Ulster needs more teachers urgently says Education Minister

The urgent necessity of increasing the output of teachers in Northern Ireland was emphasised by the Northern Ireland Minister of Education, Mr William May, in the Ulster Commons at the end of March 1960.

On the same day the minister announced a long-term development plan for large-scale additions to Stranmillis Training College in south Belfast and said that the extension programme would begin as soon as was possible.

Mr May, who was moving the estimates for the Ministry of Education, said that the total sum that he was asking for was £16,092,840, which was an increase of nearly £1,700,000, more than 10 per cent, on the expenditure for the year 1959-60.

Mr W K Fitzsimons, MP, left, and Mr T W Boyd, MP, listen as Ivan Bell and Laurence Austin answer a query put to them by Mr R MacDonald, inspector of intermediate schools, when a party of MPs visited Ballygomartin Boys’ Intermediate School, Belfast, to see the work carried out by the technical section  of the school

Mr W K Fitzsimons, MP, left, and Mr T W Boyd, MP, listen as Ivan Bell and Laurence Austin answer a query put to them by Mr R MacDonald, inspector of intermediate schools, when a party of MPs visited Ballygomartin Boys’ Intermediate School, Belfast, to see the work carried out by the technical section
of the school

Explaining the increase in the estimates Mr May said: “If our relative educational position vis-a-vis the rest of the world is to be maintained, expenditure in future years is likely to increase quite substantially.

“The largest increased item of expenditure this year is one of £680,000 in teachers’ salaries, due to an anticipated increase of about 400 in the number of teachers and to the operation of the new salary scales which came into full operation from October last. “There are now about 110,700 teachers, compared with 17,900 ten years ago, but there are 50,000 more children at school. Although staffing ratios are better than they were, there is still in primary schools more than 1,300 classes with more than 40 pupils on the roll. About 100 of these had more than 50 pupils on the roll.”

The minister said that this staff-pupil ratio had to be addressed. He stated: “That state of affairs must be remedied as quickly as possible and I am studying the need for teachers in the future.”

He continued: “The reorganisation involved in transferring all children over the age of to secondary schools will relieve accommodation problems and make it possible to improve the staff-pupil ratio in many primary schools, but will at the same time present difficulties in adequately staffing secondary schools, unless the supply of teachers is materially increased.”

Reflecting on the 1947 Education Act Mr May said: “The 1947 Act provided for an increase in the school-leaving age to 16, and the implementation of this provision will call, not only for increased school accommodation, but for a substantial addition to the teaching staff.”

Mr May said that there was “an urgent necessity to increase the output of the training colleges” and to “induce more graduates to enter the teaching profession”. He said that he believed that the new salary scales in operation would prove a considerable incentive.

Dealing with intermediate schools, Mr May said that they were gaining confidence in themselves. He remarked: “They are no longer in any way apologising for their existence.”

The minister added: “The development within some of the Belfast intermediate schools of technical intermediate streams is working well and has led the Ministry of Education to have second thoughts about the need for separate technical intermediate schools in the city itself.”

He said that he had little doubt that before long that the Belfast intermediate schools would retain an increasing number of pupils beyond the school-leaving age.

He commented: “The time might not be far distant when we can look to the intermediate schools for recruits to the training colleges.”

The minister also noted that facilities were being extended for special educational treatment in Northern Ireland. At the end of March 1960 there were 19 special schools in Northern Ireland and it was expected that three more would be opened inside a year – one in Belfast, one in Londonderry and one in Ballymena.

Meanwhile in the field of further education, the Belfast Education Authority was considering the transfer of the Stanhope Street Further Education Centre to the new premises to be provided in East Belfast at Tower Street. It was hoped then to make use of the existing Stanhope Street premises and to extend them if more land could be acquired as a centre for the bakery trade and for catering.

In conclusion Mr May said that there was still a good deal of new school building to be done. Of the 180 or so new intermediate schools required, 71 had not reached the building stage and of those 33 had not reached the drawing board.

He said: “It will take at least five years to finish off the job completely even if all the loose ends are tied up in the course of the present year.”

Viscountess Craigavon is laid to rest beside her husband at Stormont

A spray of spring flowers from the garden of her Wiltshire home was left on the coffin of the Dowager Viscountess Craigavon when she was buried in the tomb of her husband in the grounds of Parliament Buildings, Stormont, at the end of March 1960. The flowers had been arranged by her daughter, the Honourable Mrs E A C Linzee, who attended the funeral, which was private.

