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The 1874 School

The plot of land near the chapel referred to was the property of Mr. F .A. Greenwood and a quarter of an acre was purchased from him at a cost of £194The architect for the proposed new school was Mr. George Smith of Bradford and in due course he laid tenders for the several works before the Trustees. These were. ..(a) Mason’s work. .. £303 .Geo Smith of Addingham …(b) Joiners’ work. ..£38 …James and Bernard Emmott of Addingham …(c) Plumbers’ work. ..£38. ..Jas. Whitaker of Addingham (d) Plasterers’ work.£25.6.0. …0. Lister of Ilkley ,and (e) Slaters’ work. ..£72 S. Thornton of Bradford.

Work was begun in August 1872 and at the same time the Trustees considered the possibility of adding a school house to the scheme, but apart from the purchase of an iron gate for £2.10.0 for “the intended school house garden,” no further information is given.

The foundation stone was laid at the end of the month by Mr. Isaac Holden of Oakworth who helped the building fund to the extent of £50. A bottle was placed under the corner stone containing copies of the circuit plan: the ‘Methodist Recorder’: the ‘Leeds Mercury’ and a document with a record of the event and the leading personalities associated with it.

By the following July (1873) sufficient progress had been made to enable Sunday School to meet in the yet unfinished building to greet an Addingham man, the Rev. H. Flesher Bland, now an outstanding figure in the Canadian, ministry who was visiting his native village after an absence of fifteen years. He afterwards preached two sermons, lectured on ‘Canada’, and by doing so helped to swell the finances by over £27. Its day school counterpart did not become operative until February 2nd 1874 when the first Master , Mr. Daniel Ledgard, assisted by an ‘efficient sewing mistress’ opened its doors, admitted its first scholars and began the work for which it had been built.

The new school was described as: “in the Gothic style” with two rooms, the larger , 48 feet by 30, and the smaller, for infants, 36 feet by 14. The total cost was about £925. Mr. Ledgard enrolled 27 scholars in the first week, 34 in the second, and by the end of three months admissions had reached 100. Of these, 20 had come from Miss Gill’s (possibly the 1666 village school), 13 from Mrs. Lister’s (the Rookery?) and 47 from the National School.

School fees were payable. In the first year 23 boys and the same number of girls paid threepence a week, and 11 boys and 6 girls paid twopence, the variation of one penny due to the latter 17 being employed part time in the local Mills. Children whose parents were receiving poor relief had their pence paid by the parish. It was not until 1891 that such fees were abolished, and the school had a holiday to celebrate the occasion.

The totals of these weekly pence were quite inadequate to meet the necessary outlays and grants from public funds were needed to make up the balance. These however were dependent upon two factors. ..( 1.) every child who made 176 attendances a year (lists being submitted by the master to the inspector) earned a grant, and (2.) that bugbear of early State education. introduced in 1861 known as “payment by results”.

A Government ‘code’ issued in that year set out seven syllabuses in reading, writing and arithmetic, and the children, the potential grant earners, were duly presented each year to the inspector to be examined. Those who passed earned a grant for the school. A sample year’s figures illustrate the system. In 1876 grants were made as follows:

Attendances.79 children having made the necessary number earned the school five shillings each and a further 13 infants, eight shillings each.

Examinations. …Passes in reading (48) arithmetic (48) and in writing (52), a total of 148. …5/.each, and the Evening scholars, 15 at 4/ for attendance and 26 passes at 2/6 completed the grants for that year .

In order to achieve these results Mr. Ledgard and his successors, (There were five masters in the first eleven years) had as assistants,an infant mistress, and, in accordance with the practice of the time, monitors, that is brighter scholars of thirteen. ..some older, some younger, selected by the master to be trained by him as possible teachers to be. They attended with him at 7 a.m. for tuition and had the prospect at the age of 18, of proceeding to the preliminary examination by which they might gain entry to a training college. Then they were given, during the daily sessions of the school, a group of scholars to be taught under the general supervision of the master at his desk which was placed on a low platform so that he might oversee the whole school. With, at one time, an attendance of 230, crowded into 1440 square feet of floor space, conditions could scarcely have been less than chaotic.

An early recommendation from H.M. Inspector was that the infant room should be provided with a gallery furnished with suitable desks, that is, the floor at one end of the room was raised in tiers for the more efficient supervision of the teaching. This was duly carried out, the infant class being taught in the chapel vestry whilst the work was being done.

Administration, including payment of teachers’ salaries was in the hands of a local committee of seven persons. One item considered worthy of being ‘logged’ was: “Received a bottle of ink this week from Mr. Gill” (the secretary) which shows how completely the school was dependent on the managers for even the tiniest item of equipment. The Wesleyan ministers were frequent visitors, and on one occasion, the Inspector’s annual report on the work of the school included a criticism of the managers for their “lack of encouragement and superintendence. .” Should the premises be required for purely Wesleyan purposes such for example as necessary preparation for concerts, entertainments, ‘public teas’ or even on occasions, ‘funeral’ teas, school had to retreat into the background and was either closed entirely or closed early. Difficulties were experienced in the working of the half-time system. The regular failure of the mill-children at the grant-earning examinations of the Inspectors was a reflection on their divided interests.

By 1884, only ten years after opening, the number of scholars had increased so greatly that H.M. Inspectors were urging the managers to extend the building by the erection of a new Infant School on the piece of land. ..”owned by the managers and at present unused. ..” ( It had been intended for the school house and garden) so that the infant classroom then in use could be made available for older children. The Trustees agreed to proceed with the proposed extension. A plan was submitted to H.M.I. and given his approval and Mr. W .J. Morley of Bradford appointed as architect. But at this stage a further four years passed by and there was still nothing to show, and the Inspector wrote ” …I regret that the addition of the Infant School is so long delayed. ..” a regret repeated after yet another fruitless year. One can only assume, especially in view of subsequent developments, that the cause of the procrastination was the lack of the necessary capital to Implement the scheme. The need however was still more urgent and the trustees, using much the same methods as in the case of the 1874 building, launched their second appeal and were enabled to have the work begun in the spring of 1890. Progress was rapid and in September of the same year the Infant School was opened. A debt of £80 remained to be cleared, the total cost being £509.3.11. In the meantime, the Infants’ class had been detached from the full range school and had become a separate department under its own mistress from 1888. The building as it stands today is substantially the same as when the 1890 project was completed.

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