaching staff, though still able to command respect and affection.

The Curriculum

In determining the subjects and standard of class teaching at Lisburn, he naturally based his ideas on his experience in the schools he had already taught in. He continued the established practice of having a Governess for the 8-10 year olds. In 1878 the "dailv governess" worked from 10.0 a.m. until 4.0 or 4.30 p.m. and gave instruction in Reading, Writing, Mental Calculation, English History (not Irish history be it noted), Geography and Needlework She received little more than £3.10.0 a month but took her meals with "the family". Once out of her care, children learned new subjects. As everywhere, English and Arithmetic were the basis of the curriculum, though Joseph Radlev was keen to add languages and science for the more able. For June 1877 he listed the following lessons : "five children", he reported, "learn French and Latin, four Greek" (73). This, he claimed two years later, "is in advance of York and equal to the Flounders Institute. H. W. Unthank passed in the Honours List in London matriculation. We also teach Chemistry, Magnetism, Physiology, and Drawing. . . . I great question [he adds, with understandable pride] whether the young people in any of our schools have much advantages greater for study than those which present themselves here" (372/3). If the words suggest undue satisfaction it should be remembered that they were written to the difficult W. F. Davidson, the Head of the local and rival school at Brookfield, and that, in another mood, Joseph Radley could write differently. "You must not expect [your son] to be as outstanding here as at Newry Model"-he told a parent. "Our boys are very different metal to contend against. It was the same with Alfred Pearson [from Lisburn] at York. To be third boy here is not to be third boy at York" (192). During the 1890's there were some eighty children in four classes, boys and girls together. The girls did not take as many academic subjects as the boys, all of whom took Latin, half French. Everyone did art and music. We are, said Joseph Radley, similar to Sidcot, but smaller (869-872).

Although Joseph Radley held the traditional Quaker testimony against competition -`the whole prize system has its drawbacks', he told Edwin Squire in 1890 (904) -he aimed from the first to enter as many pupils as possible for public examinations. There were two main reasons for this. First, it was essential for the school to offer its pupils what the other schools did, at a time when the examination system was getting firmly established as the hallmark of a sound education. Secondly, schools were paid by results and there was no doubt that Friends School, Lisburn, needed money (294). When, therefore, in 1878 the Intermediate Education Act was passed, the school applied for aid under the new arrangements (301, 308). The following year fourteen boys and one girl were entered for the Intermediate Examination, though Joseph Radley found the forms troublesome to fill in, and the Committee unwilling to allow him to arrange a room for it to be held in - they must make the arrangements themselves (387, 388, 393). Indeed, the Committee discussed the whole business of the Intermediate Examination in Joseph Radley's absence and without consulting him, and apparently decided that for a time scholars should not be entered for it (493, 4, 5). This explains why for a number of years money was not received from Dublin. It was not until January 1888 that Joseph Radley could write : "I note with much pleasure that the Science and Art Department will not after this year withhold payments for success by students of this school in examinations" (636).

As a further indication of the school's intention to keep in the public examination field, it had an annual visit from a member of Queen's College, Belfast, whose subsequent report was placed before Ulster Quarterly Meeting. Thus, in 1889, Elias H. Bell, Clerk of the School Committee, recorded that :

S. J. McMullan, M.A., expresses much satisfaction (after an interval of ten years from a similar examination) with the completeness of the educational arrangements. He finds a fully qualified Staff, apparently animated by enthusiasm for their work, and considers there is evidence that the children appreciate the advantages offered them. He is especially gratified by the prominence given to Scripture teaching, and notes the success with which reading and writing are taught throughout the School. The Arithmetic, and the mathematics of the upper section were commended ; he considers that Latin, French, and English Grammar are fairly taught, and that English History and Geography are taken up by pupils with industry and intelligence. The Science Examination in Animal Physiology was considered very satisfactory. The Carpentry and WoodCarving done by the boys were noted with much interest, and the teaching of them commended, as calculated to produce an all round handiness. The Needlework of the girls was also much commended.

