The experiment started on 26 September 1885. with John Chenoweth as instructor and overseen by headmaster John William Tate. Bellman writes:
The woodwork classes caused wide public interest here and abroad. But soon bureaucracy raised its blind head. The Government's scheme for allocating money to schools was based on pupil attendance. The manual instruction classes did not count, so the school lost money when the pupils went to be taught in the shed in the corner of the playground. It quickly became clear that the school could not afford to continue these classes without outside support.
In May 1886, Sir Bernard Samuelson raised the matter in the House of Commons. He called on the Government to make grants for commercial and technical education, including manual instruction, 'in the same way as grants were now made for science and art'. The Government refused. Beethoven Street was surcharged for all expenses and the classes had to be suspended.