In the early years of the twentieth century, a subtle revolution was brewing in the field of secondary education. London, Ontario, with its booming industry, commercial and business sectors, was suffering from a lack of skilled and disciplined workers.

One such educator, public school Principal Herbert Benson Beal, was convinced that schooling ought to reflect the city’s rapidly changing workforce. He was not alone. Across the province, a movement was applying the pressure that finally led to Ontario’s Industrial Education Act of 1911. The Act enabled municipalities to open secondary schools for augmented technical training. The London Industrial and Art School, as it was initially named, opened its doors to 153 night school students on January 12, 1912 and Herbert Beal was appointed its principal.

"Beal," as the school is informally known, has consistently risen above the controversies that have occasionally plagued it to produce exceptionally talented, highly skilled graduates in not only the liberal arts, but technical and commercial fields as well. Using artefacts from the Museum London historical collection, as well as loans and historical photographs, Breaking the Mould tells the story of what began as a small experimental school. Herbert Benson Beal’s philosophy and determination have guided this school, now bearing his name, through a century of growth and dramatic social change.