A year later, according to the school report

Examinations in Science and Art were held in the School, and twenty certificates were obtained-viz., six in Drawing (2nd grade), five in Geology, five in Inorganic Chemistry, and four in Mathematics. The classes in all these subjects except Geology have been continued, instead of which Magnetism and Electricity have been substituted. Much interest is evinced on the part + of the children in all these branches of study. A course of lectures was also given by the Superintendent on Astronomy during the autumn. A course was also given by one of the Teachers on Temperance Physiology to about forty of the children, most of whom have entered the Band of Hope Union examinations on this important subject. The same teacher is also giving instructions in Pitman's system of Shorthand with satisfactory results.

The introduction of Music

When Joseph Radley came to Lisburn in 1874 no kind of music was allowed in the school. Yet he was convinced that the practice and enjoyment of it could be part of the full Christian life, even in a sect whose founder had either ignored or deplored all art forms. Many in the Society thought otherwise and the result was civil war within it. It seems sad to those who live one hundred years later, and in a way it is, being a reflection of a narrow and negative religious outlook. On the other hand, it all seemed of desperate importance at the time. To many excellent men and women, the threat to the school of pianos and singing was an issue in which Satan himself was involved.

Joseph Radley understood this and the evidence suggests that he respected the sincerity of his opponents. At least he did not reduce the debate to the level of personalities. What was at stake was really the question of whether or not the school was to stay in the nineteenth century indefinitely, and about this J.R. had no doubts. His conviction was so strong that he held his ground without wavering until at last he won the day. The effort, commented his daughter many years after the event, almost closed the school. She was not overdramatising. And it is important for us to remember that if accounts of his later, quieter years, considered alongside his benevolently bearded picture which long hung in the school corridor, prompt in us a mildly sentimental image of a gentle if wise headmaster, this is far from the truth. Only a tough inflexibility could have invited, and emerged victorious from, this prolonged battle.

He began pressing for music soon after his appointment, but had for many years to be content with sending pupils outside into the town for lessons. Some Friends like William J. Turtle supported him strongly, and by the end of 1878 a number of applications had been received from parents who wished to have their children taught music within the school. On the other hand, one child was withdrawn in protest against the Headmaster's policy (334). Since the Committee was divided, it was unable to allow the premises to be used for any type of music lessons, Quaker policy being then, as it is now, to maintain the status quo in default of unanimity. For many years the stern opposition of the powerful Charles Wakefield and Forster Green prevented the innovation. Financial considerations supported them too, for `five well-behaved, well-paying Munster children' were sent to Lisburn, instead of to Mountmellick, on condition that music was not taught in the school. Even so, Joseph Radley never doubted that his cause would eventually triumph. `The Committee', he reported to an enquirer in 1889, `do not see their way to provide pianos for the children. I have no doubt they will in time' (777)-a prediction repeated two months later to a Friend who drew the Headmaster's attention to the fact that her piano-playing daughter was prepared to give music lessons in the school (798).

A music committee was now formed, as the opposition, though strong, was powerless to prevent an increasing number of Friends from supporting the Headmaster. By the end of 1889, after Joseph Radley had written to other Quaker schools for a report on their policy in this subject, there was actually talk of selecting pianos for the eight boys and ten girls who wished to learn to play (803, 806, 808). His old enemies, led by Eliza Jane Richardson, began their last fierce sally on behalf of the purity of religion. Ultimately, the matter was a Quarterly Meeting affair, not even the School Committee having the power to act without the parent body's approval. But the Committee was at last willing to approve that music be taught on Prospect Hill. It was this knowledge that made Eliza Jane Richardson so active. Quarterly Meeting became a battleground, and twice prevented piano lessons from being given within the school, once after a recommendation sent to it by the Committee behind the Headmaster's back (822). A fairly frivolous account of the wrangling can be read in James N. Richardson's mock-heroic trifle `The Quakri at Lurgan and Grange', though the lightness of touch does not altogether hide the desperation of the struggle.

