Story of Addingham Schools

The first part of this story is re-printed from a booklet ‘The story of an Addingham School from 1874 – 1974‘ by William Lemmon
(headmaster of the Top/High/Wesleyan/Primary School from 1924 – 1952)

[1874 School][1890 – 1907][1907 – 1923][1924 – 1939][1939 – 1952][1952 – 1974][1975 – Present]

The second part of this story is from a booklet ‘Addingham Methodist School 1874 – 1973‘ containing extracts from the School Logbook.

[Addingham Methodist School]


Although this essay is to be concerned principally with one Addingham school, the Wesleyan, some very brief account of the local educational background is essential. In the first decade of the 1800s ” …such education as was given in schools founded by one of the two rival societies. One of these (1808), patronised by rich Whigs and Quakers followed Joseph Lancaster’s ideas of education with general religious instruction, and was known as ‘The British and Foreign Schools Society’. (There was a ‘British’ school in Skipton) The other, (1811), known as ‘The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Church of England’ was founded on the ideas of Dr. Bell, and the Addingham National School owes its origin to this society.

But long before these years there is evidence that there were schools in Addingham. As early as 1630, a parish constable’s account refers to ‘the Dominie’ that is the schoolmaster. By the year 1666, a school, the original parish school, had been erected in the village street and remains to this day as ‘The Old School’. It was maintained over the years by the Parish Officers, who also appointed the succession of school masters, who usually combined with that post, that of the parish clerk. In the 18th century there are records of five such appointments where the master is named and of another three un-named ones.

The Old School was built by Anthony Ward. The town book had, from 1690 – 1744, entries made for payment for repairs to the building and for payment of a school master. The school started life as a single storey two roomed cottage but another storey was added in 1805 when the school moved into the upper room.The ground floor was split and one side became a goal. Mr Lee was the last teacher in charge before the move to North Street. Mr Richard Sandham who had charge of the school from 1855 to 1890 told Harry Speight (author of ‘Upper Wharfedale’ published in 1900) that “under the schoolroom was the village prison and an infant classroom. The upper room was occupied by Edward Lister a joiner, and the lower by a nailmaker and barber. In 1840, George Whitaker was the village barber and the little lather shop was a well known rendezvous of local gossips”.

The Old School, Main Street

In the 19th century we have schools recorded as follows:

(a).. in the 1818 Rating Valuation book, in one of the cottages in the ‘Rookery’ abutting on Bolton Road.

(b) Baines’ Directory of 1821 …an Academy in the name of Robert Bramham and another under J,H. Holden.

(c)..the map accompanying the 1843 Tithe Award has four schools. ..that in the Main Street (the Old School), one in the ‘Rookery’, (named above) … one in Back Lane, and one in Low Mill Yard. It is possible that the last named school was that to which the mill child apprentices were sent in order to fulfil the requirements of the Factory Act of 1833.

(d)..the National School in North Street which was opened on Christmas Day 1844. The large Gothic room was capable of containing 200 to 300 scholars and on the opening day they were regaled with Christmas cake and new milk. The drink was a change from the beer which had long been customary. After tea they were examined in geography.


The Low/ C.of E./ National School, North Street

(e)…the Census returns of 1851 give us the names of Thomas Howe, Schoolmaster, aged 29; Thomas Whitaker, Schoolmaster and Farmer: Alice Mitchel, aged 40, a widow living in Oddfellows Hall, Schoolmistress. It also records that there were 185 scholars: 4 Sunday scholars and 7 scholars at home.

The 1666 village school continued to function until about 1861, and up to about 1892 was still being maintained as an infants’ school. Several of the older generation known to the writer were able to recount interesting experiences as scholars. ..e.g. the dull boy put into the corner with the dunce cap on his head.

These ‘Societies’ schools, aided after 1833 with State grants, remained the mainstay of popular education in this country for a matter of 60 years.

