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BSc., A.K.C., M.Ed.
LYNN F. FREE
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THE SCHOOL SONG FORTY YEARS ON
Forty years on, when afar and asunder Parted are those who are singing today; When you look back and forgetfully wonder What you were like in your work and your play. Then, it may be, there will often come o’er you Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song; Visions of boyhood shall float them before you, Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along.
Chorus Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Till the field ring again and again With the tramp of the twenty-two men, Follow up! Follow up!
Routs and discomfitures, rushes and rallies, Bases attempted, and rescued and won, Strife without anger, and art without malice, How will it seem to you, forty years on? Then, you will say, not a feverish minute Strained the weak heart and the wavering knee, Never the battle raged hottest, but in it, Neither the last nor the faintest were we!
O the great days, in the distance enchanted, Days of fresh air, in the rain and the sun, How we rejoiced as we struggled and panted - Hardly believable, forty years on! How we discoursed of them, one with another, Auguring triumph, or balancing fate, Loved the ally with the heart of a brother, Hated the foe with a playing at hate!
Forty years on, growing older and older Shorter in wind, as in memory long, Feeble of foot, and rheumatic of shoulder, What will it help you that once you were strong? God give us bases to guard or beleaguer, Games out to play, whether earnest or fun; Fights for the fearless, and goals for the eager, Twenty, and thirty, and forty years on!
LYNN F. FREE
Head of Compensatory Department 1973 - 1992 Head of Lower School 1979 - 1992
Part-time Teacher (Special Needs) since 1992 2.
Published by: Lynn F. Free, 1996 44 Cleveland Road, Marsh, Huddersfield HD1 4PW. Telephone: (01484) 533383
Typeset and Printed by: Swiftprint, 1996 3-5 Wood Street, Huddersfield HD1 1BT. Telephone: (01484) 513737
Price: £4.95 Proceeds to School Funds
Introduction: Royds Hall - Farm, House, Hospital & School l L921 - 1929 10 1930 - 1939 15 1939 - 1949 23 L950 - 1963 36 1963 - 1973 43 1973 - 1986 (P. Clarkson) 51 1986 - 1996 (S. Bradbury & L. Free) 62
All married names of former students are in brackets.
Grateful thanks are extended to all who have contributed their memories, illustrations or text and to Mrs J. Hearn for her encouragement and help with the preparation of this book.
Front Cover: Entrance of Royds Hall (from a 1920s School Magazine cover)
ROYDS HALL house, farm, hospital & school
Churchill said, “We shape our buildings and our buildings shape us”
The various stages of use of Royds Hall reflected a changing Britain from a predominantly farming economy, through immense industrial revolution in the 19th century, to the post- industrial scene of the 20th century.
Royds Hall began as an important farmhouse in the Paddock and Longwood area and was rebuilt as a mansion, known as Royds Wood, whose philanthropic mill owner served the increasingly industrialised and expanding town of Huddersfield. Some time after the death of its occupant, in response to the demands for medical facilities for the war wounded, it became a Military Hospital in World War I. When this was no longer required it became the first co-educational secondary school in Huddersfield because of the national need for education for 11 to 18 year olds.
There is a wide range of sources available to facilitate the study of the Hall - censuses, directories, estate papers, an obituary, War Hospital magazines, Huddersfield Education Committee Minutes, School Magazines, newspapers and invaluable oral contributions. These primary sources are supplemented by many books from the 19th and 20th centuries covering the history of Huddersfield.
Royds Hall - the house as a farm
Huddersfield was, in ancient British times, a forested area only being cleared on hilltops for settlement, agricultural and defensive purposes. The Romans came only to guard its road from York to Chester where it crossed the Pennines so they built a fort on both sides - Castleshaw in the west and at Slack, near Outlane in the east. After the Romans had returned with their Yugoslav legionnaires to defend Rome, this area of Yorkshire was left to be settled by waves of Angles from the east and Norsemen from the west (via the Irish Sea).
The place-names of the area prove their presence in the Longwood/Colne Valley districts. There is evidence of the Angles (Longwood - long wood and Gledholt = wood of the kites) and Norsemen (Quarmby = settlement by the corn mill, Royds Hall = Hall in the clearing and Longroyd Bridge = bridge by the long clearing). So these show that both groups cleared forest from the hillsides and valleys except for deep, steep-sided cloughs.
Each hall built near tributary streams of the Colne had similar resources:- water from the stream or wells, wood for building, fuel and pasture for pigs and land for growing oats and vegetables and for pasture for cows. In the early 1800s the fields were enclosed by Parliamentary Act.
