The First Specialist Teacher

It was not until the 1790s that the trustees decided to take on the first specialist teacher – an organist was appointed to teach the children to sing and to play at Founder’s Day.


We know that the head master and head mistress had always been expected to lead singing. A manuscript book started in the 1780s records some of the specially-written hymns the children sang at Founder’s Day. A typical excerpt runs

“For he shall set the needy free

When they to him for succour cry

Shall save the helpless and the poor

And all their needful wants supply

May we in gratitude abound

To all our friends below

And they with ev’ry bliss be crown’d

They mercy can bestow”


The themes of gratitude and obedience are uppermost in every hymn. The Cass trustees were not unusual at this time in expecting constant thanks and deference – they also wished to ensure that the children did them and the Foundation credit on the public occasion of Founder’s Day, and good music was one of the ways of ensuring this. So the children got their music teacher.