The burial service was conducted by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Right Reverend Dr F J Mitchell.

The funeral cortege of the Dowager Viscountess Craigavon passing in front of Parliament Buildings, the coffin flanked by members of the Northern cabinet and political and civic heads and preceded by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Right Reverend Dr F J Mitchell and the Dean of Belfast, the Very Reverend C I Peacocke

The funeral cortege of the Dowager Viscountess Craigavon passing in front of Parliament Buildings, the coffin flanked by members of the Northern cabinet and political and civic heads and preceded by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Right Reverend Dr F J Mitchell and the Dean of Belfast, the Very Reverend C I Peacocke

After a simple service in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast which was conducted by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Reverend C I Peacocke, the cortege left for Stormont. It halted at the west end of Parliament Buildings and the coffin, flanked on the one side by the Prime Minister, Lord Brookeborough, and members of the Cabinet, and on the other by the Speaker of the House, Sir Norman Stronge, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman R G C Kinahan, and members of the Ulster Unionist Council, was carried past the front of the building to the graveside.

The coffin bore the spray of flowers only, but there were 13 other floral wreaths, including tributes from the government of I Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionist Council, the Ulster Women’s Unionist Council and the Ulster Young Unionist Council. These were later placed on the tomb.

The Governor of Northern Ireland, Lord Wakehurst, was represented at the funeral by Major Robert Stephens and the Northern Ireland government representatives included the Minister of Finance, Captain Terence O’Neill, the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Brian Faulkner; the Minister of Commerce, Lord Glentoran; the Minister of Health and Local Government, Mr J L O Andrews, and the Leader of the Senate, Colonel A R Gordon. The Speaker of the Senate, Sir Roland Nugent, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Norman Stronge, were also present at the funeral.

The Lord Mayor represented the citizens of Belfast.

Representing the Ulster Unionist Council were Sir Clarence Graham, chairman of the standing committee, and Mr S J McMahon, chairman of the executive committee.

Senator Joseph Cunningham represented the Ulster Unionist Labour Association, and Mr Isaac Hawthorne, chief whip of the Parliamentary Unionist Party.

Sir George Clark represented the Orange Institution, and the Ulster Women’s Unionist Council representatives were Mrs Martin Wallace and Councillor Florence Breakie, deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast.

Mr R A Butler, Home Secretary, was represented by Mr H Black, Assistant Secretary to the Northern Ireland Cabinet; Sir Robert Gransden, Northern Ireland Government Agent in London, by Mr W H Baird; the Minister of Labour and National Insurance by Mr R H T Rea; the Minister of Education by Mr A E Hawthorne, and the Minister of Agriculture by Mr H J Montgomery.

Also present were Dame Dehra Parker, former Minister of Health; Sir Harry Mulholland, former Speaker of the House of Sir Richard Pirn, Inspector-General of the Royal Ulster Constabulary; Lady Glentoran, and Major G Thomson, Clerk of Parliaments, and Mr A J Kelly, Secretary to the Cabinet.

 

Harsh word from Lord Justice Curran

Speaking in Belfast City Commission during a shopbreaking case at the end of March 1960 Lord Justice Curran said: “The only thing these fellows understand is punishment. What they really need is a good thrashing.”

A 41 year old housewife named Hewitt from Carlisle Street, a 17 year old man called McGartland and a 16 year old juvenile had pleaded guilty to shopbreaking and stealing a quantity of spirits

McGartland and the juvenile asked that an additional charge be taken into consideration. Both were ordered to a period of borstal training, subject to a medical report on their condition.

The on the woman was deferred, subject to a welfare report on her three children.

Meanwhile, a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment was imposed on labourer named Adair who was found guilty of breaking into a warehouse at Duncairn Gardens with intent to steal.

Lord Justice Curran said: “People who have the ingenuity and resourcefulness to climb up on roofs and cut holes in ceilings, when caught, cannot be allowed off scot free.”

Lord Justice Curran said that the accused had stated in evidence that he had some drink that night. The judge remarked: “If that was so, it is possible that the liquor did give you Dutch courage with which to carry out the job.”

The judge told Adair: “We are dealing with a job that was obviously planned, and you and whoever your friend was, were carrying out a real job here, and I cannot possibly overlook it.”

Another case heard was brought against a labourer called McLoughlin. He was accused of having broken in a house of a Mrs Wright at Graham Gardens and stolen an apron worth 5s. The jury found McLoughlin not guilty and he was discharged.

