John Passmore Edwards


Helston Science & Art Schools



The Science & Art Schools, Helston The schools, built on a commanding site, were publicly opened by Passmore Edwards in may 1899. The Mayor- Mr. E A Pengilly- members of the Corporation, mayors from Cornish towns, freemasons and members of Friendly Societies, ministers of religion, magistrates and others joined in a procession from the Town Hall to the new Science and Art Schools, in honor of the event. After the formal function of opening the institution, and at a luncheon which followed, presided over by the Mayor,
Mr. R G Rows, JP, moved the following resolution:- "That this meeting expresses it high appreciation of the generous assistance which Mr. Passmore Edwards has given to science and art teaching in the county of Cornwall, and rejoices that Helston has been included in the list of places receiving his benefactions. It assures him that the Science and Art Schools which he has erected in this borough is already serving an important purpose to its inhabitants and promises to be of great and permanent value."
He, Mr. Rows, was glad to tell them that the building was erected on a freehold site which had been generously conveyed to the Corporation in trust for technical education purposes. In many parts of Cornwall, the institutions erected by Mr. Edwards were sources of sweetness and light to the people of their respective neighborhoods. The Hospital and the home illustrated his care for the bodies of the people, whilst the Free Library and the the technical Institution demonstrated his care for their minds. Whenever he had planted technical schools, his laudable acts had been followed by a quickened interest in the subjects taught.
Canon Tyact, in seconding the vote, said that the institutions Mr. Edwards had founded would ever keep his memory green in Cornwall.
Mr. Passmore Edwards said that he was pleased that he had responded to the wishes of the people of Helston by erecting in the town Science and Art Schools, because the building in the broadest sense was public property. It was somewhat remarkable that Liskeard was the only town in Cornwall, and as far as he knew, in the kingdom, that had accepted and adopted and taken under its control a hospital as municipal property, and now the Corporation of Helston had followed suit by accepting and adopting Science and Art Schools, and thereby contracted an obligation to maintain them for the public advantage. By so doing, Liskeard and Helston had presented illustrations of civic wisdom and courage. If corporate authorities in all parts of the country used the powers they possess, by owning and controlling gas and water works, tramways, public libraries, schools for primary and technical instruction, and for providing improved dwellings for workers, local patriotism would be developed and strengthened and the general community benefited. It was a healthy sign of the times to see Helston, with its four thousand population, so far away from the great centres of political and industrial activity and the great towns which were supposed to particularly throb with national life, exhibit so much civic interest in technical education and so cheerfully fall in with the trend of the times, a fact for which they had particularly to thank their eloquent and eminent fellow-townsman, Mr. R G Rows.
From "Passmore Institutions, Founding and Opening Ceremonies, by J J McDonald, 1900".
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Acknowledgement of contributions and  copyright
© Dean Evans 2004
February 5, 2008
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