Weston Point grows, but the school doesn't !

In 1882 there was another new development that accelerated the growth of the chemical industry. A pipeline was built from Marbury to Weston Point to bring brine, a basic raw material for chemical processing. Again there were more workers, more children and the school continued to flourish. With all the commercial development the school expanded again and in 1887, the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal began. More and more navvies were arriving, more and more builders, more and more children. Also, there were the children of the bargees, but this was a fluctuating population. They would arrive here on Monday, say, the barge would pull in, they would have a day or two's education here while the barge was loaded, then they would disappear, down to Stoke-on-Trent. Then about three weeks later they would re-appear again for another two days' education. There were the salt workers' children too, because the salt works was now established.

With the increase of the school population, conditions became very difficult. That's when Her Majesty's Inspectors arrived. They came to tell you what was wrong. In 1895 they said: "the school is in excellent order, the elementary work of the lower classes or standards - is excellent, arithmetic above the third standard, is too, especially problem work. The problem work of the fourth and fifth standards is weak. And it is without hesitation that the principal grant is allocated". If the inspectors came in and the school didn't reach the standard, then funds were not allocated to run the school, it's as simple as that. I don't know what they thought you would do if you didn't get the funding - put the children out on the streets? The inspectors were pleased. The English was good, and the needlework was good - it was all those mohair buttons they had been making!

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