But Joseph Radley had had too many years of dealings with his Committee to be deflected from his goal by manoeuvrings or threats. He was not without a trick or two himself, either. So he sat quietly throughout Quarterly Meeting while Friend rose and venomously attacked Friend, until at length he was called on to speak. He argued very simply. The existing system of letting boys and girls go into town `promiscuously' had obvious dangers In any case, hymns used to be sung at the school until live years ago a Friend had threatened to withdraw his subscription if the singing continued. `I was then', said Joseph Radley, `allowed to use my own judgment'. It was only right, he thought, to admit openly in the Quarterly Meeting that he thought hymns `helpful'. So, he surmised, did some of his hearers, whose Meeting Houses possessed pianos while the school was denied them, a most inconsistent proceeding (an obvious reference to Brookfield). Why not let Lisburn have music on the Ackworth scheme by which those given piano lessons in school practised only scales and hymns ? (822/3). It was an argument well suited to a religious gathering.

Early in 1890 Joseph Radley had his way, though the piano had to be purchased by money raised by individual Friends and not out of school funds. Some loaned the money at five per cent for two years, during which time the piano was to remain the property of `those Friends who have advanced the money as security for the repayment thereof' (833). All money and accounts relating to music were strictly separate from other school funds. The lessons were given in the boys' sick room (or infirmary, as it was then called) (843). By the end of the year there were three pianos in the school, twentyone pupils were having lessons, and their total fees amounted to £39.10.0 (920). At first, the use of the pianos was strictly limited. When W. A. Halliday approached Joseph Radley for the use of one for entertaining on Old Scholars' Day, permission was refused -"I could not see my way to anything beyond a hymn or two at the close and beginning" (852).

Problems

Although the admission of music was the most discussed change in school life under Joseph Radley, it was only one aspect of the pressures of a new age. The stern Puritanism which had so long characterised the School Committee might take little account of the world and its fashions, but the school itself was more influenced by them, as it still is. During the 1950's and 60's, for example, the music battle was fought all over again, this time over dancing. Once again, the modernisers won, though it could be argued that in an age when many schools are increasingly concerned with the disciplining rather than the encouraging of permissiveness, the outcome was not particularly significant. For though the more recent eventually proves too strong for the old-fashioned, its triumph serves only to pose other problems. Who is to say what is the wisest pace at which change should be made ?

A most interesting illustration of this kind of dilemma concerned the long-established annual entertainment at Hallowe'en. For long enough after 1900 it has taken the form of plays (and since Douglas Hill presented his cup, of plays chosen and produced by the pupils themselves, if not at Halloween then for St. Patrick's night). The first step towards this mainly dramatic emphasis was taken, we now know, in 1889, when the pupils for the first time presented a charade. Joseph Radley's memorandum after the event runs as follows

Special Minute : Acting of Charade 1891.

A charade was acted 10 month 31st at Halloween in which the Teachers and a number of the Boys and Girls took part. All acted the parts well and heartily, at least so far as impersonation, mimicry etc. were concerned.

Whether the outcome of the occasion was really helpful to those concerned and the children in particular, is, however, questionable. Considered in view of the responsibilities incurred by those who undertake to conduct the Education of the children at U. P. School, the following objections are evident. The time, thought and attention given in preparation for some days or weeks before being taken from ordinary daily duties constituted a serious loss and disturbance of an unsettling character which indisposed for regular and improving work.

The actual display was accompanied with a degree of excitement, not natural, but of an intoxicating nature.

In acting there was evidenced the tendency (invariably noticeable) to give prominence to the lower and coarser developments of life and manners. Everything most in accordance with the unregenerate nature was welcomed, and if this did not sink to `filthiness' yet `foolish' talking and jesting which are not 'convenient' abounded usually, all being disfigured by the wearing of dirt, lamp black etc. on the face and hands of those acting or, at least, all being dressed out in rags and discarded dresses is a popular part of the affair -and if not allowed is cause of regret or complaint.

Things were said and gestures and manners of acting adopted and were applauded by the company that would at other times have brought down stern disapproval from the teachers.

Some degree of ridicule for what is good and noble was noticeable : what was low and base was applauded. To such a degree was this noticeable that although I do not suppose any slight was meant for what was excellent, yet I felt more humiliated at being in the room than I have done before at Prospect Hill, excepting on one occasion, and that too was on a Hallowe'en when. two of the older boys having had some licence allowed them took more and came into the Dining Room as Nigger Clowns. (These two boys were so much the worse for their licence that a few weeks after their names had to be brought before the Committee.)

