A History of YALDING, Kent, England

During his headmastership, William Galpin had occasionally to leave the school in the hands of his pupil teachers because of ill health. His condition gradually deteriorated, till he was compelled to ask for an extensive leave of absence of at least eighteen months. William chose to take a trip to Canada, so it was decided to give him a presentation, and the response portrayed the warm appreciation of a village towards a man who had made himself one of them. He had descended upon this typically close-knit community, and had made friends with every generation of local life. The presentation was made to William on Friday, February 25th, 1898, by Mrs. Borton, consisting of an illuminated address and a travelling belt containing £ 23 10s. He had already received a gift from the allotment holders, a "housewife" from the school girls, and a Kodak No 4 camera plus an address book from his own boys.


Although he intended to return when he had regained his health, he remained in Canada, from where he wrote telling of his experiences in the gold rush area of Lake Bennett, British Columbia.

“The light is sufficient to read by, although it is within half-an-hour of midnight; flowers of many different species are blooming; grass is nearly two feet high and the weather is too warm even for village cricket, but in the cold season the extremities of the human anatomy have to withstand up to 92 degrees of frost.   A small loaf of bread costs 3s and butter 6s per pound, all because down in the creeks men can be seen staggering from the sluice boxes to their cabins with pans of dust and nuggets, with as much indifference as though they had just come in from the farmyard with a pan-full of chicken-feed. "

In a further letter dated February 1899 from Dawson City, 250 miles from the Arctic Circle, William confesses to being treasurer of the Volunteer Fire Brigade, and Secretary /Treasurer of the. Dawson Club which he helped launch after only five months in the town. Obviously a personality ordained to serve others wherever he found himself.

On leaving England, William had left behind a lady friend who was an infant teacher at Yalding when he had first arrived to teach at the boy’s school.

This Rhoda Maurice kept in touch with William and moved out to join him, and at some time they were married as the studio photograph on the right illustrates.


William carried on teaching whilst in the Yukon, and was still enjoying that occupation when he died of cancer at the age of 76 on 13th December 1925. At his last farewell, the church of St Paul’s, Dawson, was filled with friends and pupils, and school children sang at his grave-side ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’.


Details of William’s biography has been recorded by this website author, in a booklet ‘Yalding to the Yukon’.


This publication details his early upbringing in which he went through pupil-teacher training; a system he continued for his boys at Yalding, some of whom also grew up to be teachers. It also tells the story of his journey to the Yukon, and his exploits amongst the gold fields.