REPORT Of Newfoundland Memorial University College, 1925-1926

The formal opening of the College was at a meeting presided over by His Excellency the Governor, with Lady Allardyce and the Prime Minister also among the Speakers. All the students were in attendance, forty-two being enrolled as full-time students for University Courses, six as special students and fifty-three in the Normal School.

Five students were in the second year. Miss N. Wood passed the London Intermediate Examinations in Arts, in English, Latin, French and Chemistry. In the second year Examinations of the College the results were as under:

Four candidates took the Junior Matriculation paper in Latin with a view to supplementing their Junior Matriculation. None failed to reach the pass mark. One gained Honours.

Note: These papers were set and marked by the College of Preceptors, of London.

The Staff were:

For Classics, German, Ancient History:-- J. Lewis Paton, M.A. Cantab., Sometime Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.

Mathematics, Biology:-- A. G. Hatcher, M.A. McGill, N. Molson, Medallist, McGill; Sometime Senior Professor R. Naval College of Canada; also, at the University of Bishops College, Lennoxville.

English, French:-- A. C. Hunter, M.A.Oxon., B.A. Hons. London; Heath Harrison Scholar; Zaharoff Scholar; Doctor of Letters, Paris.

Chemistry, Physics:-- G. F. O'Sullivan, M.Sc., Honours, Dublin, A.I.C.; J. L. Nickerson, B.Sc. Dalhousie, Assistant in Chem. and Physics.

British History:-- S. P. Whiteway, B.Sc., Columbia, Principal of Normal School, St. John's.

Registrar: -- Miss B. McGrath, B.A. Hons., Toronto.

Student Assistants have been appointed for help in the Library, in Chemistry and Physics.

The Science teaching laboured under considerable difficulties. Firstly there was the late arrival of the apparatus. It was ordered on July 7th, but none of it arrived before the beginning of the term and the last to arrive was just before Easter. Secondly, largely due to the above there was the breakdown of Professor O'Sullivan towards the end of November. Temporary arrangements were made till the end of the term. In January we were fortunate in securing Mr. J. L. Nickerson, B.Sc. of Dalhousie.

Further, from the opening in September until Easter we were housing the senior classes of the Methodist College which had been destroyed by fire, some 260 students. It must be recorded also that the Methodist College was extremely helpful to us in lending us scientific apparatus and so enabling us to tide over the difficult interval until our own apparatus arrived.

The equipment which has now been installed is fully adequate for the work of the first two years. Measures are in hand to provide:

      (1) Better accommodation for Balance room.


      (2) Additional fume chambers.


      (3) Separate Laboratory for Physics.


      (4) A workshop with lathe for making new apparatus and repairs.


The Library at the time of opening contained some 2050 volumes. These had been carefully selected, but considerably more than half were selected with a view to the requirements of teacher-training. There were no Latin or Greek classics, very few French books, no German books, and very few books in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

During the year some 1300 new volumes have been added. Many generous contributions of books have been received from friends in the City of St. John's and in the Old Country. The rest have been purchased. A British Encylopaedia was presented to us by Miss Annie Barlow of Greenthorne, near Bolton, Lancs.

The whole library has been catalogued according to Author and Subject, the shelves and each book have been numbered, and the Card Index is accessible to all students.

Student Life.


From the very beginning we have associated the students themselves with the organization of the social life and the games, and with the control of discipline. Four Representatives, two men and two women were elected. These met the Staff regularly each week and brought forward any matter which had arisen in the week touching College management. These discussions were quite frank and always friendly. A form of constitution for the Students' Representative Council has been drafted.

We have had several concerts, and once a week we have fifteen minutes music at the morning opening of the College. Usually, but not always, we ask some friend from outside to play or sing.

The games have been football, both varieties, association in the Autumn, rugby in the Spring,-Harrier runs,-ice hockey, for the men. Basketball, field hockey and ice hockey for the ladies. We have no ground of our own as yet except the small grounds immediately surrounding the College building, which are fairly level, but the vegetation, such as it is, consists of 95% weed to 5% grass. The Ayre Ground, St. George's Field and the Feildian Ground have been very kindly lent to us without charge. For indoor recreation we have had volley ball and basketball.

Self Help.

As no money is forthcoming for the care of the grounds, the students have taken over the matter and have done their bit. We have planted over 150 trees and shrubs; some were given us, the others were taken from the barrens.

Student Activities.

We have a Glee Club and Debating Society. We have no Journal as yet, but every week some student is told off to write College Notes for the Daily News, the morning newspaper of the City. In this way, as well as in Class teaching, we have endeavoured to realise Dean Hawke's description of an educational institution as "an assembled opportunity for self-education."