Royds Hall served its area as a centre and a very small hamlet grew round it so by the mid 19th century there were a dozen houses and two public houses - the Angel and the Royal Oak - forming the western end of Paddock which was described by Carter as being in the 1850s ... “very thinly inhabited. There was only one main street, the “Top of Paddock’ had the Church; all above were green fields and moorland ... we had no gas, the Church and shops were lighted by candles ...” The Church was built in 1829 as a Waterloo/ Million Church - funded by the government to celebrate the victory at Waterloo. Twelve families lived in or near Royds Hall which gave its name to the area. The chief one at the time of the 1851 Census was the Brierley family at the Hall:-
Benjamin Head, 51 yrs. _ Farmer of 6 acres. Born Huddersfield Hannah Wife, 50 yrs. Farmer’s wife. Born Longwood Ellen Daughter, 20 yrs. I Dressmaker. Born Longwood John Son, 19 yrs. Wool Spinner. Born Longwood Sophia Daughter, 17 yrs. I Farmer’s daughter. Born Longwood Joel Son, 16 yrs. Mule Spinner. Born Longwood Benjamin Son, 13 yrs. Scholar. Born Longwood William Nephew, 20 yrs. Woollen Spinner. Born Almondbury Ellen Niece, 16 yrs. Woollen Mule Piecer. Born Manchester
So it can be seen that the farming tradition had been followed for centuries. The agricultural produce would have been taken down to Huddersfield Market at the Cross (which still stands in the town’s Market Place) one and a half miles away.
By the 19th century the Census shows that the inhabitants of the area around the Hall had supplemented their meagre existence (due to sloping fields, thin acid soils and the cold and wet climate with a short growing season) with activity in the textile trade. The occupations listed were all, other than farming, linked with the woollen industry which was still largely based in the cottages. The Ordnance Survey Map of 1846 showed mills operating higher up in Luck Lane in Marsh. The cottages (such as Tinker’s Farm on Luck Lane near Royds Hall) were built, typically of stone with a row of mullioned windows lighting the upper storey where the weaving looms were worked by men and the downstairs was occupied by the wife and daughters spinning (spinsters). The cloth was dried by stretching it on tenters on the slopes on both sides of the road. The woollen cloth pieces were taken on shoulder by foot to the Churchyard of St. Peter’s, Huddersfield originally but by 1760 the Cloth Hall was built (later replaced by a cinema and then by a small Sainsbury’s supermarket) and enlarged in 1780. The street names of Market Street and Cloth Hall Street still survive.
Royds Hall and its few surrounding houses were, therefore, at the centre of a poor farming area and its occupants also were part of the local growing domestic textile industry.
The house as a rich man’s residence, 1866-1904
Huddersfield was growing rapidly due to the Industrial Revolution. The local roads had been mere tracks following the ridges (hence the term ‘highway’) with others crossing the valleys. They began to be modernised through turnpike trusts raising money to employ
surveyors, engineers and labourers to make better surfaces. Royds Hall lay between two - the 1821 (Blind Jack of Knaresborough was in charge of its construction) new Manchester Road to the south and the 1806 New Hey Road to the north both running east/west from Huddersfield. The cross-valley Luck Lane, Longwood Gate, Deep Lane roads ran roughly north/south to link them and passed near the house.
The family who owned the land on which the town was built commissioned the Sir John Ramsden Canal (or Huddersfield Broad Canal) and it opened in 1780 only a few years after England’s first ‘cut’ - the Bridgewater Canal in Lancashire . It also carried heavy goods, which were very difficult to transport on the poor roads even when developed, such as coal and lime.
By 1811, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which was parallel to the River Colne in the valley below the Hall, linked the Broad Canal at Aspley Basin to Lancashire via the Standedge Tunnel.
The railways were encouraged to come to the town - meeting at the station in 1850 so communications were strengthened to all over the country - again lines ran along the Colne Valley. During the first half of the 19th century when these developments were taking place, George Crosland, who came from the Crosland Hill area (to the south of Royds Hall), was guiding his family through the transition of the textile industry from the cottage to the mill. He built mills in the Lockwood and Crosland Moor area (across the valley from Royds Hall, utilising the water of the River Colne and its tributaries to power the machinery. The damp climate helped in keeping the woollen yarns from snapping and the processes in weaving the cloth. When the wool from local sheep was insufficient he imported it from Australia, using road, canal and later rail. Coal for developing steam power in the mills was used later.
He built a new home - Crosland Lodge (now the Crosland Liberal Club) in 1820, and had a large family there. His three sons - Thomas Pearson (who later lived at Gledholt Hall hence T.P. Woods) was an MP, Joseph and Charles - all helped with the mills.