From the full reports in the Children's next monthly letter it was plain the acting had taken a great hold upon them. One of the boys described the part taken by one of the lady teachers as `very vulgar'. In one case I hear that a boy who was present was much stimulated in a taste which is growing upon him for theatrical attendance.

One of the teachers came to me before the evening performance and saying that he did not feel unity with it asked to be excused being present. To this I assented, telling him that if I did not feel that I ought to be present I would have preferred being absent also.

A Lady, not a Friend, who has a relative in the school has since expressed to me her sense of pain and surprise on hearing of my having consented to the acting, and hinted that she saw an influence upon him in consequence which had not been helpful.
These performances have been tactitly allowed and we have done the best, as we have thought, to counteract undesirable results. But my own judgment and sense of responsibility are entirely against their continuance that I have inserted a memo. in my 1892 Diary for 10 mo 31st as follows

No acting of charades. JR willing to bear some expense in providing other form of entertainment.

N.B. On the growing tendency to unite displays such as the above with Church organisations and Religious Society work, see observations by Josiah W. Leeds of Philadelphia in his work on `The Theatre'.

This period piece can be looked at in a number of ways : as the disapproval of an ageing man in the face of modern trends ; or as the puritan's dislike of plays ("we earnestly beseech our friends, and especially youths, to avoid . . . play houses, those nurseries of debauchery and wickedness", runs a London Yearly Meeting minute of 1739); or as the acting out in one man's experience of the dilemma which faced Plato -was there a place for poets and playwrights in a well-ordered society ? Plato thought not, though he was contradicted by his pupil, Aristotle, who thought they contributed to the general health of the body politic. It is a debate which, revived by the sadistic violence of many films of the 1970's, will no doubt continue as each new age re-states it in its own terms. Joseph Radley's `special minute', apparently written for himself alone, is almost painfully honest ; and there is something moving about the note in his 1892 Diary-he had little enough out of which to offer to `bear some expense'.

Joseph Radley was troubled, too, by the increasing interest his pupils were showing in competitive games. In the summer of 1879 Louis O'Brien wrote questioning the growing emphasis on athletic competition in the Open Day races. Joseph Radley replied

Many Friends object to the excitement, some to the inequality, some to the tendency to train our boys to look to sports of this class, a taste for which will lead to attendance at public exhibitions and halls of diversion and even to beget a taste for entering into such competitions. I agree. . . . This year there is an excellent show for sport but Natural History, Drawing and Workshop is grievously low. Sport is so absorbing that there is not even the faintest sign of cricket, that manly and excellent game . . . (395).

Many Public School Heads had already expressed such views, and Mark Pattison complained bitterly in 1868 of the `athletic furor' in Oxford where `play had become the only thought'. What, one wonders, would they have thought of sport in the second half of the twentieth century ?

Like all of us, Joseph Radley was the child of his time and shared its limitations, its advantages and disadvantages. But he continued even in old age resolutely to look ahead. There was, for example, the demand for organised physical exercises for girls. The boys had always done drill (and went on doing it in many schools until the outbreak of the second world war). The girls, then, should have an equivalent. Understandably, some Friends and parents were dismayed.

The Treasurer informed the Headmaster that it would not do to let the girls play football or indulge in `any form of play unsuitable for them'. Joseph Radley agreed and drew up a list of acceptable exercises (953). He knew, too, from what was happening in England that the school could not long limit its intake to Quaker children only, and by• the time he retired there were a small number of non-Friend pupils.

School Life

What, then, was the life of `the family' like in these days ? In some ways different from that of the school we know almost a hundred years later. First and foremost it was a small, self-contained community, cut off from the town of Lisburn. An event such as the triumphal entry into the town of Richard Wallace on 14th February 1873, the year before Joseph Radley began his headship, must have passed largely unremarked - it was a `worldly' event, and one involving a notorious figure at that : had he not been involved in a costly and discreditable law-suit ? So, too, the opening in 1880 of the Lisnagarvey Intermediate and University School at a cost to the said Richard Wallace of £1,400 might have been happening in another world, an event either unknown or of little importance. (It did not
74
become the Wallace High School until August 1942 and was just as small as Ulster Provincial School, having no more than fifty pupils as late as 1920.)

