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Addingham Methodist/First School 1874 – 1973

Extracts from the school log book over 100 years

This story is from a booklet ‘Addingham Methodist School 1874 – 1973‘ containing extracts from the School Logbook, an anonymous booklet written in 1974.

Addingham First School, as it is now known, was opened at 9 a.m. on February 2nd, 1874 when 26 scholars were admitted by Mr. Ledgard, the headmaster of that day. Its numbers increased over the years and on June 12th 1903 there was recorded a total of 183 scholars in attendance. In the early days and well into the, next century attendance was eroded by such enemies to the children’s health as measles, whooping cough, fever and even diphtheria.

Extracts from the log book such as the following underline the very real menace these illnesses were during school life:-

1874 July 24. Attendance poor, measles prevalent.

1875 July 2. Whooping cough still prevalent in the village.

1880 Measles prevalent.

1887 Extra fortnight holiday on account of prevalence of fever in the village.

Scarlet Fever broke out again.

School closed for 3 weeks because of epidemic of measles and influenza.

In 1909 and 1910 the dreaded disease of diphtheria took its toll of 3 scholars. With the passing of time, increased knowledge and skill have lessened the serious consequences of these hazards and today they are either almost non-existent or appear in a less , virulent form and can be contained by medical treatment.

Annually t there is constant reference to the absence of children when the hay-making season arrived. As early as July 24 1874 attendance is recorded as being poor, due in part to many children engaged in the hayfields. On August 2nd, 1880 Mr Eldridge the head records that hay harvest seem to inteefere much with the attendance. This very necessary work, typical and needful in a rural community seems to have been toleated as a traditional attendance hazard and it continued so, we11 into the next century.

From 1814 the teaching staff was dependent on the services of a qua1ified teacher as headmaster, pupil teachers and monitors selected from the most promising pupils themselves. The comments of the correspondent of the schoo1are interesting Of’ ‘J.E.’ he writes ‘I certify that the moral character and home of this candidate will not interfere with the instruction given” and also “I have examined ‘A.S. ‘ and find him to be of a sound constitution’. In those’ good old days’ the Addingham Autumn Fair on 0ct. 7 of 1880 was held and only 85 out of 134 came to school. Ilkley Feast Day on September 21, 1903 much depleted the numbers at school Sanger’s Circus which passed through the village on May 8, 1905 no doubt caused a considerable stir and gained its quota of absentees from school in due course. Our Children’s Day is a notable event today in the village’s life and I have no doubt that when on May 17th 1911 a Menagerie came to Addingham it would prove a great attraction. Addingham’s Annual Sheep Fair provided a half days holiday for the school. It was in these early years that the school’s summer holiday coincided with the Addingham Feast week.

In these early days and for many years into the twentieth century many children attended school as half timers. On April 16, 1887 we read Mr. Richards, Factory Inspector and another gentleman visited the school this morning. He enquired about the attendance of half timers and promised to insist in enforcing proper attendance, making time at school etc. In 1890 it is to be noted that in the upper standards 41 out of 70 children were half timers.

Education was not free in the years following 1874 for some considerable time. On April 29, 1878 we read in the log book that no playtime was allowed as collecting pence took too much time from the first lesson. On November 9th, 1888 the fees for half-timers were raised to 4 pence per week, the same as the full time scholars. August 31, 1891 was a milestone on the educational road, the school was given a holiday to celebrate the granting of free education to all. From September lst. no school fee had to be charged in either department.

Very frequent and regular examination of classes was conscientiously carried out and these subjects covered work in Geography, Grammar, Reading, Writing, Spelling and Arithmetic. In 1878, June 8th however, ‘Needlework was to be allowed for the present from children IS homes’ .

In 1888 Mr. Hewerdine opened the Day School Library with about 45 books. “The library is free but only those who have 10 or 9 attendances are privileged to take out a book. ” In 1890 Mr. Hewerdine commenced a Newspaper Club for upper scholars in the school. Each member subscribed ½ pence per week and such books as Boys Own, Girls Own, Great Thoughts, Chambers Journal, and Cassels’ Family Magazine were made available. This venture met with a promising response. In 1893 on July 12 it was suggested that it would be a good thing if cooking could be taught. It was not until 1920 that folk dancing was taken by the two upper classes.

