The MP’s Complaint

The first schoolmaster was Archibald Laing and after his early death in 1853, he was replaced by a 25 year- old George Russell.
Mr. Russell, from the accounts that we have, was successful in the post but his position was terminated in 1857 in circumstances which appear bizarre to us today. Apparently Mr Russell received a letter in the post addressed to F W Russell, MP. Without looking too closely at the name and address on the envelope George Russell opened it and discovered that it was not intended for him. Naturally he reported the matter, and returned the letter to the post office
Unfortunately, Francis William Russell, the MP, far from being grateful that the letter had been retrieved, was affronted that his correspondence had been opened by a lesser mortal and complained to the L&NWR board about his letter being unopened. The board felt that they had no choice but to dismiss their teacher. How the letter came into George Russell’s hands is not explained but it would seem to be the fault of the Post office. F W Russell was MP for Limerick, but he lived in London.
don’t think that this high-handedness had changed much 100 years later. While I was working as an Assistant Manager at the Forte Motorway Restaurant in the 1960s, I witnessed something very similar. An MP (I don’t know who) had experienced poor service one day and complained to Fortes head office, probably to the big cheese himself. Someone was despatched immediately to Newport Pagnell to find out who was on duty that day and the poor man was sacked on the spot. These days he would have been able to claim wrongful dismissal, but not at that time.

For George Russell the story ended happily enough. He was given good references and he quickly found a job in Poplar. However, in consequence of this episode, Wolverton lost two teachers. George Russell and Amelia Miss Prince, the infants teacher, had fallen in love, and the future Mrs. Russell, six years his senior in age, joined him a few months later. They married almost immediately. Later they had one son, and subsequently worked in village schools in Essex and Hampshire.