Sunday golf protest in Lisburn

At the end of March 1960 Lisburn golf course opened for the first time on a Sunday in the history of club. It was decision which brought protests from nine Lisburn clergymen.

The members of the golf club at their annual meeting passed by 51 votes to 31 a resolution to introduce Sunday golf. At the same meeting they decided that the bar should remain closed on Sundays.

A statement issued by the Lisburn ministers who were opposed to the development stated: “In view of our churches’ teaching regarding the proper observance of Sunday, this step is regarded as deplorable. We feel that the worst effect will be on the young people of the district, to whom Sunday golf will offer yet another temptation. We know that this action will be deplored by the great majority of loyal Church folk.”

The nine ministers were Chancellor C J McLeod, the Reverend Dr J K Elliott, Canon Dr R Adams, the Reverend T G Keery, the Reverend W Boyd, the Reverend H Irvine, the Reverend. S H McElhinney, the Reverend H Young and the Reverend J McAllister.

Mr H M Crawford, the out-going captain of the club, who presided at meeting, said when told of the ministers’ statement: “I do not feel that I can make any comment on the matter. All I can say Is that the resolution was passed by 51 votes to 31, and that is that.”

A member of the club said: “Members of the public have been ‘invading’ the golf course on Sundays for many years now, although the club members themselves have never played.

“In view of this, I wonder why the ministers have never complained before. After all, what is the difference in townspeople playing on Sundays and members of the club doing the same thing?”

Minister forced to intervene in bread strike

Bakery workers who were on strike in March 1960 parading through Belfast carrying placards stating their claims.

Bakery workers who were on strike in March 1960 parading through Belfast carrying placards stating their claims.

In March 1960 Northern Ireland was in the midst of a bread strike and as the shortage of bread became an increasing concern the province’s Minister of Labour and Insurance, Mr Ivan Neill, was forced to intervene to prevent the state of affairs in the country deteriorating.

It was reported by the News Letter three days after the strike had begun that Mr Neill was due to meet with officials of the Bakers’, Confectioners’ and Allied Workers’ Union in Belfast officials of the Bakers’, Confectioners’ and Allied Workers’ Union in Belfast to discuss the strike.

Following a meeting with the secretary of the union, Mr J Morgan) after the House of Commons had concluded business on the Monday after the strike had begun the minister issued a statement which read: “At the request of the secretary of the North of Ireland Bakers’, Confectioners’ and Allied Workers’ Union the Minister of Labour and National Insurance had an informal talk with him this evening.

“Arising from this discussion arrangements were made that a further meeting would take tomorrow with the minister after the position had been explored by union representatives and the ministry’s officers.”

Earlier in the House of Commons Mr Neill had said that when his conciliation officers had met the unions on previous Friday their final words had been: “We shall be available at once if you think our services can be of any value in either preventing a dispute or bringing about a settlement.”

He added that he “regretted that it was not possible under his auspices, or of his conciliation officers, to secure an acceptable basis of settlement to that unfortunate dispute”. And he continued that he hoped that “wise counsels” would prevail that an early settlement could be achieved as rapidly as possible.

Meanwhile, Lord Glentoran, Minister of Commerce, said that the government was continuing to keep the supplies situation constantly under review and assured the Ulster House of Commons that should the strike begin to effect the general public that they would not hesitate to “take any action they thought necessary in the public interest”.

The first “incident” involving trade union pickets since the bread strike began when the police had to be called to the Lisburn Road branch of the Eglinton Bakery, Belfast. The bakery proprietor alleged “unnecessary interference” by the pickets, who had searched a van as it was leaving the premises.

The pickets carried placards saying: “This bread is black,” and “Scab labour is employed here”.

Mr John Davidson, director of the firm, said that friends had gathered round to help his family to produce bread, and they were operating at about one-third of their capacity. He was not prepared to say how many men were working.

“We have a right to bake bread and we will go on baking it,” said Mr Davidson, who claimed that the pickets had been interfering with the bread vans. He alleged that the pickets had tried to pull a driver from his seat.

The Eglinton bakery controlled the Carlton and Baines’s and had 10 shops in Belfast.

A spokesman of the Bakers’ Union stated that the Eglinton Bakery was producing bread by a make-shift staff of non-union labour, and that it was “a family affair”. Home bakeries were also supplying bread with recruited labour but all union men had been withdrawn.

Large queues at home bakeries in across the city of Belfast had begun to appear. The News Letter reported that loaves were being rationed at all the shops with regular customers being given preference. Wheaten and soda farls were in great demand.