In this small world, the same few adults looked after the children day after day, even the Head teaching more or less full-time and fitting in his administrative tasks as well as he could. All pupils made their own beds, cleaned the dormitories, washed up, and when old enough gardened. There was much practising of copper-plate handwriting and of clear enunciation. The girls received a good deal of instruction on how to run a home, and spent much leisure time sewing, knitting or making samplers, though as the century wore on, this last occupation became less common. Food was very plain, but apparently sufficient. Twice weekly, on Sunday and Thursday mornings, all pupils attended Meeting for Worship in the Railway Street Meeting House. Yet there does not seem to have been much systematic Quaker teaching, Murray's "Quaker Catechism',' odd copies of which were still about in the 1960's, having by this time fallen into disuse. Some old and distinctive Quaker customs were quietly disappearing ; there was no Mr. or Miss, it is true, teachers being universally addressed by their full names (Charles Benington, never Mr. Benington), but the use of 'thee' and 'thou' was difficult to maintain. Some older Friends questioned the Head about this change and were told that Joseph Radley and his wife did their best to encourage it, but met with little success : girls used 'thou' more than boys (72).

A good account of the pupil's view of things was given by Henrietta Bulla in her address to the 1937 Jubilee gathering of the Old Scholars' Association. She had been both scholar and teacher under Joseph Radley. There were, she recalled, the relays of boys doing their daily stint of eight hundred pumpings to ensure that the school had enough water for its needs ; the stray monkey befriended by the school for a few months and looked after by Tipping, the gardener, and by Joseph Radley, who liked to feed him on biscuits and rhubarb ; the voyages made each 23rd May on a coal barge to the Giants' Ring ; and the short-lived school magazine entitled `Natural History Journal and School Reporter', illustrated and partly written by the gifted Agnes Scott. A memorable day on Lough Neagh in days before the internal combustion engine had brought with it the boredom of overfamiliarity, merited a detailed description

During one severe winter a large part of the Lough was frozen so hard that thousands of people were drawn thither to enjoy the best skating they had ever known. A day came when it was announced that the able bodied amongst us might take our skates and spend the morning on the ice. The boys and girls were instructed not to venture more than half-a-mile or so from the shore, but three of the teachers started off for Rams Island, hands interlaced, at a terrific pace ! Glancing back I saw three black dots following in our track, and though I am sure the `Head' was not unobservant, he turned a blind eye on their flight. We all six reached the island in safety. The `dauntless three' were Alfred Wallace, Warburton Davidson, and Bob Swain-the latter now a supporter of the School in the persons of his own children. Several of us missed the train by which we were to return. The boys hurried back to the Lough, but the girls were too tired for the long walk ; and the problem was how to put in the time until 4.30 (it was then about 1.30), when the next train was due to leave for Lisburn. After one or two attempts to hire a suitable vehicle, we bargained with a man to take us back by road in a roomy pony-cart which would hold us all, seven in number. The roads were heavy with deep snow, and Jehu could only get the horse along by leading it most of the way. When at last we reached Lisburn we told the man to drive up the avenue, and as he did so we cheered lustily. The first class rushed to the windows, and out came Joseph Radley with the question, `And who are you ?' Explaining that we were some of the unfortunates who had missed the train, and that we had elected to drive back rather than wait for a later one, we learned that the afternoon train had just arrived, and the other unfortunates with it ! A much-needed meal restored our self-respect, and after all it was a jolly, if rather cold drive !

