Merton School To Fall Victim of "Progress", Closed June 1958
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Shown in this record are three of the photographs and the text article from a full page newspaper article entitled, "Merton School To Fall Victim of "Progress"".
The caption on the photograph of the children running out of the schoolhouse, is "School is Out!"
The caption on the photograph of the teacher bending over the student is, "Miss Yorston Gives Advice". The other photo above the text article is of "The School's Prize-Winning Choir".
Memories of Merton School S.S. #15, during the years of 1943 to closing, were of Miss Yorston, a wonderful teacher who travelled from Hamilton each day. She sometimes took the bus and other times was given a lift by truckers whom she had gotten to know over the years. On arrival at school, she would make her breakfast in the little basement kitchen. In winter, once a week she prepared a hot meal of soup, scalloped potatoes and/or macaroni and cheese for those students who stayed at school over lunch.
In these years, a community gentleman named Mr. Fairbrother wrote a play each year for which he directed the school children. His wife made the costumes. This annual production was a highlight of the school year and a lasting memory for those children who participated.
Miss Yorston always took the students into the music festival as singers in the choir, in duets, trios and solos. Some of the students in these years were John (JD) and Jean Patterson, Jeanette Giles, Katerine Merry, Natalie and Betty Mantle, Brenda and Ron Breckon, the Booth siblings of Ralph, Evelyn, Helen and Alice, John and Barry Worthington, Eva Sullivan, Margaret and Mary Atkins, and the Heslop siblings of Anne, Murray and Marilyn. Marilyn (Heslop) Chinnery has provided these memories.
- Unfortunately, the newspaper clipping is not identified and I cannot locate it in any historical newspaper archive. The paper discolouration is now a yellow-brown. The newspaper is thick, of quality.
But, the article can be dated to the end of the school year, June 1958.
Other photographs not reproduced here are "Student Zoe-Anne Secord At Her Favorite Sport" (she is holding a football), "Teacher Throws the Ball To The Girls' Team", "All Quietly Concentrate" (showing students working at their desks), "Girls Can Play Football, Too!" (showing both boys and girls ready to play).
The original, complete newspaper page is filed in the print archives of the Trafalgar Township Historical Society.
- This is the written article from the full page clipping:
"No Permanence Any More" Says Long-Time Resident.
Another landmark of this area is soon to fall the victim of progress. Though the present Merton Public School building is only a replacement for the original building, its demolition to make way for a Department of Highways project at the Queen Elizabeth Way and Second Line will mark the end of an era for the long-time residents of the area.
"Everything seemed, at that time, permanent, but there is no permanence anymore," a long-established inhabitant of the region bemoaned recently.
The old Merton schoolhouse was built by pioneers of the area in 1905 and for years served as a type of community centre. In 1937, the newer school was built on the site and stands today overlooking the speeding traffic on the highway below, almost as the ghost of an older way of life.
The present red brick one-room structure can testify to many changes in the world around it even in its short life span of 21 years. For, if cars are an accurate symbol of the direction of this continent's progress, the schoolhouse has witnessed some of the most marked changes in Canada's civilization.
It was its predecessor that witnessed perhaps the greatest changes, however. The original schoolhouse saw the building of a community in its embryo stages and later its gradual mechanization.
Miss A. T. Yorston is the teacher at Merton School. She has been there a number of years and nobody, perhaps, will feel its passing more. But, with the calm readiness which has marked her training of the area's future leaders, she sums up her emotions with two philosophical words: "It's progress."
Miss Yorston's 28 pupils will be scattered to schools throught their section of Trafalgar Township beginning next September. For on June 27, the last session of classes will be held in the school.
On June 10, the school's "Old Boys" will hold a reunion. The organizers are calling and corresponding with the former youngsters of Merton, who, like the present pupils will do, have scattered and find themselves in many climes and locations, though they never will forget the Little Red School House and well-used bell which helped give them their foundations.
The present structure is a more-modern replica of the pioneer structure and standing on the rise in the land on the north side of the highway, just east of the intersection, it will be missed by some of the more observant of Toronto-Hamilton travellers. It was erected after the former structure had fallen into disrepair and with its construction in 1937, a basement with a coal furnace was installed.
"I've known the time, when there were only five pupils," one early area resident says.
Miss Yorston teaches six grades. Until several years ago, there were eight grades, but this was lessened when the child population grew. All in the one room, they are the objects of the wide scope yet home-like care which have characterized country school teaching.
The present children will be leaving a site of what is becoming a diminishing institution, and some, with a youngster's lure for new surroundings, are looking forward to the adventure of the change to another school. However, some, perhaps more thoughtful or sentimental, will be sorry to leave.
One thing is certain. They all will miss their teacher, though perhaps not until they are older will they miss the way of life for which the school stands.
- Date of Original
- June 1958
- Personal Name(s)
- Miss A.T. Yorston ; Zoe-Anne Secord
- Local identifier
- Trafalgar Township Historical Society
- Language of Item
- Geographic Coverage
Latitude: 43.4116105613063 Longitude: -79.7402641693116
- Copyright Statement
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
- Recommended Citation
- Merton School To Fall Victim of "Progress", Closed June 1958
- Trafalgar Township Historical SocietyEmail
Trafalgar Township Historical Society Sponsor: Jeff Knoll, Local & Regional Councillor for Oakville Ward 5 – Town of Oakville/Regional Municipality of Halton