[This article is based on material sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Jan 2018.]
Caleb Bass Camburn was the headmaster of two Hungerford schools, and the founder of an important local educational charity.
- Caleb Camburn, 1910.
- "School Girls, Hungerford - Hocktide Festivities. Mr Camburn, Master" 1902. (at the Wesleyan School in Church Street). [Sir J Benjamin Stone]
Caleb Camburn's early life:
He was born in 1859 in Eltham, Kent (today a suburb of south London) but by the time of the census of 1861, the Camburn family were living in Folkestone. His father was George Alfred Camburn, a master butcher, and his mother was Amy Bass. Caleb’s brothers and sisters were: George H b.1845; Amy b.1847; Alfred b.1851; Martin b. 1853; and Florence b. 1855.
In 1871 Caleb was living with his brother-in-law James Yeams who had married his sister Amy. James Yeams was a Wesleyan minister in Bermondsey, South London.
Caleb seems to have gained his teaching qualifications while studying in Peckham.
By 1881 Caleb was a certified teacher, and was living with his brother George, a Wesleyan minister, and his sister-in-law Hannah in Headingly, Yorkshire.
Caleb Camburn appointed headmaster of the Wesleyan School, Church Street:
Five years later, in February 1883, Caleb Camburn was appointed headmaster at the Wesleyan School in Church Street. The 1903 edition of Kelly’s Directory described the Wesleyan School as a mixed and infants school. The school could accommodate 150 pupils.
In 1891, Caleb Camburn was living in lodgings in Church Street but 10 years later in 1901, he was lodging at the Speen End of Oxford Street, in Newbury. He was aged 43.
Caleb Camburn appointed first headmaster of the All Age Council School, Fairview Road:
When the new All-Age Council School opened In September 1910, he was appointed the first headmaster, and he remained there until his retirement in
During the early part of his headship, he devised the school motto “No Quest, No Conquest “. Metalwork was one of his teaching specialities and he made the school’s original weathervane. On a Methodist website his “CV” indicates that studied mechanics and design.
In the 1911 census he is recorded as renting a two room apartment at 9 Charnham Street which had recently been converted into a number of flats.
So Caleb Camburn remained single and devoted his entire life to being a teacher.
Interviews with local people such as Sonner North and Gert Barnes, indicate that he was a strict discipline and would not spare the rod when it was required.
In 1920 Caleb Camburn was awarded an MBE for his services, not as a teacher, but as Honorary Secretary to The Hungerford War Savings Committee.
Caleb Camburn's retirement:
During his retirement, he sailed in 1926 on the SS Minnekahda from London to New York. The inference being that he probably had relations there. His immigration papers reveal that he was retired, his home is in Hungerford and his next of kin is his brother George who holds a ministry in Mannigham (in Bradford).
In addition, during his retirement he contributed to the book “The Story of Hungerford” written by the Rev W.H.Summers, by writing the final chapter.
Caleb Camburn died on 13th August 1943 at 48 Pevensey Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea aged 86.
The Camburn Educational Trust:
In his will, he left around £1,400, (worth perhaps £60,000 in 2018). One of the beneficiaries of his will was George Albert Pocock, a H.M. Inspector of the Board of Education so maybe some of the money was used to set up a trust in his memory. The Camburn Education Trust for Hungerford was formed in 1946.
In 1980, The Camburn Educational Trust for Hungerford and the Hungerford Educational Foundation (which was originally set up from a bequest of J.H.Wooldridge ) was formed and this joint trust is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commission.
This charity is governed by a Board of Trustees. Over the years, this trust has helped many young people to improve their prospects, in further education, approved apprenticeships, or other self-improvement, by offering financial help. Candidates applying for financial help must be under 25 years, and have lived in Hungerford for more than three years.