In brief

WILLIAM STANLEY'S SCHOOL. Published by the author, pound;5.95.

THE STORY OF WILLIAM STANLEY. The Croydon Society, pound;5. Both by Eloise Akpan; order from 28 Hurlstone Road,London SE25 6JD.

Stanley technical boys' high school, in Croydon, was founded in 1907 by William F Stanley, an engineer, instrument maker, and inventor whose story deserves to be better known.

Stanley made his name - and his fortune - in the manufacture of drawing and technical instruments, and his work had a direct and lasting effect on the manufacturing industry in Britain. A century ago, concerned at the lack of practicality in the school curriculum, Stanley founded the trade school that still bears his name.

Eloise Akpan's biography describes a business that was established on pride and craftsmanship. The school history reminds us of the kind of people we rarely find in schools these days: Mr Ward, the meticulous technical drawing teacher whose T-square doubled as an implement of corporal punishment, and Mr West, who left as a pupil in 1915, came back to do 40 years as a teacher, wrote a standard text on woodwork and died in 1996, at the age of 95. It's with mixed feelings that the reader realises that we'll not see their like again.

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