The ‘Top’ / ‘High’ / Wesleyan / Primary School, Chapel Street

The Report of the inquiry by the Charity Commissioners into the charities of Addingham (1894) states that…”the Wesleyan Sunday School was founded by deed dated 10th January 1848 by which the land and buildings were vested in 13 trustees for the purposes of a Day and Sunday School in connection with the Wesleyan Methodists” …Another report of the Wesleyans themselves, printed in 1876, however states that. ..”for about 40 years prior to 1871 the Wesleyan Methodists had conducted a Sunday School and occasionally a Day School in their premises in Back Lane. ..” It would seem that this must be the Back Lane school already referred to (1843) and that therefore it can be dated to the early 1830s, and was not put under the Charity Commissioners until 1848. It continued to function until 1874.

In 1870, Mr. Arnold Forster M.P. a resident of Burley-in-Wharfedale and Education minister in Mr. Gladstone’s government, successfully piloted an Education Act through Parliament. By this, the ‘Societies’ schools were continued, and given increased State aid, and publicly controlled schools known as Board Schools, since they were to be administered by locally elected school boards, were established and all children up to the age of 13 were compelled to attend. In the next year (1871) an Inspector of schools declared the school accommodation in Addingham to be insufficient; the trustees themselves decided that their premises were inadequate and inconvenient for a Sunday school, and for a Day school they neither met the requirements of the new Education Act, nor could they easily be altered to do so, and the days of the Back Lane school were accordingly, numbered.

A plot of land near the Wesleyan Chapel was, conveniently. available for purchase, and it was therefore determined to make ” …a vigorous effort to provide new premises suitable for Sunday school purposes, but in addition to be available for a Day School to be conducted under the provisions of the Education Act. ..”

In March 1872 the Circuit Ministers, Revs. Gifford Dorey and Starkie Starkie and four Wesleyan laymen met and decided that provided adequate funds could be raised, a new Wesleyan school should be built. The fund raising was quickly begun, Subscription lists were opened. A prosperous Farfield farmer, John Lanson, promised £100, later raised to £130 if the building could be opened free of debt. The Haw Pike farmer, Mr. Benjamin Shiers gave £50 with an additional promise of 10% on all moneys paid in by the end of September. This totalled over £71. The owners of Town Head Mill and their workpeople subscribed well over £45; the ladies’ four days’ bazaar (held in the Oddfellows Hall) raised £308, and with the not to be despised shillings, florins, half-crowns and crowns, the fund reached a total of £608.14.0.

From this encouraging beginning it was decided that the Back Lane premises should be sold and as this property was vested with the Charity Commissioners, they were requested to give the necessary authority to do so. (August 1873) In the March following the sale was approved, the purchase money to be paid over to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds. The Trustees however ‘through inadvertence’ applied it towards the cost of the new building. The Commissioners, upon the circumstances being brought to their notice, approved this application of the money. …:’ So all was well.

The Trustees had the doubtful benefit of a small endowment in the possession of a cottage in Smithy Fold. The nominal rental was not being paid regularly, repairs were expensive and rather than an asset, it was a definite liability. (Note: Some time ago, it was offered to the owner of the adjoining cottage as a gift, to the obvious relief of the Trustees.)

The Back Lane school was sold by auction for £151 to Abel Pickard and sundry fittings were disposed of similarly. Some idea of the equipment in use may be gathered from the items sold: Books and a desk (1/10) …Cupboard (5/6) …Desk (2/-) …Old stand (1/6) …Old books (1/6) …Clock (10/-) and with 9/ received for some forms from the Old Langbar chapel, £1.11.4 was added to the Building Fund.



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.


1890 – 1907

In March 1885, after the eleven years of the first five masters Mr. Harry Hewerdine was appointed. He was a Lincolnshire man and had been a teacher in the Wesleyan School at Skipton. At Addingham he faced a stiff assignment. At one period he had 250 scholars on roll, two rooms only to accommodate them, and a staff so small and untrained as to be quite inadequate to cope with the teaching. As already noted however, certain relief was afforded when the infant class ceased to be his responsibility (1888) and shortly after (1890) moved into its newly built extension, thereby freeing its small classroom for the use of the older scholars.

In his earlier years Mr. Hewerdine gave holidays for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee (1887), and a year later, when “. ..the line to Ilkley and Bolton was opened. ..” though in consequence of the latter event, numbers on roll were considerably reduced when it was recorded that ” …nearly all the navvy children have left the place, the work having been completed. ..”

