Mr A Gardham
"... whatever greater things come to pass, it will be seen that the Technical Institute has been built on foundations which he so well and truly laid."
Arthur Gardham was born in 1881 in Hull. From 1902 to 1906 he was a teacher at a Hull elementary school. He was appointed assistant headmaster at Growen Street School, Hull, where he stayed for two years, teaching principally mathematics and geography.
In 1908 he became principle of the Hull Evening Technical School and at the same time took his BSc degree. In 1909 he married Ethal - they remained married until his death and they had a son (Marcus) and a daughter (Thelma.)
In 1913 Arthur Gardham was appointed as 'Organising Master and Secretary' of the Technical Schools, replacing Hamilton Haddow.On June 8th 1915 his salary was increased from £180 to £200 per annum and he asked the High Wycombe Education Committee as to what his position would be if he enlisted. The Committee replied that he would continue on full salary, less his army pay as a private and if he obtained a commission the same would apply. In April 1916 he enlisted in the Royal Engineers. Stamps, the Headmaster of the Art School, would "...be discharging the responsible duties of secretary" until Gardham returned.
On May 27th 1917 he had been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and in August of the same year he was wounded in a gas attack (landing up in hospital). At first his eyesight was affected by the gas but this recovered. In April 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross "for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty." The official record reads as follows: "On several occasions when the Battery was being heavily shelled, this officer rallied the gun detachments and also took duty on the guns. By his coolness and devotion to duty the guns were kept in action at a critical time." The Bucks Free Press in April continued to say, "It is interesting to recall that Mr Gardham's younger brother, Sergt. J. H. Gardham, late of the 150th Machine Gun Company, won the DCM on the same battlefield about 18 months ago, but unfortunately he made the supreme sacrifice." The citation for his DCM says, "Although severely wounded he re-organised his teams, and finally established both his machine guns at their finally objective, displaying great courage and initiative." He would have been taking part in the Battle of Transloy Ridges, one of the last parts of the Battle of the Somme. He died on 4th October 1916 The 150th Machine Gun Company John Henry Gardham is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe.
In January 1919 he returned from military service having been made a captain and at once resumed his position and received a salary increase from £200 to £300. In 1920 he became the first Principal of the Junior Day Technical School. He was remembered by old boys as a determined character who liked to get his own way. As a result of his wartime injuries he always carried a walking stick. He would hold a daily roll call on the Fives Court when he inspected hair, shoes, general tidiness.
In April 1923 he relinquished his rooms in the Easton Street building that he was using as his residence and moved to a large house called 'Wilberforce' in Lucas Road (named by Gardham after the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade who was also from Hull.) Although the majority of his time was taken up with the Institute he was interested in Freemasonry and was a Past Worshipful Master of the Eton Lodge. He was also a Rotarian and a member of the High Wycombe Yorkshire Society.
He died, aged 51, in the morning on Saturday 17th January 1931. He had been in ill health, though he had carried on his duties at the Institute until a week before his death. His obituary in the Bucks Free Press states "In many ways, Mr Gardham was an extraordinary man. His zeal in his work put him above the average. He was very determined in all maters pertaining to the school ... always he kept before him the ultimate good and improvement of his Institute. The Mayor of High Wycombe said that "... whatever greater things come to pass, it will be seen that the Technical Institute has been built on foundations which he so well and truly laid." One of the boys on hearing of the death had said, "Oh dear, we shall never get a better master."
The School's motto, Quit Ye Like Men, was adopted during Gardham's time in charge. There is a story handed down from staff at the time that one weekend shortly after the Technical School had opened Mr Gardham told them to go home and think of a suitable motto for the school. On their return on the following Monday, however, he did not ask for their views, but simply announced that he had already selected a motto, 'Quit Ye Like Men', which is an adaptation of 1 Corinthians 16 v13 (Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong - King James Bible.)
In March 2014 we were visited by two of Arthur's grandchildren who were able to give us some further on information: "Marcus Maxwell Gardham, Arthur's son, who was known to all as Max, also led a distinguished life reaching the rank of Air Vice Marshal in the RAF (being awarded a CB and CBE) before working for some years at Ashridge Management college, so continuing his father's lead in serving education. Max died in 1991."