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The Years of the War…..and after…..1939 – 1952

The decisions of 1938 though not resulting in new buildings either in Addingham or Ben Rhydding, nevertheless did bring about great changes in that a temporary scheme of reorganisation was proposed. There was in Silsden enough accommodation for the Addingham senior scholars and it was therefore suggested that they should be transferred to the Modern School there. The local District-sub-Committee was not in favour of the move and it was decided that a meeting of the parents of the children affected should be asked to express an opinion.

In October 1941 the advantages of such a transfer were vigorously propounded by County Alderman W.M. Hyman, and the parents agreed to the change. Accordingly, in November 1941, 45 scholars from this school and a lesser number from the ‘Low’ School, began their secondary education at Silsden, and the High Council School was re-designated the High Primary School.

Three other major changes took place during the war years. In addition to that involving the older scholars, at the other end of the age range a War Time nursery was established where mothers engaged in war work might have their young children cared for.

School dinners took a considerable time to reach the table. It was in March, 1942 that the idea of a W.V.S. Mobile Canteen from Menston was aired. In May, a number of representatives met at the school. They were from County Hall. ..from the District Sub Committee and the Head Teachers of the Addingham and Beamsley Schools. From this group came the suggestion that a pre-fab kitchen should be erected on the waste land in School Lane opposite the school. This was approved, but it was December before the site was being prepared and building did not begin until the following spring. In May the kitchen equipment arrived and it was necessary to store it in school until required. In September Miss T.E. Steel and two assistants began work and on the 28th of that month, the first dinners were served to all three schools. The success of the provision was ensured by the excellent quality of the food supplied outside of the restrictions of the ration books, as well as the cost at fivepence a meal.

A school garden was put into cultivation as a means of helping food production and in its few years of working it produced an amazing variety of vegetables in considerable quantities. A licence to retail foodstuffs was required. Sales, said the Authority, must be at market prices and costs must be borne by the school though any profits might be retained and used for its benefit. So great was the demand for its products however , that the successful outcome of the greengrocer’s business was never in doubt. A visiting H.M. Inspector commented, “I have not seen a better school garden”.

The evacuation of children from the vulnerable areas to those considered less dangerous meant that the school received two groups of ‘official’ evacuees, the first from Bradford, themselves to life in the country. Those who were given homes with relations or friends, the ‘unofficial’ evacuees, settled better and stayed much longer, and are remembered with pleasure by many to-day.

One surprising emergency directive was that since Addingham was scheduled as an area vulnerable to enemy air attack, fire-watching of the school premises was compulsory, and for two years a regular routine of two volunteers kept all night vigil. The school too was in regular use for many varied activities related to war. A.R.P. lectures and training. ..Gas-mask fitting and distribution. …concerts in aid of war-time charities and so on.

After the long years of the war, changes were inevitable. The War-time Nursery and the school garden ceased to operate. H.M. Inspectors visiting the school invariably called attention to the inadequacy of the premises, usually with, at least, the verbal assurance, that their replacement had been given the highest priority. So the old old story of the new village school once more became an item for discussion on many an agenda even in the early 1950s.

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