In 1891 the payment of ‘school pence’ was abolished throughout the country and a holiday was given to celebrate,

In 1893 Miss Annie Peake was appointed Infants’ Mistress. She resigned in 1895, but returned in 1898 as Mrs. Milford. In the next year she was joined by an assistant teacher , Miss Emily Cockshott who had already served three years as a monitor under Mr. Hewerdine. This happy association continued until Mrs. Milfrod’s retirement in 1926. “Miss Emily” stayed on until 1937 thus completing 42 years of service, and is remembered with gratitude and affection to-day by hundreds of those who came under her gracious influence.

The obligation imposed on the local community to finance its proportion of the costs of maintaining the school, was by 1893, causing considerable anxiety, especially as at this time there was serious unemployment in the village. Numbers of scholars on roll continued to fall as families moved elsewhere in search of work. In 1893 there were 308 scholars, but by 1897 these had been reduced to 147 …less than half. For a brief period, in order to attempt to alleviate some of the hardship, the teachers, supported by friends, provided breakfasts for children in need.

A holiday was given in 1897 on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubile!” (.’Sixty Years a Queen”) and closures were necessary from time to time as, for example: to prepare the rooms for various ‘social’ occasions: to enable the teachers to go on tht annual choir trips: for the annual village October Sheep Fair: and again about the turn of the century to celebrate the end of the South African (Boer) War, and the Coronation of King Edward the Seventh.

A major stage in national education was reached in 1902 when the Act, usually known as the Balfour Education Act became law. By this the newly formed county councils took over the functions of the school boards created in 1870, and so ‘Board’ schools became ‘Council’ schools. Existing church and denominational schools like those in Addingham, were granted financial support, but were allowed to retain their control over religious instruction and the appointment of their teachers. They were however still responsible for the maintenance of their premises, but all other costs were now borne by the county council.

On November 11 th 1903, prior to the implementation of this Act in Addingham in 1904, the sc1’1ool was closed for the day in order to enable the West Riding County Council’s architect to make a plan of the buildings ‘and the grounds’, and in February 1904 a grant of £45 was received ‘for maintenance to the Appointed Day’, on April 11th

the new authority, the W.R.C.C. superseded the local body of managers, and on the 22nd the first visit of the County’s Divisional Clerk is noted. H.M. Inspector’s Report for 1904 stresses the very unsatisfactory state of the buildings especially on the sanitary side, but obviously, the managers, with trade in the village in a bad way, unemployment still rife and in consequence, money scarce, and with the knowledge of the changes pending, had no intention of spending any of their own capital on anything they knew the Authority would soon have to do for them.

The school remained ‘Wesleyan’ for a short time longer, though other developments were soon to follow.

The Trustees continued to be concerned regarding the financial pressures upon them and it comes as no surprise that soon after the 1904 transfer, negotiations were in progress with the County Council to pass over, wholly, the school to the Authority’s control. Although vital discussions must have taken place of which no record seems to remain. an important meeting of the Trustees held on March 10th 1906 decided unanimously. .” that the proposal of the Managers to transfer the school for 7 years to the County Council

be confirmed on the terms accepted by them. .” and in May 1907 a scheme approved by the Charity Commissioners and accepted by the Trustees stated that:-

” …The net amounts of all rents which may be received by the Trustees. respect of lettings of the school premises shall be applied in aid of some religious or educational purpose for the benefit of members of the Wesleyan Methodist body in the circuit in which the premises are situated. …”

On June 8th 1907 authority was given to the Trustees’ Secretary Mr. James Emmott to sign the agreement on their behalf. The rent was £20 per year. This was done and the transfer took place on July 15th and the Wesleyan School as such ceased to exist. Since the National School was situated, geographically, at the lower end of the village and was popularly known as ‘the Low School’ the newly named ‘Council’ School added the description ‘High’ to its title, a name which persisted until recently.


1907 – 1923

In less than two years. in April 1909. “…a conversation took place with respect to an informal enquiry on the part of the West Riding County Council as to the Trustees’ willingness to sell the school premises. ..”