But it was above all as a community in which intellectual curiosity was fostered that Henrietta Bulla recalled the school. Others before Joseph Radley had directed the attention of pupils to the things of the mind, but they had not stayed long enough for their influence to be lasting. Joseph Radley did, and in so doing influenced incalculably many who later came to realise their debt to him as well as many who were never aware of it - that is in the nature of teaching. He founded the School Literary and Natural History Society, whose first members, Henrietta Bulla recalled,

comprised the teachers and the older boys and girls ; anyone else wishing to join was required to set forth his request in writing, the letter was then considered by the Committee, and if found suitable the applicant was admitted on payment of the entrance fee of sixpence. No doubt the letters were all formed on the same model - the writer would express admiration for the Society, of which he had heard so much, would promise to keep the rules, and become as useful a member as his capacity allowed ! Meetings were held once a fortnight ; essays, recitations, debates, reports of the numerous 'ologies, made a pleasing variety, and lively discussions were frequent. There were at least two curators to each `department', who invariably began their reports in the same manner, `The curators of Botany (or Ornithology, or Conchology, or Entomology) have to report', and then would follow the names of the first wild flowers noted, the birds observed, or the land and fresh-water shells collected since last meeting. Geology and Meteorology claimed attention. Astronomy was popular, and the telescope was in frequent use. The workshops seldom lacked diligent patrons. Good collections of flowers (`herbaria') were made by boys and girls, one or two collected and mounted mosses, and at least one had a collection of grasses. Though my own taste leaned to the literary rather than to the natural history side, I did make one or two collections, notably one of land and fresh-water shells, the inhabitants of which were extracted, as was customary, by some good-natured member `of the other side of the House'. Before each meeting there was a display of work in progress - a drawing partly done, a piece of fancywork in hand, such eggs as were added since last meeting to a collection, in fact any and everything which had occupied our `own time' since last meeting. Prizes were awarded at the end of term, or rather at the end of the halfyear, for in those days holidays in Friends Schools were only given twice a year.

Then there were a number of visitors, important not only for their expert knowledge of Natural History but also because they brought the outside world inside the school ; they must have been the first of a succession of non-Quaker speakers to break into the guarded life on Prospect Hill. John Henry Davies of Glenmore was so frequent and valued a contributor to the Society that he was made an honorary member ; Dr. St. George lectured on `Skulls'; and Mr. S. A. Stewart came from Belfast to speak about Rathlin Island.

The most enthusiastic curator of Astronomy in early times [Henrietta Bulla tells us] was Sinton Douglas, who frequently had the telescope out just about bedtime ! With his help we came to be familiar with the appearance of the planet Jupiter and his satellites, Saturn and his rings, and many another `heavenly body'. The whole school was once called out by the Headmaster on a November evening to witness a thrilling sight, a shower of meteors numbering hundreds. These happenings, and a transit of Venus, and an occultation of Jupiter, were all in turn reported on in the Association. At one period there was a taxidermist on the staff, whose stuffed specimens were an interest at meetings but a nuisance in the Common-room. Photography as a pastime was in its infancy ; strange looking pictures from various `chambers of horrors' were at times on exhibition, but subsequently the photographers formed a club of their own.

And from the first Joseph Radley persuaded the members of the Society who had just left school to keep alive the interest of senior pupils in Literature and Natural History by giving prizes annually to those who produced good work. In 1877 awards amounting to £1.9.5 were given for Botanical Collections, Essay Writing, Carpentry, Fancy-work, Gardening, Geology, Conchology, Drawing, Entomology, and Ornithology. It was this Prize Fund that led in 1888 to the formal setting up of the Old Scholars' Association.

The Man and His Pupils

Joseph Radley was from a humble background (`a poor lad myself and wholly indebted to the Society in a private and public capacity for my valuable education' (78) ), and had a continuing concern that as many poor children as possible should go to Lisburn (209). As he had achieved his knowledge and position through self-discipline and hard work, he tried to teach others to value these. His own evangelical faith was blessedly free from narrow censoriousness and selfrighteousness. When he heard Isaac John Bell speak with apparent lightness of the saving power of Christ, he took him to task clearly but without acrimony. `As the Head of the school', he explained, `I must be watchful, and recommend you to think of the failings of James Nayler and Elias Hicks, and to remember that Tom Payne was the son of a Friend ; and to read for improvement the lives of Shillitoe and Grellett. Like Job Scott, we need humility' (367/9). It was his earnest wish that any of his pupils `who may consider that, in the popular phraseology of the day, `they may have given their hearts to Jesus', should avoid both spiritual pride and the cynicism that saps the health and vigour of many Christians and Christian churches' (58). They are wise words, indicating that while the labels change according to the phraseology of the day, the qualities they denote remain the same.

