II-77442 | Reverend Woods' Class, Montreal, QC, 1885

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Reverend Woods' Class, Montreal, QC, 1885
Wm. Notman & Son
1885, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

Reverend Wood poses for posterity with students in front of the church standing adjacent to St. John School, circa 1885. Located in Montreal, this private school welcomed young boys aged 10 years and older from mostly well-to-do families (as can be seen in the children's apparel).

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not every child in Quebec went to school. While education was not compulsory at that time, two main, parallel school systems did exist: one Protestant and one Catholic. Several children from Protestant families went to private schools or public schools administered by Protestant school boards. Other children from more affluent families had their own private tutors and did not attend school.

Some children from working-class backgrounds, often of the Catholic faith, went to school at one time or another. In some cases however, attendance was part-time or short-lived. Like children from rural settings, they often had to leave school in order to help out at home and to work. Most of the time, children would quit school at about 10 or 11 years of age.

  • What

    We find a group of students in front of the Protestant Saint John the Evangelist Church, situated at the corner of Saint-Urbain and Ontario Streets in Montreal.

  • Where

    Starting in 1885, St. John School was situated in Montreal at the corner of Ontario and Kimberley Streets, near what is now Place-des-Arts.

  • When

    Despite the fact that Quebec authorities were concerned about compulsory education in Lower Canada as far back as 1885, it would be 1943 before education was made mandatory for children up to 14 years of age.

  • Who

    Reverend Wood founded St. John School in 1861. In 1885, he was the school's principal as well as the minister of Saint John the Evangelist Church.