Who was George White?

Have you ever wondered why our school is called George White Junior School?

  • George White is pictured below
  • George White was born in 1840
  • George White died on the 11th May 1912. He was aged 72 when he died. He died in his home at Eaton Grange in Unthank Road, Norwich, due to a growth in his mediastinum and a secondary growth in his sternum
  • He is buried in Rosary cemetery in Norwich.
  • He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for North West Norfolk from 1900 until his death in 1912
  • In the mid-19th century John Howlett and George White joined forces to create shoemaker Howlett and White, which built and occupied one of the city’s biggest shoe factories, on St George’s Plain.
  • George White lived in Bourne and came from a small boot manufacturer background.
  • George went to Bourne Grammar School. He was determined to continue his education, enrolling for voluntary classes run on a pro bono basis by a local lawyer on mathematics and languages. These were offered at 6am so the boys could be at work by 8am
  • In 1856, George moved to Norwich to start work. For an initial wage of eight shillings per week, George started working on the factory floor and then in the office as a junior clerk.
  • George worked very hard, working his way up and eventually joining a business partnership with Howlett. Their business was called – Howlett & White.
  • At one time the Howlett & White factory (later Norvic Shoes) was reputed to be the largest single building shoe factory in the country.
  • He set an example by his own behaviour, arriving early, leaving late, and having his lunch brought to him at his desk. There is little doubt that he was greatly respected by the workforce – he understood their situation having started on the factory floor himself. It would also be true to say that he genuinely cared for their wellbeing.
  • Education remained his primary interest throughout his life. At 16 he had been taking Sunday School lessons, and later he founded a new adult club at St Mary’s to provide instruction in sums and spelling to working men. His commitment to education is remembered today with our school being named after him.