Meanwhile in July of 1890 reference is made to building alterations that were afoot and it was stated that the new room to be built was nearly ready. The now premises to accommodate the Infants class were, finally opened on Sat. 6th, 1890. Progress too is to be noted When we read that a sub-committee conferred with the sanitary inspector and drew up plans for new water closets. These were finally installed

on July 24th and the comment in the log book reads “now sanitary arrangements are all that can be desired”.

A decline in school numbers occurred from time to time and this was due to the severe impact that loss of trade in the village had on families. Many were forced to leave the village and seek work elsewhere. Records show that in 1895, in 1898, in 1905 and in 1906 trade was bad, so much so in the latter year that the headmaster reported that 43 children left, due to the scarcity of work. The distress caused in 1895 must have been very severe for in February and March of that year it is reported that some friends of the Society and Teachers provided free breakfasts at 8 a.m. every morning till March. 40 children were helped in this way at a time When the hardship was heightened by severe frosts that had continued so long.

We today, are living in times of unrest and uncertainty when certain sections of workers are putting forward claims of up to £l0 a week as increases they seek. It is therefore of interest to recall that the headmaster and the Assistants in 1900 received their increases which amounted to £10 per year. In 1903, June 20th the boys played a friendly game of Cricket with the boys of Boyle & Peteyt School at Bolton Abbey.

April llth. 1904 was a significant day, for on that day the new authority, The West Riding County Council, superceded the old managers body. It is almost a coincidence that 10 years later in 1914 and on April lst the W.R.C.C. Education Authority will cease to be and itself be handing over our school to the new Bradford Metropolitan Area. On July 22nd 1907 the headmaster received notice from the C.C. to the effect that the transfer of the school is to be reckoned as taking place from the 15th instant.

It is of great interest to discover from the log book that the headmaster took some children on a school journey to Hamilton Quarries and on September 18 the Beacon was ascended. In 1908 trade was so badly affected that the headmaster records “People cannot find employment and are compelled to go away to seek work. Addingham seems to be a rapidly declining village unless some new life is introduced into the mill industry.” This makes interesting reading in these days of 1914 When so great an expansion of Addingham is taking place.

In the meantime more improvements are recorded. Repairs were carried out and wooden partitions put in the closets. The boys and girls cloakroom had been cleared of the set pan and slop stone and the windows glazed. Six incandescent lights were fixed in the large room and one put on each of the pendents in the classrooms. By August 28 the following report was recorded ‘ Alterations which have been in operation since last March are nearly completed. My department has now 3 good rooms each accommodating 2 standards. Playground accommodation and out offices have been increased and vastly improved and the cloakrooms altogether remodelled and enlarged.

1910 and 1911 were hard years in terms of sickness when 2 cases of diphtheria occurred. By 1912 in November Handwork found a place in the Curriculum as suggested by the H.MI. of the day. By now the first World War had begun and the recorded observation in the log book that ‘an old boy, Harold Hillbeck, who had seen service in the great Jutland Sea Fight and is now on furlough paid a visit to school’ brings a close personal touch to the everyday commonplace entries of weekly routine events. In 1911, no doubt to aid the war effort about 210 sq.yards of land were obtained for cultivat1on of potatoes. On December 21st 1911 a special holiday was given to mark the splendid achievements of the 62nd W.R. Division at Cambrai in November last. School was closed on September 13th, October lst and October 8th in the afternoons to go blackberrying and the school was able to despatch some 90lbs of fruit . to the jam manufacturers. In 1922 the school finished with higher numbers on its registers than ever before. This increase was due to the fact that the Education Act of 1918 coming into force compelled children to stay at school till the age of 14. Mr. Hewerdine’s long spell of service was about to close after 39 years as headmaster. It is interesting to note that there were times when his class numbered 64 in it so that the Wild West Show that came to Ilk1ey in one particular year and to which a number of Addingham children went, would no doubt give him a little light relief from the pressure of numbers on one afternoon.