As a result it was agreed to put a figure of £1,200 or over as the value of the property, and this figure, on the advice of a Leeds firm of valuers, was increased to £1,500. The Trustees therefore asked the Authority if it would consider the purchase of the building at the price named by the valuer. The County’s own suggested figure being £500, it was regarded by the Trustees as entirely inadequate, and they decided that no further steps should be taken in the matter .

The County’s reaction to this was both swift and drastic. It was decided at Wakefield to build an entirely new school for 350 children to replace the Wesleyan Provided School, and £3,250 was voted for the purpose, This scheme, it is understood, met with strong local opposition that the project was abandoned. I n its place the 1907 lease of the existing building was extended from seven years to twenty one, and with minor modifications and several extensions, remains operative to the present day, though soon due to terminate, the Trustees having given the necessary notice for that purpose, to become effective on March 31 st 1974.

Reverting to 1909, the County Council now having extended powers over its ‘Council’ schools, even in rented buildings, proceeded to make, with the approval of the Trustees, alterations and improvements which would bring the premises up to a more satisfactory educational standard. The large main room was now provided with a sliding half-glass partition, so making two rooms, an obvious advantage. A similar change was made in the newer infant room. The cloak rooms were enlarged and. ..’the set-pan and slopstone removed. .” The playgrounds also had the improvers’ hands upon them.

New dual (two-seater) desks were supplied to replace some of the old, solid, cumbersome monsters that had been made for the original 1874 school. But only ‘some’. The Trustees were loth to part with them. Being easily convertible (the desks. .not the Trustees) they were adaptable for seats with back rests for concerts as well as, in another position, as combined tea tables and seats. It was not until 1926 that they were finally superseded by something more modern, and these in their turn have now long since disappeared.

Out of doors the ‘out-offices’ were also greatly improved.

As there were few administrative or structural changes up to 1923. the principal happenings may be summarised in calendar form. …

1906 Feb. was closed in the afternoon for the funeral in the Parish Church of Lord Masham (SamuelCunliffe Lister) He was the great industrialist and inventor who made textile history in Bradford and the West Riding, and whose statue stands at the entrance to Manningham Park, in Bradford.

In the same year it is noted that. .”large numbers are leaving the village owing to the very poor tarde, and more children are applying 

for their half-time certificates to help to eke out, even though it be but little, the poor earnings of their parents. ..”

1907 July a comment that Addingham seems to be rapidly declining village unless some new life is introduced into the mill industry.

1908 February Incandescent gas lighting introduced. (It wasn’t successful. .In 1924 the lighting was still by naked gas flame.

1910 January Arctic weather. .28 degrees of frost

1911 May An epidemic of diphtheria

A menagerie came into the village and the attendance was seriously affected

The Years of the First World War

1915    School closed early to economise in the use of gas

1916    War Savings being organised by H.M. Inspector

1917    A school garden at the junction of Back Lane and Long Riddings Lane…’Potatoes the first aim’

A special holiday “for the splendid achievment of the 62nd West Riding Division at Cambrai in November”

1918 October Three days holiday ‘to go blackberrying’

290 pounds sent to the jam makers

1919 April    The Headmaster’s class consisting of four age groups numbered 64

August    An extra week’s holiday for ‘Peace Celebrations’

1920 The last half-timers left school

1922 Compulsory education to the age of 14 now in operation

The Head’s class was still 64

Mr. Hewerdine’s long service of nearly 39 years was ended with his retirement on December 31st 1923, and no account of the school’s history should fail to pay tribute to the sterling character of his work, mostly done in the face of very great difficulties, of inadequate premises and staffing far below the requirement for successful teaching. He had two assistants and 150 scholars and these were spread over eight age groups, though in his last year an additional teacher was appointed and the strains were slightly relaxed, the more so since the numbers had fallen, and each of the teachers felt the benefit. Even then however the main room had now two teachers trying to work simultaneously, a hark back to the old days of the monitorial system.



Mr. Hewerdine’s successor, the writer of this essay was a north countryman, born in Blaydon (of the’ Races’) who had taught in the Hothfield Street school in Silsden for 3’12 years.