He did not have many rules, but those he did make were to be kept. In his view, boys should have clear standards of right and wrong, should cultivate gentlemanly manners and should be neat and upright. Girls, on the other hand, ought to aim at `primness of character' (699) and `freedom from vanity' (923). A boarding school best afforded this kind of training (938, 941). It did so by the quality of its staff and by unremitting watchfulness in matters of `domestic routine' (149). To this end, Joseph Radley fought the usual battles of the Boarding School Headmaster- against unauthorised absence condoned by the parent (16, 28, 64, 684), against special privileges (941), against idleness (625), self-indulgence (569) and general indiscipline (615). `Arthur cannot have a few days', he told a pleading parent ; `he ate his rhubarb tart the other day with splendid relish. I shall be glad to know you can get him to some school where he will be less prevented from enjoying the sweets of home life' (688). `It is a relief to us', he reported on another occasion, `that the girls are not returning to Lisburn' (605). His correspondence gives the clear impression that he rebuked without fear or favour, if rebuke were needed.

How much Quaker worship meant to his pupils it is impossible to say, though they• must have sensed their Headmaster's earnestness in the matter. `In my own part', he told a Friend in 1888, '1 can say that to miss mid-week meeting is more than missing my daily food' (718). He was just and charitable, and believed in his pupils as long as he could. Referring to the charges of the redoubtable Joseph Richardson that during Meeting for Worship `the boys carried on conversation with the girls by talking on their fingers', Joseph Radley said, `I never saw it. . . . As the complaint is anonymous, I shall be in honour bound to the children until it is substantiated . . .' (357). Inevitably, there were times when his trust was not justified (345). And in the face of persistent ill-behaviour he was as non-plussed as any other teacher. His treatment of one particularly difficult boy may serve as an example. The youth in question had seemed furtive from the beginning-'for the first six months he would not look me in the face'. Then there was an outbreak of pilfering, with the boy, after endless lies, at last admitting guilt in one case. After a brief respite, he resumed the pilfering, taking a small money order. Investigation in the town brought to light repeated visits to the pawnbrokers from whom he got money to spend on the fancy cakes and biscuits he craved insatiably. Joseph Radley ordered the boy to be closely guarded, only to have the instruction countermanded by a Committee member. Pleading and threatening proved equally useless. There were further visits to the pawnshop and further purchases of cakes. `My mind was made up that he and I could not stay in the same house a day longer, but Mary Radley and James S. Woolman entreated one more night'. The next day Joseph Radley himself took the boy to his home in Ballymena ; he had decided to weather the Committee's disapproval to the best of his ability -`I was nearly crushed by such intolerable baseness and hypocritical deceit' (447-452). The episode is of a kind common enough, the final comment less so. It was made by a good, kindly man who was both grieved and bewildered by irremediable dishonesty in someone he knew well.
In 1967, near the end of her long life Winifred Squire, who had known the school as both pupil and teacher, was persuaded to put pen to paper and remember her Headmaster. Nee Green and the sole survivor of a tragic boating disaster on Lough Neagh in 1904, she was the first girl from Prospect Hill to take a degree. Her words, it is true, repeat some things already said, but they also add in their last paragraph something that needs saying : they are a tribute from a fine woman to the memory of a fine man and Schoolmaster

He had a great love of nature and encouraged teacher and pupils in this purely out-of-school hobby. Botany, geology, astronomy, conchology were common words in our vocabulary, and I venture to say that very few people in N. Ireland had as wide a knowledge of its wild flower life as some Ulster Provincial School pupils had under J.R.'s encouragement. His scripture lessons must have been good for he himself was so sincerely interested. Models of both Solomon's and Herod's temples, I remember, and also fragments of verses never forgotten - the Burial of Moses, another beginning "Go not up to that land where the pur-r-r ple grapes growing in clusters of beauty . . ." -with his rolling is not because he was a Scot but because he placed such emphasis on precise enunciation and encouraged reading aloud and recitation, partly, because he thought all Friends should learn to speak clearly just as all clergy must learn.