It was Joseph who looked after the machinery side of the mills. He was born in 1826 and married Ann Linton in 1864. He moved into a rented newly built house in the fashionable part of Huddersfield - Bankfield - on the Halifax Road running through Edgerton.
However, he had often seen the old Royds Hall across the Colne Valley from Crosland Lodge before his marriage so he acquired it from Joshua Roberts on 6th January 1866 for sixty years “at a yearly rental of four hundred pounds.” The old house was demolished and a new one named Royds Wood was built on the site. It had features associated with the Crosland family - family shields on some windows and crosses decorating the top of the porch. It was all done in a grand style with hints of French and Italian architecture, grand sweeping staircase, ornate ceilings, wood panelling and spacious reception rooms, large bedrooms, a billiard room, a very large conservatory and “pleasure gardens” with beds and fountain in the Italianate style. Peaches were grown against a heated wall round the kitchen garden. There were stables and a coachhouse. The coachman lived at the Lodge by the gateway of the new drive to Luck Lane. A “gentleman’s gardener” lived Close by. Similar mansions were built nearby and in Edgerton.
Joseph had no children. Besides his business as a wool manufacturer (inheriting wealth from George in 1864), he spent time and money serving Huddersfield-
In 1853 he became President (his father was the first one) of the Chamber of Commerce (now owned by the Technical College) housed in New North Road.
In 1854 he was appointed a Waterworks Commissioner (the first proper waterworks were built in 1828 as Huddersfield was beginning to expand and water was needed industrially by then as well as domestically) and went to meetings in Water Street (now award winning renovated flats). I
In 1863 he was chosen as Chairman of the Lockwood Local Board (Lockwood was then more important than Huddersfield - one mile away - and Joseph had mills there). The Town Hall (now Dixon’s Ice Cream Parlour) was built in 1866 (Huddersfield’s in 1881) He was a councillor for the town from 1869-70).
1866 saw him following his family into the Huddersfield Banking Co. Ltd. founded in 1827. (The 19th century saw a dangerously rapid expansion of banking with the growing demands of industry requiring more individuals lending and borrowing from each other). The bank was at the corner of New Street and Cloth Hall Street at the end of the Brick Buildings erected in the 1750s. The manager there from 1868-81 was Sir Charles Sikes who proposed that the Government started the Post Office Savings Bank for poorer people and who held its No. 1 account. Joseph became Chairman from 1877 to its amalgamation in 1897 with the Midland Bank (which erected a new Victorian domed building. That was replaced by a modern glass structure in the 1970s).
In 1867 he had become an Improvement Commissioner (overseeing developments in housing, health and street lighting which helped remove many of the slum conditions in the town). He also had oversight of Edgerton Cemetery - the public graveyard (one of many allowed to be established in the 19th century) opened in 1855 to alleviate the appalling conditions in the Parish Churchyard where it was so full of nearly 40,000 burials that bones were sticking out!)
He became a magistrate, a Commissioner for Taxes and eventually a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Yorkshire.
He showed his support for both Methodist and Anglican Churches. He laid the foundation stone in 1883 for the Northumberland Street Methodist Sunday School (later used by the YMCA), he helped fund the building of Gledholt Methodist Church in 1890, he gave money to add to the eastern end of the All Saints Church, Paddock and he paid for its new Church Hall and clock.
In the 1881 Census, Royds Wood’s occupants were:-
Joseph Crosland Head, 54 JP West Riding of Yorkshire and Borough of Huddersfield. Born in Almondbury Mary Ann L Crosland Wife, 44 Born in Huddersfield Sarah Wilson Servant, 49 Cook, Domestic. Born in Huddersfield
Marie Bramley Servant, 20 Waiting Maid. Born in Rothwell Mary H. Whiteley Servant, 29 Housmaid. Born in Holmfirth Jenny Siddon Servant, 20 Kitchen Maid. Born in Barnsley
In 1884, there was much talk of founding a Free Library as Huddersfield wished to follow the examples of other Northern towns such as Manchester in providing reading facilities for its growing population which was beginning to be literate after the 1870 Education Act initiated education for all. Joseph wanted to give £1000 for books (average wage was £1.50 a week) and offered to give £5000 to a library if it was housed in the Cloth Hall (which was declining in use since the railways came in 1850 and so much trade was negotiated in London not Huddersfield). The Council turned it down (a library was not built until the 1940s. He therefore diverted these monies to the Huddersfield Technical College which opened in 1894 (he was one of the first governors and made the largest contribution of £5,500) which originated from the local Mechanics Institutes which he had always encouraged. This was a step in the advancement of further education that resulted in the Polytechnic being established in the area round it (the Technical College moved to the Old Infirmary) and this became the University in 1993.
