Schoolmasters' Farewell 1930

The Bucks Standard Saturday May 1st 1930

Schoolmaster’s Farewell




Presented to Mr. H. H. Middleton by the residents of Castlethorpe and old scholars as a token of esteem and respect on his retirement after 34 years of excellent service as Headmaster of Castlethorpe Council School, and in appreciation of the great interest he has taken in the social life of the place. May 28, 1930

Such was the inscription on a handsome canteen of stainless cutlery which Castlethorpe people, at a largely attended public gathering on Wednesday evening, gave to Mr. H. H. Middleton on the occasion of his retirement from the headmastership of the village schools. The gift bore striking testimony to the popularity of the recipient with all classes in the village and to very high regard in which he is held by old pupils and present scholars. During the 34 years he has been resident in Castlethorpe and entrusted with the destinies of the rising generation Mr. Middleton has done the very best educational work; and outside the school his services to the village have been of immense value. A musician of repute, he was the founder of the Castlethorpe Choral Society, an organisation which is strong in membership, and which, under Mr. Middleton’s capable and experienced direction, has in recent years given a number of charming entertainments both in their own village and at Hanslope. In addition his interest in parochial happenings generally, and the keen desire he has shown to take some part on promoting the village, and happiness of the village folk has long established him in the affections of Castlethorpe people. In his scholastic work and in many other directions Mrs. Middleton has ably seconded her husband’s efforts, and at the farewell gathering on Wednesday high and well-deserved tribute was paid her.

Mr. W. D. Markham (chairman of the School Managers) presided, and was supported by Mrs. Markham (his mother), Rev. E. J. Fenn (curate of the parish), Mr. E. Richardson (former School Manager) Mr. L. Nichols, B.A. (an old scholar of Mr. Middleton’s), Mr. Faulkner, Mr. A. E. Garrett (secretary of the North Bucks branch of the National Union Teachers), and Mr. and Mrs. Middleton.

The schoolroom was crowded with past and present pupils and parishioners, who has assembled to bear testimony to Mr. Middleton’s good work amongst them.

The speeches were interspersed with music and song, those contributing to the programme including Miss Clarke, Miss Ratledge, Mrs. W. Markham, and Mrs. Cowley, who favoured with a recitation. Most of the pianoforte accompaniments for the songs were played by Mr. Middleton.

The Chairman said they had met together with very mixed feelings to pay a tribute of appreciation and admiration for the work Mr. Middleton had done not only as a schoolmaster but as a citizen and friend.

They were sad because their schoolmaster of so many years was leaving them, but on the other hand it gave them much pleasure to be present that evening and to have the opportunity thanking both Mr. and Mrs. Middleton for all they had done for the parish. They valued Mr. Middleton’s work, and the best wish they could offer him was that he might live long and have good health and happiness in his well-deserved retirement. (Applause.)

As the oldest School Manager, Mr. E. Richardson was delighted to be present and to pay tribute to Mr. Middleton’s good services to Castlethorpe Schools and the village for 34 years. (Applause.)


Mr. L. Nichols referred more particularly to Mr. Middleton’s professional work. They had in Castlethorpe, he said, a school of which they could all be proud; if they looked through the whole of North Bucks they would have difficulty in finding a better building or one which served so many purposes. Then they had had successive managers who and had the interest of education at heart and had looked well after the exterior and interior of the building. These things themselves did not contribute a good school; the main thing was the personality and the ability of the schoolmaster and his staff, and he thought he was justified in saying on behalf of all old scholars that Mr. Middleton had proved his ability during the 34 years he had had charge of the school. He didn’t remember him coming to Castlethorpe, but he started school on his fourth birthday and he had a good deal to do with Mr. Middleton between the age of 4 and 12 years and could testify to the excellence of his work and his kindness to the children placed under his care. Mr. Middleton made his mark at College, where he gained first-class certificates, and he came away as a first-class man, and they were justified in saying that he had lived up to that reputation since he had been at Castlethorpe (applause). Turning back the pages in the book of memory, Mr. Nichols spoke at length on what Mr. Middleton had done in promoting an interest in music. He recalled himself when quite a little boy standing in front of the platform as one of a troupe of ten little Nigger boys. They remembered the days when there was no wireless and no gramophones and how Mr. and Mrs. Middleton and Miss Gregory brought relief to the long and dull winter evenings by organising concerts and presenting something in which both adults and children could be interested. The work done in this particular direction had brought out some of the best traits in the children’s characters. The speak alluded to Mr. Middleton’s love for the art of painting, and the benefit his instruction in this subject had proved to so many old scholars. He recalled an interesting incident of his early school days when Mr. Middleton was giving a lesson and was trying to get the children to find out the meaning of the word “exit.” It was a subject which presented some difficulty to the youthful minds. Pointing to one door Mr. Middleton told them that was the entrance in; then pointing to the door at the other end of the school he asked the scholars to say what that was. One little lad relied, “Please, sir that is the entrance out” (laughter). Mr. Middleton had reached the stage in professional work when he was coming to the “entrance out,” and they hoped it would be the “entrance in” to a new life of activity in which he would realise that he was not bound down to a time table, had no curriculum to work to, and when on Friday night he would not be kept filling log books. He wished Mr. Middleton every success and happiness in his retirement at Twickenham. (Applause.)