One obvious need which will be upon us next year is the lack of any Scholarship to assist needy students to a University course. The need is greater in proportion as University education entails greater expense to a Newfoundlander than to a Canadian or American. We have, therefore begun to collect with a view to establishing a Scholarship Fund. The amount collected is $3116. As the men have the Rhodes Scholarship, it is clear that the women should have the first claim upon this fund.


The College has been recognized for all faculties by Dalhousie. Students completing their Second Year course with us will enter Dalhousie with Third Year Status. Toronto grants the same privilege for Arts. McGill recognizes our first year and will consider on its merits the case of any student presenting our Second Year Diploma. The Rhodes trust also recognises the College; two years with us will count as two years at a University.

The Government has allowed the College the use of the Arms of the Colony, recently discovered in the Foreign Office in London. We have adopted as our motto:


The man who "launches forth into the deep" escapes from the smallness and narrowness of life; he thinks in a big way about life. It is on the deep that we feel the need of one another, and of God.

Health has been good. Disciplinary action there has been none, for none has been needed. Staff and students have worked together as an enlarged family with one heart and mind.


Our first provision for extra-mural work was tentative. We offered the following courses:

      1. Lectures on English Literature


      2. Classes for Engineers, comprising:


        (a) Workshop Mathematics


        (b) Machine Drawing


        (c) Building Construction


        (d) English


      3. Classes in Pharmacy


      4. Household Science


But on our-first circular we said that if any group of ten or more desired to have a class in any subject, we would do our best to provide tuition. As a result we added classes in:

      1. Art


      2. French


      3. Economics


      4. Higher Mathematics in two grades.


        (a) Senior Matriculation


        (b) The Calculus


      5. Physics and Chemistry, both of Senior Matriculation




      6. Navigation


      7. A Foremen's class. This was arranged in conjunction with the Longshoremen's Union. The work was largely primary in grade with constant reference to the practical applications incidental to the Docker's work.


A class in Marine Engineering was also offered, but only one pupil applied. We offered Correspondence classes in Navigation and advertised them in outport papers, but without result.

We purposely excluded classes in Shorthand, Typewriting, Book-keeping and Business Methods, because there is already provision made for such classes in the City.

Attendance was on the whole well maintained. Many of the classes came to an end at Easter, but the classes in Engineering, Cookery, Higher Mathematics, and Chemistry and Physics went on till the end of May and in some cases to the end of June. There were no formal examinations but four candidates presented themselves for Chemistry and Physics in the Senior Matriculation and secured three passes, one candidate, (a teacher), took the full Senior Matriculation certificate.

It will be seen that our extramural work was intended to meet a fourfold need.

      1. It supplemented inadequate elementary education. It aimed at supplying the bare minimum of instrumental knowledge without which further progress in any field is not possible.

2. It was continuative, supplying secondary instruction those who by reason of economic pressure and other reasons had missed secondary work at school.

3. It was vocational. As Emerson says, "Every man should make his trade his life-preserver." To the man who doesn't study his occupation it is a life-destroyer. ''

4. It aimed at culture in the sense in which Professor Whitehead defines it as "activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and human feeling such as will lead men as deep as philosophy and as high as art."


Such being our aim we did not content ourselves with the lecture method. A man whose educational activities are confined to listening to lectures may have a certain amount of ill-assorted information, and he may succeed in being a bore, but he has not become a man of culture. So, especially in economics, we encouraged discussion. That manner of teaching is best which gives pupils a chance of seeing how opinions are formed, and so working out reasoned and balanced opinions of their own. In a word, it is maieutic.

Both of these methods have impressed upon us the need of a Public Library in this City. The use of the lecture is to stimulate interest and set it working, but what is the use of stimulating appetite, if there is not the wherewithal for a man to satisfy it? And how can a man work out the conclusions of his own thinking on any line of thought whatsoever under modern conditions, if he has not free access to books?

My own experience is limited to the City of St. John's, but looking farther afield to the life our people are living in the outports, I can see a great field here waiting for just such an opportunity as only a library can adequately meet. I am convinced that a travelling library would find many eager students in the outports of Newfoundland and the Labrador, students who in the long enforced idleness of the winter months would be able to put in that continuous, undisturbed, thoughtful reading which is so rare amid the multifarious distractions of city life. And from the eagerness with which the fishermen seize on such magazines and other printed matter as we send out to the Labrador, I am convinced that if the opportunity were opened up, there would be quite a considerable number ready to avail themselves of it. Even if it were only two or three in each settlement, it would be abundantly worth while. It would raise the standard of intellectual life, and as people began to think in a bigger way about life they would be far readier to co-operate than they are now for improving conditions, economic, hygienic and social.

