War Memorial Library


Members will recall that in the 1952 Year Book it as announced that the Old Esthameians' Society had commissioned Shaw & Sons, Ltd., to produce a Memorial Roll containing the names of the sixty-two Old Scholars of the two Grammar Schools known to have lost their lives during the recent war.

On the afternoon of Sunday, 13th September, 1953, before a congregation including relatives and friends of those who died, a Service was held in the hall of the Boys' Grammar School at Langdon Crescent to dedicate this Memorial Roll, a gift from the Fund opened by the Society in 1947.

The Service was conducted by one of the Society's Patrons, the Reverend Henry B. Curtis, Hon. C.F., who had made the journey from his parish near Hereford - of which he is Rural Dean - especially for the occasion. He was assisted in his office by an Old Boy, the Reverend G. E. Porter, A.K.C., Rector of Ingrave, near Brentwood, and by the Reverend W. Harding-Jones, B.A., Minister of the Trinity Presbyterian Church, East Ham.

Heading the distinguished visitors to the ceremony were the Worshipful, the Mayor of East Ham, Alderman L. A. V. Bennett, J.P., and the Mayoress and the Deputy-Mayor, Cllr. F. W. French, and the Deputy-Mayoress. Together with other members of the Council, including representatives of the Governing Bodies of the Grammar Schools they were greeted on arrival by the President of the Society, Dr. J. L. Whiteley, M.A., Ph,D, and Mrs. Whiteley. Also present on the platform were Officers of the Society and members of Dr. Whiteley's Staff.

After the procession to the platform, to the accompaniment of Elgar's "Enigma Variations'' played by an Old Boy, Mr. K. Lawrence, G.R.S.M., A.R.C.O., A.R.C.M., the Service opened with the hymn "Once to Every Man and Nation." The Lesson was then read by a VIth Form holy, R. Waters, after which the choir of the Boys' School sang the Anthem, "0 Lord of Life, Whose Power Sustains."

Prayers, read by the Reverend Porter, and the hymn, "0 God, Our Help in Ages Past," were followed by the solemn act of Dedication, and a short Address by the Reverend Curtis.

The Service concluded with the hymn, "0 Valiant Hearts, who to Your Glory Came", the final prayers, read by the Reverend Harding-Jones, and the Blessing. After this the congregation sang the National Anthem, and then filed slowly past the Book of Remembrance in its handsome oak case - the work of Mr. W. K. Handley, Handicraft Master of the Boys' School.

Those present were later able to visit the School Library - known as the "Memorial Library" - which contains the bookcase and books, also presented from the Society's Memorial Fund. The plaque from the former Boys' Grammar School, commemorating Old Scholars killed in the First World War, is now installed in this room, and it is here that the Book of Remembrance in its case is placed. All the volumes purchased from the Fund, together with others generously donated by Dr. Whiteley, bear a specially designed bookplate in black and white recording the origin of their presentation and incorporating the Society's crest.

There are two other sections in this Library - the first being a Departmental Library maintained by the various academic departments of the School, and the second, the Andrews Memorial Library. This latter section was subscribed for by the local branch of the N.U.T. in memory of the last Headmaster, Mr. E. T. Andrews, B.A.; and as he was formerly Senior English Master at the School it is fitting that it consists of books of English Literature with a bias towards Modern Literature and Criticism.

A full-size framed photograph of the Memorial Roll, with an inscription indicating the location of the original, will shortly be hung in the entrance vestibule of the Club House.