Robert Martin (1796-1870)
Robert Martin was a Schoolmaster, with his wife Sarah as Schoolmistress, at the National School in Beeston, probably taking over from Robert and Jane Walsh when
they left in 1835.
Robert was born in Temple Normanton in 1796, the son of Robert Martin, a farmer, and Dorothy (née Poynton), who had ensured that the
young Robert had a good education in Sheffield (Click here to see a letter written to him there, by his parents).
Earlier generations of the Poynton family were from the Rotherham/Sheffield area and have been
well documented here.
Sarah (née Marriott) was from Car Colston where she was born in 1793, and where she retained a connection throughout her life. By the time of their arrival in Beeston,
Robert would have been an experienced teacher and he appears to have established himself well at the school. By 1841 they were living at the school on Brown Lane but by 1851 had moved
to the Turnpike (now High Road/Chilwell Road). Later, after leaving his position at the school, he found work as an agent for an assurance company and moved to New Buildings, then just off
Market Street (now Middle Street), close to the Manor House. Sarah died in 1868 and is buried at Car Colston, followed by Robert who died in January 1870 in Beeston.
(Robert and Sarah are shown in their later years, first left.)
Robert and Sarah married in Car Colston in December 1818 and were to have four children. Their three daughters, Hannah, Sarah and Margaret Jane, were born in Middlesex,
between 1822 and 1826, presumably during a time when Robert had found work in that area. The two oldest daughters moved to Beeston with their parents and lived out their lives
in the area while Margaret Jane appears to have stayed in Middlesex, married Charles James Shore, a local man, and remained in that area.
William Martin, their son was born in Car Colston, Nottinghamshire in 1819 and remained there all his life. It was there that he trained as a bricklayer, apprenticed to his uncle,
John Marriott - Sarah's brother who was married to Dorothy (née Martin), Robert's sister. As well as working as a bricklayer, William also farmed locally and served eventually
as a member of the School Board there. There too, he married Jane Euerby in December 1845 (They are shown, second left) and it is in Car Colston where they raised their family
of seven children. In April 1875 William inherited The Stone Cottage in Car Colson, from John & Dorothy who had no children of their own, but sadly, in only the following month,
his wife Jane died at the relatively early age of 58. Three years later, William married Emma James and together they had one son. William died in 1890.
Photographs of the cottages and family memorials in Car Colston may be seen
More photographs of William Martin and his family may be seen
It is William's line that was to produce what was perhaps Robert and Sarah's greatest legacy :
Albert Euerby Martin was William & Jane's fifth child, born in 1855 - in Car Colston, as were all their children - he was, it seems, nurtured in his love of learning and
music in his childhood home - his youngest brother was even named 'Handel' and two very old pianos and William's collection of string musical instuments are still cherished within the
family. His formal education was completed at Castle Hill Academy in Mere, Wiltshire where, after graduation, he was offered a job as a teacher there. But, by 1880 he had obtained a
position as schoolmaster in Welshpool, Montgomeryshire (now part of Powys), Wales which enabled him to be marry, in 1881, Priscilla Annie Williams from Bruton, Somerset and they set up
home at 14 High Street, Welshpool next door to the Wesleyan Minister and next door but one to the Wesleyan Chapel - so it is likely that his appointment was to a Wesleyan sponsored school.
In 1881, their son, Irving Leslie Martin was born in Welshpool but who sadly died just three days later. Four daughters were born later while they were at Welshpool. In 1882, in a move that was
typical of his later approach to the development of education, he opened the 'Commercial Academy' in Welshpool.
While not specifically mentioning the Welshpool school, an idea of everyday life in schools in the area, at that time. may be glimpsed
In 1888, however, Albert made the apparently startling decision to leave Welshpool and to set off for Argentina. For the moment that meant travelling alone, leaving his wife and daughters
until - and if - he became established. It was, of course, a life-changing decision and, ultimately it would change the lives of many people in Argentina.
His arrival in a strange land, with little grasp of the language and only tenuous contacts must have been a frightening experience and, it seems there were days of despair
before he made some progress. His diary for these early days can be seen here. It
tells of the early disappointments and the eventual breakthroughs - small at first, using his musical skills to teach local children and, through contacts made during faithful attendance at
the English speaking churches, eventually making tentative steps to establish an English school.
In fact, it was on December 10th, 1888, less than three months after his arrival in Argentina, that he opened his first such school, in the town of Cañada de Gómez, in the Province of Santa
Fe, but it was to be the start of a long life of supporting and promoting English-speaking schools, musical academies and education in general, in Argentina .
In March 1889, his wife and their four daughters were able to join him and two years later they moved to Barracas, Buenos Aires, to open an English school there. In 1894 they moved again, this time to
Quilmes where they opened another English School. Finally, they settled in Bahía Blanca where Albert opened the English Academy in 1898. A further daughter and two sons were born to Albert and Priscilla
Annie, after their arrival in Argentina.
In 1905 he was invited to head the English Department of the Bahía Blanca National High School of Commerce, an office he held until his retirement in 1936. He became known affectionately as the
'Mr Chips' of Bahía Blanca and, as a more formal tribute to his work, he was made Professor Emeritus in 1935. His status and the recognition of his commitment to the local community generally was
demonstrated in 1928 when he was invited to be one of the few Honorary Members of the British Committee for the Centennial celebrations of Bahía Blanca. He was also active in the promotion and
growth of the Methodist Church in Bahía Blanca. (Albert and Priscilla Annie are shown, third left)
It was in 1905 too that Albert met up again with his youngest brother, Handel Tongue Martin (1861-1930) who had emigrated to the United States of America in 1886, and was married to Jennie Mary Caswell,
of Welshpool (a concert singer), and had become a world-known paleontologist and anthropologist and Curator of the Kansas University Natural History Museum. His visit with his brother was at the start of
a one-year journey to Patagonia, in the south of Argentina and Chile, heading a scientific mission in search of fossils. His findings from the expeditions and others gathered over many years, during many
expeditions and excavations are now part of the Kansas Natural History Museum collections.
After Albert's death in November 1944 in Bahía Blanca, a large number of his books were given to the Biblioteca Rivadavia, the Bahía Blanca Public Library, one of the most respected in
Argentina - an appropriate memorial to a man who had done so much for education in that community.