Further, it would strengthen enormously the demand for universal education, which at present is far too feeble to be effective.

There should be no folding of the hands with educationalists in this country until each Newfoundland child is not only taught to read, but so taught that he has a hunger for wholesome reading, and until in every outport settlement and in every coastwise vessel there is a library which gives him a chance to satisfy that hunger.


The school was held at the Memorial University College from July 7 to August 3rd. As the first four days coincided with the Convention of the Newfoundlander Teachers' Association, our students had the advantage of attending the meetings of the Convention and a large number of teachers attending the Convention also dropped in to our lectures and classes. The N. T. A. placed the sum of $800 at the disposal of the Trustees for the purpose of the summer school. Without this help the summer school could not have been held. Mr. Richards, Secretary N. T. A., very kindly under took the whole matter of providing rooms for students attending the school, and disbursed the journey money.

The number of students was 109, 75 ladies and 34 gentlemen. All of these attended Dr. F. A. Bruton's course in Nature Study and Dr. P. Sandiford's course on the Science of Education. In addition practically all the students attended from three to five of the optional Academic Courses. These were as follows:

English:-Professor A. C. Hunter, D es L., assisted by Miss R. Carmichael, M.A., Mr. V. S. Horsley, M.A.

Mathematics:-Prof. A. G. -Hatcher, Assisted by Mr. J. C. Hogg, M.A., Mr. A. Chatwood, M.A., Mr. G. House, Mr. Harry Conroy.

French:-Prof. A. C. Hunter, assisted by Mrs. Hunter, M.A., Miss. A. Gould, B.A., Mr. Leo English.

Latin:-The President, assisted by Miss Helena McGrath.

Art and Craft:-Miss Maud Gould, B.A.

Music:-Mr. R. T. Bevan, L.R.A.M., A.R.C.O.

Chemistry & Physics:-Mr. J. L. Nickerson, B.Sc.

Girl Guides:-Mrs. Ambrose Gosling assisted by Miss McGrath.

Scouts:-Mr. J. C. Hogg, M.C., M.A. This class failed to secure a quorum.

The Nature Study class was attended by a large number of outsiders. Dr. Bruton dealt with seaweeds, flowering plants, trees, ferns, mosses, lichens, pond life birds, spiders, insects, moon and stars.

At every lecture there was practical work and many of the students rendered valuable assistance as demonstrators. Many other friends assisted him both in his collection of specimens and as section leaders in the field work, among them Mrs P. Knowling, Miss V. Macpherson, Mrs. Nichol, Miss Southcott and Miss Paton.

With the assistance of Professor Sleggs two class rooms were fitted up with specimens and charts. In these rooms students could study at their leisure the objects with which Dr. Bruton dealt in his lectures. Dr. Bruton took quite incredible pains in answering all manner of inquiries and identifying specimens which were brought to him. Two microscopes were in constant use. Dr Bruton also brought with him an abundant supply of excellent lantern slides and charts and he presented us with two records of the nightingale's song. On leaving he gave 100 dollars to help two students to attend Summer School in 1927.

We have to acknowledge with grateful appreciation the services, rendered without any monetary remuneration, of our two distinguished visitors, Dr. Sandiford and Dr. Bruton. Their teaching has been seminal; its effects will be felt in the schools throughout the length and breadth of the Colony.

Miss M. G. Worrall worked most assiduously as Secretary and was as efficient as she was popular.

Fourteen of Mrs. Gosling's class passed their test as Girl Guides and were formally enrolled by Lady Allardyce at Government House.

The Summer school for Sunday School teachers which was held in the Methodist College under the Rev. Oliver Jackson, B.D. of Freshwater, attended the lectures in Nature Study and Science of Education. They also joined in our Nature rambles and sports.

The Prime Minister Mr. Monroe very kindly entertained the whole school to lunch at the Newfoundland Hotel on July 13th, and the Superintendents did the same on July 31st.

Other notable events were two garden parties, one at Dunluce by the kind invitation of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. W. McNeily, and the other at Westerland, where Miss V. Macpherson and Mr. H. Macpherson were our hosts.

Commissioner Stuart kindly arranged a visit by motor cars kindly lent for the purpose to the scout camp at camp Tasker.