The |Rev. E. J. Fenn said he had only known Mr. Middleton 3½ years, but he had always found him a real friend, a good helper, and one they could go to if in difficulties, well knowing that he would do his best to help. Mr. Middleton had the quality of thoroughness in a very marked degree. Though going away from Castlethorpe he hoped Mr. Middleton would always regard it as his native home and look back on the old parish with feelings of affection.

Mr. Faulkner followed with a short speech in which he eulogised Mr. Middleton’s many good qualities not only as a trainer of the young, but a a citizen. He trusted Mr. and Mrs. Middleton were better for having lived in their midst; the people of Castlethorpe were better for the services they had so ungrudgingly rendered. (Applause.)


Mrs. Markham, in presenting the canteen of cutlery, said she was very pleased to have been asked to perform the duty. It was a pleasure to them to subscribe to the testimonial; everyone was so pleased to give, and Mr. Middleton could look upon it as a free gift. She had much pleasure in handing the canteen to him and she assured him they were all indebted to him for his kindness to their children. He had not only tried to teach them in school but outside he had set a good example and had tried to train them in the right way to be worthy citizens and useful members of society. Whilst they all regretted Mr. and Mrs. Middleton were leaving them they hoped they would live long and have an enjoyable time, and they would always be pleased to see them when they were able to come to Castlethorpe. (Applause.)


With the canteen of cutlery Mrs. Markham handed a written list of subscribers to Mr. Middleton.

On rising to reply Mr. Middleton was greeted with prolonged applause. He first of all thanked them for coming there that night; it was very kind of them. He felt the only honour they would him worthy of was to come and say goodbye to him. He heartily thanked the subscribers for their valuable and serviceable gift, those who had made speeches and made such kind remarks regarding himself and his work amongst them. He hoped he deserved some of the eulogies that had been uttered. It was 34 years that ady since he and Mrs. Middleton came to Castlethorpe; and he looked back with pleasure and no small amount of appreciation on the consideration and kindness shown him by successive Board Managers. They had been very kind. He had had a good and comfortable school to work in. They had the advantage of a nice clean caretaker; in fact, a care-taker who was too clean – he had often told her she did too much. He had also had a good house for which he was most thankful. Mr. Middleton went on to refer to his hobbies of painting and music, and said he would ever remember the happy time he had spent with the Choral Society. He hoped that work would not be allowed to drop but that they would find some good friend to carry it on. Finally, Mr. Middleton again expressed his gratitude and thanks to his Castlethorpe friends for their great kindness, particularly mentioning the parents for all the help they had given him in his professional duties.

Mrs. Middleton, in a very happy little speech, also expressed thanks for the valuable present.

Mr. A. E. Garratt added his tribute to the good work of Mr. Middleton as a schoolmaster, and Mr. Arthur Markham, Mrs. Compton and Mr. Holt also spoke.

Thanks to the artistes and to the chairman, and to the singing of a verse of the National Anthem brought the proceedings to a close.


At a gathering of church people at Church End School, Hanslope, on Tuesday evening, Mr. Middleton was presented with an oak dining table and dining wagon, and two oak trays in appreciation of his services as organist for the past 18 years. Between 70 and 80 people were present, and after Mr. S.W. Platten, who organised the testimonial fund on behalf of the Parochial Church Council, had explained the object of the meeting, the Rev. J. Percy Taylor (vicar) took the chair supported by the Rev. Fenn (curate), Messrs. H. Geary, G. Whitbread (church-wardens) S. W. Platten, T. Nichols and R. W. Dickens. The presentation was made by the Rev. E. J. Fenn, who expressed the church’s indebtedness to Mr. Middleton for all he had done to improve the musical rendering of the services. In all weathers Mr. Middleton had been found in his place at the organ, and his services as organist were not rendered for personal gain but for the love he had for the Church. They were indebted also to Mr. Middleton for the enlargement of the organ and for his successful efforts in securing a grant from the Carrington Trust to help pay for that work. The Vicar and other gentlemen supporting him referred in eulogistic terms to Mr. Middleton’s services to the church at Hanslope. A musical programme was contributed to by the Vicar, Mr. Middleton, Mr. H. Willingham and Mr. T. Nichols. “Alud Lang Syne” and “The King” closed an interesting evening.