In addition he had a genuine love of literature and tried to pass that on to us. He read aloud to us from Quaker biography and history ...

What further memories have I of this rather remarkable man ? - getting up in the middle of the night to see an eclipse of the moon, a rare solar eclipse viewed through old photograph plates, glimpses through the telescope (kept in the front hall) of Jupiter and his moon, Saturn and his ring, the mountains of the moon, and one memorable Saturday afternoon when some of us watched the transit of Mercury over the surface of the sun by means of a reflection from a telescope on a sheet of white paper at the bottom of the boys' schoolroom ...

. . . Joseph Radley's interests were wide and his vision large. All who were under him carried away something, unrecognised at the time, which developed and made of them, not great, but good citizens of wider outlook than they otherwise would have had.

Joseph Radley was a man of great integrity, `all of a piece', as we sometimes say. It is a rare quality, and one unerringly noted by scholars. Official obituaries can in general only hint at it and often ignore it altogether. The Belfast News-Letter for 7th February 1903, for example, wrote as follows

Joseph Radley influenced the important changes that took place in opening the school to others than those belonging to the Society of Friends, for whose special benefit it had originally been established. The rigid exclusiveness that characterised the Society in bygone years having yielded to more breadth of view, the institution has since been the happy and guarded home of many boys and girls of various denominations, who have been educated to mutual advantage in mixed classes, of which system Mr. Radlev was a strong advocate long before it became as general as it is now....

The Old Scholars' President, William A. Green, was more personal (Presidential address 1902-3)

Tonight a note of sadness mingles with our pleasure, as we remember the sympathetic voice that is now silent for ever, and the friendly hand that we shall grasp no more ; but the memory of our old friend, Joseph Radley, whom in our childish days we revered, and for whom love and respect have grown as years pass by, will ever be green in the hearts of those who knew him, and whose privilege it was to sit beneath his kindly rule and learn from his example of his daily life and conversation the obligations of a Christian and a gentleman.

The words are in one way specially fitting ; they recognise Joseph Radley's achievements in phrases taken directly from the Victorian high thinking and high living which, though they were soon to be called into serious question, he believed in and practised.

From another point of view, the sentences were trite enough. It is better to take leave of J.R. (as he was always called), remembered by one of his pupils who was himself a rugged individualist. He gives a perhaps exaggeratedly vivid view of the school -that was how he saw life. But when he comes to recall his Headmaster, T. Bulmer Hobson finds the right words

In my day there was much reading from the Bible and many Moody and Sankey hymns. There was a free and easy atmosphere but not many lessons were interesting ... English literature was making us learn by heart a number of lines . . . sometimes sixty. The teachers were a poor lot. Charles Benington was the only good one. But in Joseph Radley's day the school was like home. He was a bit slack, and we took advantage of him, and he knew we took advantage of him, but we all loved him.

When Joseph Radley retired in 1899 he was a very tired man.

The death of his son, though borne with fortitude, taxed him greatly. A year or two earlier he had suffered a serious breakdown in health but, after a long rest and change, had resumed his work at the school. His old vigour and even his mental grasp of situations had largely gone, and pupils were grieved to see him at times shuffling with difficulty about the school which owed its buildings and reputation to his faith and vision. He had another and yet more total breakdown, and a month later retired to Pardshaw, his wife's home. He took with him, it seems, many papers about the school's history, but tradition has it (through John Douglas who said that the information came from Mary Waterfall) that he worried so much about some aspects of them and of his own headship, that his wife destroyed many of them. In 1902, he had a stroke and began to suffer from paralysis. Honourably, the School Committee had provided him with a small pension. He did not live long to enjoy it. A visitor to Pardshaw burial ground, which lies at the foot of the splendid clean-swept Cumberland fells, may see his plain grave-stone bounded on one side by the high wall and on the other by the old Meeting House. Its simple inscription reads

JOSEPH RADLEY
DIED AT PARDSHAW
1st OF SECOND MONTH
1903 AGED 67 YEARS