Heading back to school? If you were in Victoria in 1859, chances are you would have seen a ‘notice’ (advertisements were called notices back then) for a day school run by J. Silversmith:
Select Day School. J. Silversmith, Principal. Corner of Broadway and Yates streets, Victoria. Parents and Guardians are advised that in this Institute, children of both sexes, from the age of five years and upwards are successfully instructed in the elementary branches of an English education – and free from Sectarianism. Private Tuition in the French, German, Spanish and English Languages. Music: Piano, Violin, Guitar and Singing.
As soon as the Fraser River gold rush began, Bishop Demers, who was already running several schools for boys, sent word out to the Sisters of St. Ann to come and teach girls. In June 1858, four sisters arrived from eastern Canada after a lengthy journey by ship via Panama and San Francisco. In December 1859, the Sisters of St. Ann opened a school for ‘young ladies’.
What about the miners? It wasn’t just young people who needed an education. If you were going to strike it rich, you needed to know basic math.
The winter months were a time when a lot of miners returned to Victoria from ‘the diggings’ with gold dust and time on their hands.
Edward Mallandaine saw an opportunity. He was trained as an architect but had caught the gold fever himself and wound up in Victoria like so many others. In December 1859 he started teaching miners at night at J. Silversmith’s select school.
To All Persons Wishing to Profit by the Winter Season, the undersigned, E. Mallandaine, at the above central establishment, offers evening instruction at moderate charges, in Reading, Writing and Ciphering. To more advanced learners, thorough tuition in the English and French Languages, Grammar and Composition, Arithmetic, Geometry, Elementary Algebra, Drawing, and Line Drawing, the principles of Architecture and Design. Apply at the “Select School,” Broad Street to E. Mallandaine.
At first he saw this as a way to make extra money while he furthered his career as an architect but he wound up buying the school from J. Silversmith and it operated for many years.
The school where the Sisters of St. Anne taught was constructed in 1848 by the Hudson’s Bay Company’s expert post-and-sill builder Jacques Laquechier. It was sold and moved several times before Bishop Demers bought it and moved it yet again. This school was later bought by the provincial museum and moved to its present location on the museum grounds.
Ciphering was an old method for solving proportions. It predated algebra. Here is an example via mathforum.org.
To cipher to the rule of three for 3, 9, and 2 is to complete the phrase "3 is to 9 as 2 is to ___," with the answer being the quantity 6.