Jul 30, 2009

Curator's Choice: 1930 School Certificate


From our archive comes a blank New Zealand School Certificate from the 1930s. Listed are all of the possible subjects then available to students. Nearly a quarter of them are technology based subjects suited to young males intending to sign articles for a five year industrial apprenticeship, with a further 20% tailored to the requirements of their eventual spouses to be.

Beyond compulsory English, a further six languages, including Mãori, offered graduation opportunities. Among them were Latin and Ancient Greek, and although the former might still be available in rare instances, by the later 1950s not even Christchurch's more exclusive groves of Academe offered Greek as part of their curriculum for a classical education.

Thus it was that a youthfull Mr CH would cycle down to Miller's Department Store in Tuam Street (currently the City Council offices) every Saturday morning, where Leslie Beaumont Miller (1890-1960) made his top floor staff cafeteria available as a classroom for serious lads hoping to learn sufficient Greek as to be able to enjoy Plato in the original.

5 comments:

Sarndra said...

Brilliant! Fantastic piece of ephemera. Kids these days would poop their pants if they had to do half of those LOL!

kuaka said...

Greek and a scoop of yesterday's Shepherd's pie = The Miller's Way to Higher Education.

Canterbury Heritage said...

The current School Certificate is a forgery proof document - such is progress...

Les Miller was a prominent member of the Bretheren and his principle aim in facilitating the learning of Ancient Greek was to encourage the study of the New Testament in the original. But the staff cafeteria was at the back of the building, with a great view over the inner city - an added attraction for a spotty 14 year-old with a camera.

An aside: Les had a son-in-law named John Shoesmith, with whom Mr CH would belt out songs from the stage of the Civic Theatre as part of the Christchurch Male Voice Choir.

kuaka said...

It was indeed a "Higher" education...

car maintenance said...

I have read that I can send them a copy of the certificate the school gave me but cant find it on the nmc website.