I was searching for something in the local newspapers when this caught my eye relating to Old Whittington School.

sale by botham

(Derbyshire Courier 3 February 1883)

I thought it would be interesting to find out about this headteacher who appeared to be retiring!

Alfred Boggust was born in Alton in Hampshire in 1852, in 1871 he is recorded as having enrolled at the British and Foreign School Society in London as a student training to become a teacher.

In 1875 he moved to old Whittington and became Headmaster at Old Whittington school on Church Street, later in the year on 23rd October 1875 he married Ann Banks Stuart Sharman in Boston, Lincolnshire.

wedding lincolnshire chronice;e 29 oct 1875

The couple started married life in the School House but tragedy struck a few months later when Ann died in an accident. The inquest below, taken from the Leamington Spa Courier 27 May 1876, gives an explanation of what happened.

leamington spa courier 27 May 1876

Ann was buried on 23 May 1876 back in her home county of Lincolnshire.

Alfred resumed his teaching duties and by all accounts worked hard and was well liked.  In 1881 the census shows that at 29 he is a widower still living in the School House at Old Whittington.  There is a slight discrepancy here however, as on 31 May 1879 Alfred married again, at St George the Martyr Church in Battersea London, to Harriett Jane Le Sueur Jones, a widow same age as Alfred.

It could have been a mistake by the enumerator that Alfred was recorded as a widower, but on the night of the census Harriett was not living at Old Whittington.

In 1883 the above advert appeared and Alfred has decided to move, leaving all his furniture and household goods to be auctioned.  A collection was made for Alfred and a presentation was made to him, and this was recorded in the Derbyshire Courier on 17 February 1883.

1retirementcourier 17 feb 1883

I have transcribed the last couple of paragraphs as best as I can.

“Mr Boggust had worked this school with great skill for eight years, giving satisfaction to all. He had not only taught those placed under his care the educational requirements required for the various standards, but had taught them habits of perseverance and industry, and a good feeling had always pervaded the school.  Mr Swanwick contrasted the present state of the school with what it was when Mr Boggust first took charge of it, showing the improvement year by year until the present one which was the crowning success.  He wished them to understand that it was within the reach of all to ??? ??? and successful teachers by succeeding first in the lower and upper standards ???? pupil teachers, afterwards as masters; and that would only be accomplished by pursuing a steady and useful life”.

Alfred sounds like an inspirational teacher and one who would be sorely missed by the children of Old Whittington.

He moved to Birmingham and with Harriet had four children.  He became headmaster at an elementary school in the city, and remained in Birmingham until he died in 1935.

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