In 1924 Mr. W. Lemmon began his duties with a total on roll of 135. The Old Scholars’ Association he formed helped to provide for the school Christmas party. On July lst 1925 the haymaking absenteeism which occurred was reported to the Divisional Office. On Jan 29th 1926 following discussions with the inspector of that period the Infants Department was amalgamated with the Mixed Department. It is of interest to note that the village had its own Brass Band, this fact being placed in the log book because they chanced to cause a little damage to school furniture during a concert given at the school. Also occurs the first reference to the visit of a school dentist. In 1926 too there was a railway strike and it is recorded that 2 of the staff were unable to reach school until 9.30 a.m. In this year, too, reference is made about a Mr. W. Hoffman Wood to thank him for the co-operation he gave the school. Professor Goodman, the Divisional Clerk, the headmaster and others gathered to discuss the points of a scheme to provide bank books with one Shilling already in them, these a gift from Mr. Hoffman Wood. On July 20 School Sports were held with the National School, the Cricket Club kindly allowing them the use of their field. Later in 1928 Beamsley Boyle and Peteyt and Barden Schools joined to run inter-school Sports annually. Due to the generosity of Mr. Hoffman Wood 6 Children from Standard 7 and Mr. Lemmon had the privilege of visiting Settle to witness the total eclipse of the sun. By 1927 there was no general closure of the school during Addingham Feast week.

The disposition of the classes aged 5 to 14 years in 1928 was as follows: Class VI – VII: 36, Class III – IV: 44, Class I – II: 42, Infants (i) 35, Infants (ii) 29, Total: 186 children.

In 1928 it was proposed to provide children who had to stay at school with a hot drink at a nominal charge. On May 28, 1929 the children took part in the Wharfedale Musical Festival and did so in future years when they brought distinction to themselves by their splendid results. By now, too, parental objection to attending medical inspection had begun to decline and mothers were taking a greater interest in these occasions. Once again in 1931 diphtheria took its toll of 2 children in the school.

By now Mr. Lemmon, the Headmaster, had begun his rambles and day outings to places of historical and educational interest. These ranged from nearby Bolton Priory to Whitby and in 1937 a train journey to London. Rambles organised by the Headmaster were appreciated by many who recall these happy experiences today.

A declaration of emergency in 1939 was the sign that we were at war. The children were drilled in the unwelcome task of fitting and re-adjusting anti-gas respirators. Next followed Air Raid Precaution dispersal practices. A school garden to supply useful garden vegetables and produce was developed successfully.

In 1941 Swimming lessons began at Ilkly open air baths. This year of 1941 was to see one very significant change. Meetings were held and it was agreed that the transfer of all children over the age of 11 to Silsden Modern School should take place, until such times as local schemes converging on a new building in Ilkley Should materialise. On October 24th all the children over II years of age, 45 in number, ceased to attend Addingham High C.P. School and were transferred to Silsden. In 1941 a nursery class was begun. At a conference of the Head. teachers of Addingham National, Beamsley and Addingham High C.P. the question of the provision of school meals was discussed. It was agreed to ask for the provision of a prefabricated hut for this purpose. By 1943 the school meals kitchen was finally opened. At first meals were served across in the school classrooms. Later the Youth hut was opened and allowed to be used as a dining area and for other school educational purposes.

Mr. S. Simpson succeeded Mr. Lemmon as headmaster in 1952. The Youth Hut, largely the product of Mr. Lemmon’s efforts, was now able to be used as a dining area and for other educational and recreational activities. During 1954 and 1955 fund raising efforts enabled the school to buy jerseys for the newly formed school team and a film strip projector to add to the wireless provided by Mr. Lemmon’s Old Scholars’ Association. It was during 1954, that following consultations with Miss Elsworth of the C.of E. School it was decided to hold a joint sports day, renewing a practice that had operated some years previously. ‘Ihis event has continued annually. The C.of E. School ceased to take part when that school was finally closed in April 1961 and its 12 scholars became a part of our school. It was in 1955 that a week’s school journey was undertaken to the North East Coast around Tyneside and subsequent tours were made to the Whit by area, North Wales and Fleetwood annually until 1964. These longer educational tours have been resumed and in this centenary year 26 children and 4 staff will visit Tyneside and Cullercoats once more at Easter. Walks and day outings have also been undertaken and as in the previous headmaster’s time have been the means of stimulating interest and introducing children to the historical, geographical and natural wonder and beauty of much of Yorkshire.