He was a Trustee of the Infirmary (built in 1829) and gave it £1000.
Queen Victoria knighted him in 1889 (her 70th birthday Honours List) for his services to the public. In 1893, he became the town’s MP (as his brother had done earlier), defeating the first editor of the Huddersfield Examiner by 35 votes. He lost his seat two years later. On 28th October, 1898, his own town at last recognised his philanthropic work and made him a Freeman.
For his leisure, Joseph had Wessenden Lodge built to enjoy the grouse shooting above Marsden. He went there for the Glorious Twelfth in August 1904 as he had done for years - the carriages of him and his guests were a common sight processing through Marsden - he took ill and died on 27 August, aged 77 years.
His funeral procession left Royds Wood - shops in Paddock were closed and curtains in houses along the route to Edgerton Cemetery were drawn . The flags at the Town Hall were at half mast. An obelisk marks his grave - his wife and brother are buried nearby.
His obituary ended with the words - “He was an upright man who tried to do his duty”.
This second period in the development of the old Royds Hall site showed how a house, Royds Wood, with its wealthy owner, was an influence on the town. Crosland did not create a special settlement as had Titus Salt at Saltaire, Ackroyd at Halifax and Joseph Hirst at nearby Wilshaw so was not a direct contributor to his workforce. However, they were able to benefit indirectly through his philanthropic work for the town of Huddersfield.
During this period of Sir Joseph’s occupation of Royds Wood there was building activity in nearby Paddock and Longwood where rows of back-to-back and terraced housing were built, many by mill owners and speculators but also much of it by the kind of initiative that was not expected of the working class (see the case of Thornton v Ramsden). Thornton was himself a mill owner whose daughter married Crosland’s brother Charles.
Yet he espoused the cause of workers who had formed temporary clubs in local public houses, such as the Angel or Commercial, with the help of the pub’s landlord to save money weekly, to draw lots when enough money was there for a house and to continue saving until all had acquired one. These schemes were the forerunners of Permanent Building Societies and the homes were called Club Houses such as on Church Street. Ramsden was the gentleman who owned all the land in Huddersfield but only allowed one year leases. Thornton represented these workers who were fearful of their leases not being renewed and therefore losing their hard-earned houses. He kept being defeated in the courts until the House of Lords accepted their concerns and so the one year leases were abolished. The victory was amazing as the Lords would have been expected to back the landowner rather than the working classes.
The workers had also shown their mutual power by forming cooperatives so that their shops served Paddock and Longwood as well as the rest of Huddersfield.
The ordinary people had subscribed, too, to the building of Paddock Methodist and Congregational Churches (different to the funding by the Government of All Saints Anglican Church earlier in the 19th century) .
There is a contrast between Crosland’s history of being born with a silver spoon in his mouth and the efforts of workers who had to pull themselves up by their own boot-straps. Research has not revealed whether the family link with Thornton resulted in Crosland’s sympathy for the workers’ cause. However, his interest in the local Mechanics Institutes and later the Technical College indicated his enthusiasm for the training of the workforce although it would be in the interest of his own mills to do so. Royds Hall therefore existed at the western end of Paddock remote physically and socially from the rest of the inhabitants.
1904 - 1915 - A Period of Transition
After Sir Joseph Crosland’s death the property continued to be run and the house occupied. It was administered by his nephew, Thomas Pearson Crosland. He, with Susannah Haigh Roberts (whose relatives had originally leased the Royds Hall area to Joseph), sold the estate to the Huddersfield Corporation for £17,000 in 1913. This included “...that messuage or mansion house called Royds Hall and the Lodge Stable Coachhouse mistal farm buildings outbuildings gardens plantations pleasure grounds woods and land ... and the public house called the ‘Angel Inn’ ... with the washhouse barn stables and outbuildings and yard thereto belonging. And also those eight cottages or dwelling houses situate near the said Angel Inn and being Nos 4 to 18 Ouarmby Road ... are situate at Royds Hall in Lindley-cum-Ouarmby...”
The Corporation had intended, under the local Acts of Public health 1875 to 1907 and the Housing of the Working Classes Acts 1890 to 1909, to develop the land for “the erection of dwelling-houses, a school for physically defective children, recreation grounds, open- air swimming bath, etc.” As the area was over 50 acres the impact on the rest of Paddock and Longwood would have been enormous. However, international events overcame
this local intention - the Great War started in August, 1914. The first convoy of sixty Belgian men, women and children arrived in the town on 7th October, 1814. Approximately 450 Refugees were eventually accommodated in small houses in the borough and surrounding districts. The public had subscribed a large sum of money for their maintenance but in fact, as the local economy was thriving, they were able to maintain themselves. So a plan to move them to the mansion on the Royds Wood Estate was not required.
