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1952 - 1974

In 1952 the newly erected Youth Centre of which the 1943 kitchen was an integral part, was brought into use for the serving of dinners to the great relief of both school and kitchen staffs. Its use as an extension of the school premises for such activities a drama, physical education, and recreation was also a boon, and this was an amenity which the Headmaster whose retirement was pending was very happy to pass on to his successor. At the end of the summer term, 1952, the writer completed his service as headmaster having held the appointment for over 28 years. His successor, Mr. Sidney Simpson, a Harrogate man, had taught at Yeadon and Otley.

During his years as headmaster that which had eluded each of his predecessors was now to be achieved. The building of the long promised school had its first phase begun in 1966 and it was occupied in the following year. This did not involve the automatic closure of the 1874 school, which as has already been stated is still in use at the time of writing. (*)

But with the problems of the Methodist chapel over the way looming large, and the Trustees having to face its closure and replacement, the school was soon to be required by its owners for their own use. When, therefore, the question of granting a further extension of the lease to the County Council was raised in 1971, they were given a further brief period but the Trustees reserved the northern end (the1890 addition) for conversion into a place of worship as from the first of April 1972, and at the same time indicating that the whole building would be required by them in the near future. In due course therefore the requisite notice to terminate the lease on March 31st 1974 was given, and from that date the whole interior will be converted into the Addingham Methodist Centre….part reserved for worship, the remainder re-designed for social and general use. As the original purpose of the Back Lane School and its successor was for Sunday School, it is fitting that its continuing use will be for that same function as one of the departments of the Methodist Society in Addingham.

May the Wesleyan School of 1874 long continue to serve the village and its community for which its founders gave their labours and their money one hundred years ago.

(*) The National School had closed in 1961 and the scholars admitted to the ‘Top’ school.

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