The following is from 'Scarborough' - a National Union of Teachers Conference Souvenir. 1935. Edited by F Drake
THE GRAHAM SCHOOL SEA TRAINING SCHOOL BY F FEATHER.
The school was established in 1917 as an elementary school equipped for vocational training. At the time, owing to the war, there was a serious shortage of British merchant seamen and our vessels were largely manned by foreigners. In order that this condition might not become permanent it was an urgent matter to train boys for the sea, and the town of Scarborough took action to help by founding this school.
The premises, which were presented to the town by C.C. Graham, Esq, O.B.E., J.P. (Mayor of Scarborough, 1913-1919), consist of East Mount House with its grounds, coach houses, and stables. East Mount commands an excellent view of the harbour and the South Bay, and one can imagine the gentleman who resided here in former days lookings down at his brigs and barques at the quays, and at the vessels taking shape in the building berths fronting the harbour.
With the disappearance of the shipyards and the Scarborough owned sailing ships, seafaring opportunities ceased to occur on the spot, but the Sea Training School has revived the touch with shipping so that there is continuity of Old Boys, many now responsible officers, in ships on every sea. It would be a very narrow line, however, for a local school to prepare boys only for apprenticeship in the Merchant Service, and it is condsidered that the school gives valuable training to many boys who will naturally follow their fathers' occupation in the fishing industry, which still flourishes at the port, though the number engaged in it is not so great as formerly.
Boys are admitted to the school at the age of eleven and are all expected to remain to the age of fifteen. Those who so desire and who appear promising may continue to the age of sixteen, preparatory to apprenticeship.
The number on roll at the beginning of a year is about eighty, and the permanent staff consists of two special subject teachers - a master mariner and instructor in metal work and engineering.
For practical seamanship work the school possesses two boats of the Montagu whaler type, the best compromise design for either pulling or sailing. A large part of the seaman's craft, however, is directed towards rigging, unrigging, and maintainance work upon the sails of the training schooner Maisie Graham.
This vessel of 100 tons, originally in the Bremen pilot service, was taken over by the school in 1925. Every summer she is employed for a period of six weeks in training cruises with a crew substantially of boys, and she is now well known at many British and Continental ports. During recent years the word 'cruise' has come to suggest sea going in luxury, but to the boys who go in the Maisie Graham it means an opportunity of breaking themselves to sea routine as active members of a crew. Physical luxury is lacking, but it must be mental luxury to a boy to travel probably a thousand miles and to visit strange ports partly by his own physical efforts.
The school workshop possesses equipment for handicraft, but additional to this there are forges and power-driven machines sufficient for introductory training in engineering processes with metals.
The Admiralty recognizes the school as a sea cadet corps, and an inspection is made annually by the admiral commanding reserves for review of such subjects as seamanship, signalling, and physical training. The wearing of the standard cadet uniform has the effect of helping in matters of discipline and neatness.
In these days when the regulations for public education permit the use of many forms of practical work as media for character training , the existence of an elementary school with strong prtactical bias is not unusual; but when one remembers the prevailing attitude of twenty years ago, one feels that the founders of this school were far sighted. From the modern point of view the practical work need not be regarded as an exploitation of the sea for educational and cultural purposes.