Book of the Month
BENNETT STREET SUNDAY SCHOOL
A Manchester History
By M W Lees
At the turn of the 1800s, while Jane Austen was writing and George III was on the throne, Manchester, like many inner cities throughout England, was a place of deprivation and strife. Children as young as five years of age were malnourished and impoverished working long hours in factories and mills.
David Stott, an innovative philanthropist and part of the Sunday School Movement, founded Bennett Street Sunday School for the children and adults living in the New Cross and Ancoats areas of Manchester. Through tireless dedication he introduced them to religion and implemented social, welfare and educational reforms, decades before legislation caught up. In doing so he alleviated, at a local level, some of the abhorrent conditions which the working classes endured.
This book chronicles the extraordinary history of Bennett Street Sunday School which, with the aid of benefactors, Visitors, donors and supporters - not least L. S. Lowry - educated and transformed the lives of tens of thousands of students, young and old for over 150 years.
At the eleventh hour, whilst researching L. S. Lowry's role as a supporter of the school, we stumbled upon an oil of the school, painted by Lowry in 1950, entitled Going to School, which was being exhibited at The Lowry in Salford. Happily, we received kind permission from the Lowry Estate and the owners of the oil to use the image on the cover of the book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.....
Margaret Wendy Lees retired in 1996 after a forty year career divided equally between administration in Manchester’s raw cotton trade and on the support staff of the Manchester School of Management, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).
After retirement she enrolled for an MA in the History of the Manchester Region at the Manchester Metropolitan University submitting a dissertation on two large Sunday schools in the Manchester region (Stockport Sunday School and Bennett Street Sunday School) during the Victorian and Edwardian eras; she graduated in 2001.
She was the fourth generation of her family to be a scholar at Bennett Street, her father Edmund Grundy Lees having also been a teacher, her grandfather Walter Lees a manager and her great grandfather John Grundy a manager and a Visitor.
Bennett Street Sunday School was edited by Patricia Byron of Stellar Books.
Published in November 2013 by Stellar Books
A5 Paperback - 216 pages
Weight - 456 g
RRP £12.99 + £1.79 P&P