This monogram, containing the initials and the date 1866, can be seen on the front central portion of Lightcliffe C. E. Primary School. The date shown has always caused some confusion as the school opened in January 1869! The initials are those of school benefactor Evan Charles Sutherland Walker, a former resident of Crow Nest. Sutherland Walker was one of the eight surviving children from the marriage of Elizabeth Walker (1801-1844) and George Mackay Sutherland (1798-1847). Elizabeth, when a resident of Crow Nest, had met her future husband, a captain in His Majesty’s 13th Regiment of Light Dragoons, at a ball at Cliffe Hill. Their eldest son, Evan Charles, was born on 12 October 1835. When his aunt, Ann Walker, died in 1854 he succeeded her as owner of the family estates and, as agreed, added the Walker family name to his own. When he came of age in 1856 there was ‘great rejoicing’ at an event in Cliffe Hill Park, to which all tenants and villagers were invited. Three years later Evan married Alice Sophia Tudor, who bore him eight children. They left Crow Nest in 1867, when the house was sold to Sir Titus Salt (who had lived there previously as a tenant) for £28,000 and moved to Skibo Castle in Sutherland. They lived there until 1898 when the property was sold to Andrew Carnegie, the American millionaire. E.C. Sutherland died in relative poverty in London having, by then, dropped the Walker name.
What a contribution to the community he made during his relatively short sojourn at Crow Nest. His donation of land and £5000 enabled the Lightcliffe National Schools, initially a boys school and a girls and infants school, to be built a year before the Forster Education Act that established state education. It became Lightcliffe Church of England Primary School following the 1944 Education Act. It was a school for the community and he hoped that parents would encourage their children to learn whilst at school. His contribution, he said at the opening ceremony in 1869 - three years after the expected establishment of the schools - “was not for any personal glorification but for an honest desire to do good.”