It is of interest to note that paper towels for individual use replaced the old roller towel and hot water was supplied to the washbasins at the old school. The school began visits to the swimming baths at Aireville, Skipton since we were in the Craven educational area. This facility continued until 1973 and ceased in July because our children do not qualify by age to meet the existing W.R. C. C. regulations as laid down by the authority.

The old scholarship system of selection by examination in Mathematics, English and Verbal Reasoning itself became the subject of examination. In 1962 a pilot scheme was launched whereby certain children who were borderline cases were allowed to attend at a centre in Ilkley for one whole day. They were given tests in Mathematics and English and were able to pursue work in other creative media. Meanwhile experienced teachers with understanding had the opportunity to converse with the children in a relaxed and natural atmosphere and so discover about the personalities and characteristic qualities of the children. The Thorne Scheme of selection as it became known was established in the area and worked favourably so far as our school was concerned. We have now moved into a situation where there is no selection by examination. Children move from the First Schools to the Middle Schools and on to the upper schools. This system began in 1910 and we sent forward to the Middle school all children aged 10 and 11 years at the end of that school year. Eventually, when the Middle School can accommodate the Children, those reaching the age of 9 will, at the end of that school year, move up to the Middle School since all First schools will have children aged 5 years to 9 years in them. Under this ‘three tier system’ children do have the opportunity to take G.C.E. & C.S.E. subjects at examination level. At the same time within the framework of the system the needs of the non-academic child are allowed to develop through creative abilities in crafts and activities Which pure academic work may not touch.

Up to and including 1969 Addingham school was in the Craven Division. Its managers fought and laboured for the erection of a new school in Addingham. In 1961 the seemingly impossible was achieved, or partially, so for on August 30th of that year the phase one part of a new school was ready for occupation. It contains 2 teaching areas, one very fine hall equipped with gymnastic apparatus, a small shared area and self-contained kitchen unit.

In 1974 we await the start of the building of phase 2. This was scheduled, originally, to be completed and ready for occupation in September of 1974. Various factors have set back the schemes. On April lst we shall no longer belong to the West Riding C. C. Authority but we shall be part of the newly formed Bradford Metropolitan Educational Area and we look expectantly to Bradford to promote our hopes of completing phase 2 of the new school. The promise of the siting of a Middle School in Addingham is to be commended.

We celebrate our centenary in the certainty that Addingham’s children will leave in March for ever the actual buildings which have been their educational home for 100 years. This is not a cause for sentimental regret but is a sign of the times for the Addingham of tomorrow. Addingham is a changing and expanding village. Both the new and the old may blend together to make Addingham a village with character and an individuality in its own right. As a village we live very much together. This closeness affords us a valuable means that w can cultivate if we wish. It is that of creating a family spirit. It is this family feeling of friendliness that we trust we are promoting at School through old Scholars’ Associations, Parent Teachers Groups and individual relationships between staff and parents.

It would be strange if the winds of change had left untouched the educational scene. It is a far cry from the day when I read in the log book that Mr. Hewerdine had in his class 64, to the present day when class numbers are more reasonable and the staffing ratio is more generous, when part time teachers were allowed; clerical assistance became available, and in the last few years an ancillary help known as a ‘non teaching assistant’ is allocated to the School.

Learning how to learn underlies much of our outlook today, a greater flexibility and liberty is allowed the enterprising teacher. Like all the good teachers since 1874 the value of establishing right personal relationships with children is of inestimable importance. In promoting so called modern methods we are fully aware that children can only exploit these methods if they can read, can express themselves clearly and can do simple computation.

Addingham First School celebrates its Centenary proud of its children, fully aware of the devoted service given by its many teachers, fortunate to have had the faithful service of cooks and caretakers down the years, and grateful to parents who have supported the school through its 100 years. It celebrates this occasion in the midst of uncertain days and against an unpredictable future but with the assurance that the spirit of the newly developing Addingham of 1974 will produce another 100 years of progress on which it will look back with pride and satisfaction.

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