1915 - 1921: Huddersfield Military Hospital
The enormous casualty rate in the Great War was horrific - 8 million soldiers died and 20 million were wounded as well as 22 million civilians killed or wounded.
For the British Forces in Flanders, field hospitals coped with all military casualties, kept the worst cases and transported the rest back to ‘Blighty’ .
How were Royds Hall and its surrounding community affected? Some of the men were taken to Military Hospitals speedily built in England; An acknowledgement by some brought to Huddersfield was put in their first annual compilation of articles of their Hospital magazine: - “To our fellow townsmen, who by a fine example of self-sacrifice and patriotism erected this Hospital, without any cost whatever to the War Office, being the first in the kingdom to set this generous precedent’
After money had been raised by pubic subscription (the average worker’s wage was £100 a year), the hospital was built and equipped at a cost of £32,000. The nurses and doctors lived in Joseph Crosland’s mansion, prefabricated wards were built on the front field and round the garden by the local firm of Radcliffes at no profit. It was officially opened in 1915 by Mayor Blamires and his wife who received a golden key from the builders.
Specially converted ambulance trains brought the injured to Huddersfield Railway Station and then ambulances took the men up to Royds Hall. A soldier wrote: “There’s a Hospital in Yorkshire, Royds Hall it is by name; No matter what’s the regiment The welcome’s just the same.”
At first there were 500 beds but, such was the huge scale of casualties at the Front, out- wards were later made at Gledholt and St. James’s Road, Marsh Sunday Schools and from two classrooms at Paddock Council School. By July, 1916 there were 2000 beds as more auxiliary hospitals opened at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Kirkburton Volunteer Aid Detachment Hospital, Holmfirth, Shepley, Honley, Meltham, Lightridge House, Boothroyd Hospital and Spring Hall Halifax.
22,000 cases were treated before the hospital closed in 1919. Sadly, 75 died (albeit the lowest death rate in Military Hospitals in England) and were placed in the mortuary (the long brick building on the edge of the allotments) before being buried. One of these was
one of five Canadians - Private Shearman. He had taken a degree in Vancouver and volunteered out of “the sheer sense of duty and patriotism” to fight in Europe. His body was taken up Luck Lane, through Marsh to Edgerton Cemetery, preceded by a firing party. The Military Band from Halifax played the funeral airs and a very large body of patients from Royds Hall Military Hospital followed. On his gravestone it says: “It matters not how long we live but what kind of life we live.”
The population round Royds Hall was greatly affected by the presence of the wounded soldiers who could be seen, when convalescing, walking in Paddock in the “Hospital Blues’ uniforms. In the summer, a wall along each ward which was made of a softer material could be rolled up and the men enjoyed the sun. Some even tended small gardens outside.
Local families served these men in several ways - by visiting them and taking small presents, giving open-air concert parties to them, inviting them into their homes for a meal and evening entertainment, putting on recreation at their Paddock Conservative Hall and above all hosting visiting relatives in their homes (despite being on low wages and ration themselves). Some soldiers, once sufficiently recovered, were billeted on local residents until fit for return to service.
Nurses were often volunteers and nearby people were used for staffing the hospital in a variety of capacities - cleaners, laundresses, caterers, etc.
The community was, therefore, very involved in the functioning of the hospital and in the maintenance of morale there. The mansion and local area were both of service together.
In 1917, the Corporation released land owned by the Housing Department to be used for allotments to help with the chronic food shortage. The sloping land to the north of Royds Hall drive did not have wards on for the Hospital so it was divided up into plots of 200 square yards each and Paddock people have cultivated them to this day for vegetables and fruit.
In 1919, many of the wards were converted into temporary houses.
In the 1920s the southern part of the estate was built on for Corporation housing, eg: Victory Avenue (named after the World War I victory). This provided low rental, mainly semi-detached housing.
Geoff Lumb notes that in 1920 the mansion was acquired by Messrs. Clayton & Co. (Huddersfield) Ltd. (because of its rapid growth in the Karrier vehicle business) to secure accommodation for 50 workers for the increased number of operators.
1921 - Present Day Royds Hall School
With peace time, the Corporation returned to its intended purchase of the mansion for education purposes. Local education in the 19th century was only slowly available for all.
At Longwood there was a Free School for 40 poor boys and girls endowed by William Walker, formerly of Golcar, in his will of 1731 - but it was for Milnsbridge, Longwood and Golcar.
