3 Aug 2012
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 2 August 2012
Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 2 August 2012
Technical Memories (Part 26)
County Versus City
It was Arthur F. Sharman Crawford, who acted as spokesman before Cork County Council in early May 1913. He had been instructed by the Cork County Borough Technical Instruction Committee to appear before Cork County Council to ask for a contribution towards the funds of that committee. His speech and subsequent actions give an insight into the extent of technical education in County Cork plus the relationship between the Crawford Municipal Technical Institute, its city plus its county committees, and Cork Corporation and Cork County Council.
On the 2 May 1913, the Cork Examiner, reported on Crawford’s concerns. The Crawford Municipal Technical Institute educated 2,113 students, of whom they estimated 554, or 26 per cent, resided in Cork County. Cork Corporation struck a rate of 2d. in the pound, which realised £1,440 for the education of those students, but the County ratepayers were contributing nothing towards the education of the 554 students who came to the schools from the County.
Crawford to the County Council noted “if those students [county] did not use the schools it would mean that the county would have to leave them uneducated or else provide schools for them at very large expense”. He proposed that the council should consider a like grant of 18s. per head for their students – that would work out at £500 per year, or one eight of a penny in the pound. He believed that the County Council and the city’s corporation should be working together. Mr Crawford added that he was very proud of the enthusiasm that those students had displayed in connection with the education. He gave the example of a boy from Kinsale, who attended their classes in the institute for a few years, and he rode on a bicycle to and from the city in order to avail of that education. They also had several attending the institute from Mallow, and a large number from other places.
Arthur Sharman Crawford gave a paper on 29 May 1913 at the annual congress in connection with the Irish Technical Instruction Association, which was held in Bangor, Co. Down. Again he commented on the lack of forthcoming funding from county councils; “Many students outside urban, county and borough boundaries enter, enjoying all the advantages of these schools. No doubt, the committees of these schools were in most cases glad to have such students, but find their usefulness impaired by want of funds, owing chiefly to the fact that their resources were crippled by having to pay interest on capital raised for the building, equipment and maintenance of these schools. The town technical schools were the natural centres of institution for the rural districts immediately surrounding them, and without these schools, the county authorities would be compelled to spend large sums to provide education for these students.”
Under the circumstances, Crawford argued that the situation could be improved either by the enlargement of the educational areas, pooling of the funds, and amalgamation of schemes, or by the county authorities paying a capitation fee to the schools used by their students with perhaps a small pro-rata representation on the committees. From the floor of the congress, Canon Courtenay Moore (historian, writer) said that with reference to the amalgamation spoken of by Mr Crawford, experience had shown that it was not so easy as had been suggested. Dundalk and Drogheda had been in a joint scheme, and had to withdraw from it. He gave three reasons why there should not be amalgamation. The students from the outside area were mostly suburban students, and if they did not pay rates directly they paid them indirectly, in as much as they purchased the “necessaries of life” in the urban district or borough. Secondly, the fees paid and the attendance grant from the pupils more than repaid any outlay on their behalf. Thirdly, the contribution from the Department was much more proportionately than that given to the County Committee. Practically all the County Committees spent up the levels of their incomes and could do no more. County Councils had to rent schools, and in many instances had to build them also.
In a follow up article on the 20 June 1913, the Cork Examiner noted that the Cork County Council was contributing to the county technical education project. The list of classes that were held in the Cork Rural District in 1907-08 comprised domestic economy at Ballyglass, Courtbrack, Matehy and Inniscarra; Lace and crochet at Riverstown, Blackrock, Shanbally and Monkstown; woodwork at Ballincollig, and engineering at Ringaskiddy, Courses in trades, preparatory school, and naval architecture took place at Passage West. In the 1909-1910 session and onwards into the 1910s, domestic economy classes had spread to Douglas, Ballinora, Ballincollig, Ballinhassig, Firmount, Stuake, Berrings, Dripsey and Leemount; woodwork at Ballincollig, Waterfall and Ballinhassig; Commercial classes were held at Blarney and Riverstown. Queenstown broke away from the County Technical Education Committee and adopted its own system. In the end the matter of the County Council giving substantial funding toward the Technical Institute for its County students did not happen.
652a. Dressmaking and millinery workshop, Crawford Municipal Technical Institute 1912 (source: Souvenir programme, 1912)