Ref NoBFSS/1/5/1/8/19
Alt Ref NoBFSS/FC/McSwiney
TitleCorrespondence of John McSwiney
DescriptionJohn McSwiney attended the Borough Road School as a child, and after serving as a monitor he entered Borough Road College in 1824. He was first the school master at the British School in Derby, where he earned a high reputation. He also spent time at Hitchin British School as a "troubleshooter" to bring it back in line with the British system. His first overseas posting was to establish a model school in the Bahamas, for which the BFSS had been asked to provide a teacher by the colonial administration. He went first to Nassau with his family. In 1839 he left the Bahamas to conduct the normal school set up by the Mico Charity at Georgetown, Demerara, in British Guiana (a recently acquired colony with a large slave population), and also to carry out a general superintendence of the affairs of the charity throughout the province. In 1840 the Mico training institution was abruptly closed and McSwiney was set to Jamaica to temporarily replace Edwin Wallbridge in charge of the Kingston normal school. The euphoria of the early years after emancipation was followed, in the 1840s, by an atmosphere of disillusion, one of the main causes of which was lack of money. The ten year government grant towards negro education was cut in 1845. The Mico charity was forced to close the training institutions in British Guiana and Trinidad. McSwiney, who had been sent to Trinidad as a Mico charity inspector upon leaving Jamaica, suddenly found himself without a job, and for a short period was editor of a Trinidad newspaper. He later returned to Guiana as a government inspector of schools and a member of a board of commissioners set up by the governor to devise a system of maintained schools on secular and compulsory lines.
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