Also at Longwood a National School opened in 1845. By the 1870s and 80s Board Schools opened - Goitfield and Spark Hall at Longwood and Crow Lane at Golcar. Paddock, New Street, Milnsbridge and Spring Grove Schools were also built so free primary education became universal. This caused Longwood Free School to be rebuilt as a Grammar School in 1880 to teach children of secondary age. Some fees were charged. Other pupils from the area used the Huddersfield College and the historic King James’ School at Almondbury - both boys schools. Greenhead High for Girls opened in 1909. There was an increasing move to provide secondary education. There was also a growing demand for it from girls. So Huddersfield needed more places at the same time as the West Riding Authority wanted some for their areas near Huddersfield such as the Colne and Holme Valleys.
The result was the opening of the first co-educational secondary school in Huddersfield, sharing costs and pupils with the West Riding. The plans for having a school for delicate children were altered and it was to be housed instead at Woodhouse. The result was the closure of Longwood Grammar School under its long-serving Head, Mr Bottom, in 1921. It is now converted into four houses. The Head’s house was, in the 1930s, the centre of a thriving football pools business which later became absorbed by Empire Pools, Blackpool. It is now privately owned.
Royds Hall’s history as a school is written in eight parts:-
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Sir J. Crosland from obituary in the Huddersfield Examiner Royds Hall Estate - 1913
HUDDERSFIELD WAR HOSPITAL
A prize garden - Ward E - 1917
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Wards on front field and fish pond
1921 - 1929
Royds Hall Secondary School opened on 20th September 1921 with a Headteacher, Mr E F Chaney, a Senior Mistress, Miss Caroline E Boden and a Senior Master, Mr Percy Newton, together with 69 boys and girls from Huddersfield and the West Riding. They were housed in the mansion formerly known as Royds Wood. The school leaving age had been raised to 14 in 1918 so there was a growing need for secondary education rather than the extended primary schooling provided in the elementary schools.
The Head’s study was above the porch and rooms A, B and C were along the balcony from there (now the Study is the Secretary’s Office, A is the Head’s Room and B and C are opened up to form an L shaped Staffroom). D, E and F (which had their original fireplaces, F’s having Wedgwood medallions) were below A, B and C and now D is the Bursar’s Office and E and F are today the Resources Area including a Library. All these letters are no longer used but F was still referred to up to three years ago.
The old coachhouse was floored and equipped to make a Gymnasium. It doubled up to be the Assembly Hall but was rather cold. Amy Turner recalls that strains such as “Jerusalem” and, on a fine day, “Summer Suns are Glowing” could be heard in the mornings. Miss Boden bashed out the accompaniment with verve. Mr Chaney would conduct End of Term Mark Readings. Reports were given out to trustworthy pupils to take home but a set of names called Posters were called out so that families of those with poor results would definitely receive them by the Royal Mail.
Boys such as Jack France and Geoff Tattersall had such poor reports their fathers removed them forthwith and so they went to work at 14 still wearing short trousers - but they became a Mill Manager and a Chartered Accountant, training at night at Technical College so their careers belied their lack of academic progress at school.
Joseph Crosland’s Italianate garden was planted with perennials - mainly many coloured lupins - and the fountain (where and when did it go?) was in the centre. Round the garden were still the timber and asbestos huts from Military Hospital days - they housed a domestic science room, the science laboratory, an art room, a classroom and a girls’ cloakroom.
The kitchen was where the far end of the present office is. Here, Mrs Gregory, wife of the caretaker, cooked school dinners such as meat and potato pie, apple pie and ‘splash’. West Riding pupils were given a dinner contract. Others brought sandwiches as they hated being made to eat cabbage. The staff would be served by older pupils at tables with white cloths, the present Head’s mother, Emmie Chippindale, dropped a ginger pudding in Miss Boden’s lap! There was special RHS pottery for the meals, including elegant tureens. Lunchtimes started noisily but soon quietness was established. “Miss L Cookson used to tap us on the shoulders if we didn’t hold our cutlery correctly”.
Mr and Mrs Gregory lived in the corner of the school behind the kitchen. Pupils such as the Freeman girls were thrilled when they had a daughter, Mina (later, as Mrs Beaumont, she became a well known and admired adult-education geology lecturer who sadly died recently). Some of her family attended the school.
In front of the main door was a wide gravel path by a sloping lawn, a group of trees and thododendrons and beyond them a field where boys played during recreation. At the western end of the house was the old kitchen garden with its high (formerly heated) walls with fruit trees and beyond that was the girls’ netball field. To the east of the main garden were tennis courts (under the present rooms 11 to 15).