During this period, since administrative changes were few, the trends of life in the school, with some amplification from time to time, will be indicated in the continuation of the claendar .

1924    The first of a long continuing series of Christmas parties was sponsored by the newly formed Old Scholars’ Association whose assistance in these and many other matters was invaluable

1925    Physical Training Officers from County Hall investigated the possibility of using a stretch of the river Wharfe for swimming lessons, but it was found to be impracticable.

1926    Mrs. Milford, Headmistress of the Infants’ School, retired, and the two departments, separated in 1888 were again united.

The first Dental Clinic began work. Mr. Long, the Dental Officer pioneered an excellent service, and over many years became quite a ‘father’ figure to most of his regular, (and quite willing) patients.

In May Miss Edith Cockroft was appointed as Infants’ teacher, beginning a service ofquality, integrity and devotion which only terminated with her retirement in 1964 after more than 38 years.

1927    The average number on the roll at the end of the school year was 184 In June a small party of scholars went to Settle with Mr. Hoffman Wood and the Headmaster to witness the total eclipse of the sun.

1928    The school Sports Day which had begun in 1925 was this year

enlarged by the inclusion of the National School and Barden and Beamsley Schools. A challenge shield was available for inter-school competition.

A report by Mr. T.J.M. More, H.M. Inspector, on the school, noted some of its deficiencies:-

Only 3 of its 5 classrooms were of suitable size:

No provision for practical instruction :

Cramped playgrounds and no playing field:

No facilities for teaching science:

No staff room

(These deficiencies were still unremedied for another 39 years i.e.

till the new school opened in 1967)

1931    A serious epidemic of diphtheria resulting in the death of four small girls

1933    In July a week’s camping holiday was organised on Holy Island (Northumberland). Six boys participated

1935    In February, serious flooding of the Wharfe washed away the Suspension Bridge, and children from the north side enjoyed a five mile taxi ride to enable them to get to school.

1938    With reorganisation in the air it was evident that changes were pending. Again the question of school accommodation in Addingham was being considered at County level. National School premises were unsatisfactory, and the Managers were not able to carry out the improvements required by the Authority. The premises of the Council School were not considered equal to modern requirements. The suggested solution, therefore was that in view of the proposals to transfer the senior children to the modern school to be built at Ben Rhydding a new primary school should be planned. large enough for all the infants and juniors in the village. A joint conference was convened by the County and was attended by their own representatives, those of the District Sub-Committee, and the Managersof the National School. As a result of their deliberations it was recommended that the Trustees of the High Council School be asked if they were willing to sell their building to the Authroity which would then make it the core of a greatly enlarged school. Failing their compliance, it was suggested that the costs of an entirely new school should be estimated

The Trustees declined to sell.

Again therefore, the Authority went ahead with their scheme for the new village school, and, when this was completed, the closure of the existing two schools. Statutory notices of intention to build were posted throughout the area: the chief County architect visited school with his roll of 25″ O.S. maps, in order to inspect certain possible sites, and it seemed at last that one fully equipped up-to-date school would provide all that was materially necessary for the education of the children of Addingham up to the age of eleven.

Again fulfillment was denied. War, which had threatened for most of the year, broke out, and all schemes such as this went into storage. In 1974, the school of 1874 is still in use, though its end as the County Primary School is, at the time of writing, very near.


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.



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.


‘Addingham Methodist/First School 1874 – 1973’

Extracts from the school log book over 100 years

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.

The story brought up to date

The above articles were both written in 1974 at the time of the 100th anniversary of the old village school in what is now the Methodist Church and Hall.


First School, Back Beck Lane, 1975 – 2000

As mentioned above, the new First School was under construction on Back Beck Lane only a few yards away and this was finally completed and fully operational in 1975.The First School was closed in 2000 and the buildings were demolished in December 2001.

Middle / Primary School open 1979

The new Addingham Middle School was built on Bolton Road and opened in 1979.
In 2000, Bradford M.D.Council area changed to a ‘Two Tier’ education system, as a result of which the First School and Middle were closed and the Bolton Road school became the Addingham Primary School.