The News Letter reported: “Housewives experiencing most difficulty are those whose menfolk carry packed lunches to work at the shipyard and other industrial establishments. Others seem to get over the bread shortage by home baking using whatever flour is available.”

To cope with the extra demand for bread, bakers at Omagh Model Bakery were working extra shifts and their van men were also working overtime. Extra shifts were also being worked by three home bakeries in Omagh, “and there was no shortage”.

Meanwhile, it was reported that there was no acute bread shortage in Fermanagh, “although one or two outlying districts expect to find themselves short in a day or two”.

It was reported that Enniskillen, with its two main bakeries closed, was “getting enough” to satisfy immediate needs from home bakeries. Hospitals and schools had so far been able to secure adequate supplies. While along the border there is no difficulty in securing bread from southern Ireland.

In Londonderry breadservers employed by Eaton and Co Ltd where directors of the firm are baking bread were cheered at the by breadservers of other firms and by pickets as their vans left the premises. Breadservers employed by the other firms, who had already been put on their notice, sent a deputation to Eaton’s premises in an attempt to persuade breadservers there not to make deliveries but they refused to agree to the demand.

Because of the deliveries made by Eatons and by others there was no real shortage of bread in the city.

With only restricted supplies from two Derry bakeries the Tyrone town of Dungannon had begin to feel the shortage.

The News Letter reported: “Small home bakeries were besieged by housewives. Local industrial canteens were able to produce sufficient supplies for the workers, but in cafes homemade pancakes figured largely on the menu.”

Archbishop criticises ‘materialistic megalomania’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, travelled to Northern Ireland in March 1960 to take part in a number of engagements to mark Saint Patrick’s Day.

In his main engagement at the first afternoon service in Downpatrlck Cathedral Dr Fisher stressed the importance of “little peoples” and criticised the form of “materialistic megalomania” which dominated modern society and which “thought nothing was good unless it was impressive”.

Taking as his text, “Fear not, little flock, for It is your Father’s; good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (St Luke 12), he said he wanted to dwell on the importance of little peoples, because it was an essential part of the Christian way of life that “we should be little men and women in the presence of God”.

He remarked: “The strength and power was God’s, not ours. It is one of our glories, as Christians, that there are little groups all over the world living as vital parts of the social structure.”

He continued: “At the same time it is distressing to find men among us terribly consumed by a form of materialistic megalomania. They think nothing was any good unless it was impressive and large.

Dr Fisher asked: “What are they trying to do at the present to the little county of Rutland?” He answered: “They are trying to cut it up, for what – efficiency. I do not; want to decry the urge for efficiency, but this urge has done little to abolish poverty and other human wants. Efficiency is only safe when it is, kept firmly under control of the spirit of man and God.”

The visit of the Archbishop of  Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher and Mrs Fisher  to Northern Ireland in March 1960 to take part in St Patrick’s Day celebrations at Downpatrick Cathedral and Saul. They are pictured with the Bishop of Down, the Right Rev F J Mitchell, who met them at Nutt’s Corner Airport.

The visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher and Mrs Fisher to Northern Ireland in March 1960 to take part in St Patrick’s Day celebrations at Downpatrick Cathedral and Saul. They are pictured with the Bishop of Down, the Right Rev F J Mitchell, who met them at Nutt’s Corner Airport.

Dr Fisher said he could not see how God was glorified by – “cutting up the smallest county in England and giving it away, when it has its own essential grace through littleness which brings both comfort and satisfaction”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury declared: “This is an example of the threat of megalomania when it gets out of hand. The fault is partly due to covetousness and idolatry which is next door to covetousness.

“There is peril in the threat of megalomania. The Church itself in its long history has fallen victim to this lust for greatness – greatness of political, spiritual and theological power.

“When the Church surrenders to the quest for power it loses the virtue which Christ gave to little folk. There is no harm in littleness if it did not mean the threat of losing heart and hope.”

Dr Fisher remarked that the promise contained in the text from which he preached assured that there was nothing to be afraid of, “as the Kingdom was ours”.

He said: “All was to the glory of God and no human thing can deter or defeat us. Notwithstanding the fears of the materialistic world around us we can find security in the love of God.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Down (the Very Reverend W H Good), and the lesson was read by the Bishop of Meath (Dr Pike). The Dean of Belfast (the Very Reverend C I Peacocke) acted as chaplain to the Archbishop. The Primate of All Ireland pronounced the Blessing.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also preached at the second afternoon service, which attracted almost as large a congregation as the earlier one.