At the foot of the entrance Hall stairs was a break-time tuck-shop. The prefects sold chocolate bars although pocket money was more meagre in those days.
There was a pond near the school at the top of the front field - much loved and frequented by the children. In science lessons they would dip their nets and take their finds to tanks in the lab. In summer it was often dry and boys crossed it on stones but sank into the foot- deep mud so their boots were caked with it. In spring they would go “taddy hunting” and later, frogs were put in the girls’ desks! The lads sometimes improvised a raft to make unsafe journeys across the water. In winter they often fell in through the ice so were taken down into the boiler room to dry out. Often this was done on purpose as the reading of a Sexton Blake in the warmth was infinitely preferable to lessons. When the pond froze over, pupils would make slides on it. No wonder it was drained in 1928.
Barbara (Palmer) Cartmell says “one of the most outstanding events was Dock Week. The ground in front of the school was overrun with weeds, especially dock, so Mr Chaney announced in Assembly we should each dig up ten docks, complete with roots. We had to show our efforts to our form teacher and our name was then crossed off a list. Later pupils had our generation to thank for pristine playing fields’
Behind the netball courts was a ‘fairy garden’ - with slowly crumbling grottoes and walks. Jack France remembers disobeying orders and walking on top of the big walls to look Over it into that area. A very few traces of stonework can still be seen near the path up to the back field. At lunchtime some girls went to the old warm conservatory that still produced flowers that graced Miss Boden’s room every week.
Alongside the drive from the Lodge Gate near Luck Lane were the prefabricated bungalows of World War I - inhabited for some years after by families because of the acute housing shortage.
Some pupils used to explore the cellars with its passages using a candle, despite being strictly forbidden.
The children were admitted after taking their entrance examination. Those coming at aged 11 sat it at their own junior school. Some, like G. Tattersall and the very first pupil on the register - Frank Ainley, known as Scrap, (who later became the first Head Boy with Sarah Auty as Head Girl) - were already at Longwood Grammar School and were older so they took their tests at the Town Hall.
In the West Riding the examination was for children from 11 to 13 years. Those who were successful were given County Minor Scholarships which covered fees, travelling expenses, cost of books and games fees. Where the need was great, additional maintenance grants were given at the age of 14 to enable promising pupils to complete their secondary training.
Those parents who desired to enter their children as fee-payers had to contact the Head of Royds Hall School about Ist April each year for entry in the following September.
When the new children started, the initiation was to drag them through the prickly hedge.
Uniform soon came in - boys could have brown caps, brown blazers edged with pale blue and ties with horizontal stripes in the two colours. The girls had cream shantung blouses and brown gymslips with the top panel in velvet on which club and sports badges could be sewn and girdles in house Colours were won if in a House Team. Satchels were used to carry books home on pupils’ backs. The Houses were Red, White, Blue and Green (somewhat unimaginative names!)
Games were netball, tennis, hockey, football and cricket. Monthly high jump competitions were organised. Societies were formed - Literary, Debating, Dramatic, Historical and Music. Miss Boden led a School Choir (those who were tone-deaf were called the Crows as they squawked untunefully) . School Magazines were regularly published . Lectures, School Plays such as, “Quality Street”, garden fetes, hikes, trips abroad (Miss Boden and Miss Cookson were so scared of Paris traffic two girls had to take them across the roads) Sports Days and a trip to the Wembley Empire Exhibition were enjoyed . School camps existed even then - the first was to Staithes - most pupils still wore uniform at camp. One girl was not allowed to go in case she got rheumatic fever from lying on the ground.
Margaret (Crowther) Binns recalls that most children walked to school but some came from Marsden and the rest of the Colne valley by train with special contract cards to show the fearsome ticket collector at Longwood Station (now a parcels depot) from Honley. Mary (Starkey) Thornton remembers walking for 30 minutes before getting a train to Huddersfield, then a tram from town to Paddock Head. She had to look lively to catch the 4.10pm or 4.18pm train back to Honley. Others came from Meltham, Clayton West and Kirkburton. The Freeman girls recall the General Strike of 1926 when public transport stopped. They once walked part way home and ten got a lift on a flat-topped wagon and sheltered from the rain under a tarpaulin. When pupils got on the trams it is said that the girls were not allowed by the school to go upstairs as the boys below would see too much!