Special lectures open to the public were:


  • "Scouting," by Sir Alfred Pickford, Overseas Commissioner for Scouts.
  • "The League of Nations and the School," by Rev Oliver Jackson.
  • "Folk Song," a lecture recital, by R. T. Bevan, assisted by Miss Elsie Herder and Mr. H. B. Wardell.
  • "The Pioneers of Education in Newfoundland," by Principal Whiteway.
  • "The Teaching of Art," by Dr. A. C. Hunter.
  • "Rocks and Minerals of Newfoundland," by D. J. Davies, B.Sc.
  • "English Reading in Schools," by Dr. W. W. Blackall. This lecture, by the request of the teachers present, is to be printed and circulated to all the teachers of the Island.
  • During the whole week, July 26th to 31st, the College held open house. Visitors were met at the door by stewards and taken round the building and shown the work that was going on. The chief objects of.interest were:

        1. The pictures on the walls: (a) large coloured posters designed by English R.A's for the railways (varying in price from 42 to 72 cents); (b) German lithographs, painted specially for schools; (c) French illustrations; (d) the portrait gallery of the Pioneers of Education in the colony. The object of this collection was to show how any school could be made beautiful at the cost of a few dollars.

    2 . The Art and Craft work. This was a collection of school children's work illustrating the whole course of art teaching from the earliest effort in the kindergarten stage to the application of design in leather repousee, gesso work, wood carving, block printing, stencil work on velvet and sateens, raffle work. The collections were supplied by the Cambridge County school and Convent school and Manchester Grammar School. The object was to acquaint teachers with the newer methods of art teaching in the Old Country.

    3. Nature Study and Biology: Dr. Bruton's collection, the Waghorne collection of Newfoundland flowers, fish and birds of Newfoundland, Examination of Thalasso-plancton and Algae under the microscope.

    4. Demonstration of x rays and radiation in vacuo.

    5. The library. (a) Autograph letters of Lord Pembroke and Governor Mudie re John Collins, 1711 and 1712 A.D.; (b) Missalsi of middle ages with plainsong.


    The above letters and missals are the gift of Sir Alfred V. Paton to the college.

    The "at home" attracted over 100 visitors daily and did not a little to make the people of St. John's regard the Memorial College as their own. We trust that the summer school has done much to bring the teachers of Newfoundland into touch with the new college. After all it is on the work done by the teachers that the college depends; the schools so to speak are the roots from which the college draws its vital strength. It is only right that the teachers should be able to look to it as a place to which they can without hesitation apply in case of difficulty. The personal contact of the summer school, the common games, the social life, the music, have all helped to make the teachers feel their membership one of another and strengthen the bonds which bind us together in one profession. The divisive forces in our island are many and the huge distances keep us apart. The summer school at any rate makes for a feeling of oneness.

    We are indebted to the following ladies and gentlemen for sundry gifts:

    1. For Books-


  • Mrs. J. A. Meeson, Manchester;
  • The Misses Stuart, Rothley, Leicester;
  • Miss Annie Barlow, Edgworth, Bolton;
  • Mrs. H. B. Cotterill, Vevey, Sutzerland;
  • Dr. W. W. Blackall,
  • Mr. A. Wilson,
  • Principal R. R. Wood,
  • Rev. Chas. H. Johnson,
  • Messrs. Dicks,
  • Mrs. Slater,
  • Mrs. J. B. Baird, Jr., Mr. W. R. Dove,
  • Rev. Dr. Geo. J. Bond,
  • Mr. R. G. Reid,
  • the late Mr. P. K. McLeod,
  • Mrs. Beney, London;
  • Mr. F. W. Felkin and Mr. W. F. Witton (also for music), London;
  • The Right Rev. Bishop Knox, London;
  • Mrs. T. P. Figgis, London;
  • Miss P. M. Ker, Strathblane;
  • Mrs. Mary Higgs, Oldham;
  • Anon, per Dr. A. C. Hunter;
  • Royal Colonial Institute, London;
  • Rylands Library, Manchester;
  • Mr. J. H. Wharmby, Hodder & Stroughton.
  • 2. For Maps-


  • Mrs. Harold Ayre.
  • 3. For Autograph Letters, Old Missal, Historical Books, Photographs and Times Atlas-


  • Sir Alfred V. Paton.
  • 4. For Minerals and Geological Specimens-


  • The late Mr. G. Turner,
  • Rev. Chas H. Johnson,
  • Mr. Jas. Crawford.
  • 5. For Assistance with Games-


  • United Church College,Bp. Spencer College,
  • R. Catholic Cadets,
  • St. George's Ground,
  • the Rink.


  • 6. For Advice and Assistance in connection with Traveling Library-


  • Mr. R. Thompson,
  • Mr. R. H. Richards.


  • 7. For Coat of Arms, painted by herself-

     Miss Kathleen D. O'Kelly.

(Signed) J. L. PATON.


History of Memorial University

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000