Mr Chaney, B.A., M.A., was appointed in August, 1921 on a salary scale four times the national average wage (the main body of teachers received twice the average) which rose to five times later which indicates the esteem and status that professionals had at that time. His last teaching post had been at the prestigious Manchester Grammar School. He ruled from his office with its roaring fire with fairness and firmness. He often showed a sense of humour - once dealing with a boy who had offended for a second time by threatening to drop him over the balcony railings! However, Joe Sykes respected him and later himself became a schoolteacher. The Head had a house designed by the famous local architect and lecturer Norman Culley - a brick one, by the entrance to the allotments.
Miss Boden came on Ist September. She was regarded by some as a severe woman, the
girls were in awe of her. She pounced on them if they wore shoes of the wrong colour or did not have a hat on.
On the same day, Mr Newton came to teach Maths and Physics. Despite being very deaf he was an excellent no-nonsense teacher. Six days after the school opened, Miss Winifred Bishop came to teach Physical Education. She stayed long enough to teach three generations. In the days of long skirts she wore a very short gymslip and long black stockings - causing quite a stir with the boys. Gilbert Lawton says, she taught them (“clodhoppers’’) and girls to dance Waltzes, Foxtrots and Valetas to records like “Three o'clock in the morning” - played on a gramophone.
An extra form was made in January 1922 as more prospective pupils took an entrance exam. So other teachers were to follow - Doris Bingley, Ruth Armitage, Edith Cookson (who used to stand outside the girls’ cloakroom to see they put on their gloves. She was a cricket coach and once was hit so badly that she had to have her face stitched), Francis Wilmut, Thomas Green (who married the daughter of Thomas Arthur Lockwood, founder of a national walking holiday organisation, who interested pupils such as Bob Chaney, the Head’s son, in rambling and youth hostelling for life. He inspired the starting of the School Camp to Staithes, Conway and Alston). Then came John Tyas to teach Art (even though he had lost his right arm in the Great War), Annie Watson, Olive Vail, Lois (Edith’s sister) Cookson, who was a domestic science teacher. Girls had to clean the pantry in on of the huts - the soap on the top shelf was hard and curly. There was William Guilbert (known as Guernsey Guilbert - whose suit turned visibly green with age), Henry Diggle (who wouldn’t allow English to be spoken in his French lessons, Mr Berry (who taught the facts of life to the third year), and Mr Airey. Other staff were Harold Bailey, Margaret Waterhouse, George Murray (who married Miss Thackeray), Florence Caruth (who taught the facts of life to the girls - did the boys get such insights?), Hiram Whitwam, Hilda Freeman, Annie Sim, Henry Wilkinson, William Keegan, Frederick Rice, Margaret Whelan (an inspiring music teacher who took groups of pupils to hear the Huddersfield Philharmonic rehearse), Betty Sampson, Constance Thackeray (later Mrs Murray), Grace Pollard, George Smith, Kathleen Goyne and George Moorhouse. Later there was Arthur Wilson (who had shelves to the ceiling with Horlicks jars full of specimens and every lesson without fail he would ask if we knew anyone with an empty Horlicks jar. Where did they all go?) Also, Marian Hamilton, Kathleen Barret and Mary Sheard came. Nine of the twenty had Masters’ Degrees. All the women were Misses mainly because of so many men killed in World War I of their generation.
Because of what was perceived to be “an exceptionally high class lot of teachers”, originally reluctant Colne Valley families sent their children to Royds Hall. The number of scholarships won in the Colne valley was above the average, advantage being taken of the generous policy of the West Riding Education Committee who, in their desire to provide Secondary Education for children who showed sufficient promise, granted such a liberal number of scholarships that at that time the large majority of the children had free places in the Secondary Schools.
Many of the Huddersfield boys and girls preferred to go to Huddersfield College, King James Grammar School or Greenhead High School. However, Royds Hall could soon boast of success as many of their pupils moved on to University - Amy Turner of Oakes and Margaret Freeman of Slaithwaite went together to Newham College, Cambridge. Others were to follow later to Oxbridge.
The school expanded rapidly, soon outgrowing itself. Every bit of accommodation was used. The room now used by Mr Parker was so crammed with desks they had to be moved together to get in and out. As it was above the kitchen it also got very hot.
By 1924 new buildings were started on the old tennis courts and because of a long strike it was not ready in time to house the increase in numbers. The 116 new first years had to be in rented rooms at Milnsbridge Baptist Sunday School. It was referred to as “The Nursery” and at first had no desks or blackboards but only trestle tables. Apprentices continued with the new block . They bet the lads that they could not carry a brick between finger and thumb round the outside of the school. Before one side was negotiated the weight proved too much.
By Easter, 1926 the new buildings were ready - rooms 2 - 5 and 11 - 16 together with an Art Room with large north-facing windows (Room 1) and a large Assembly Hall. New tennis courts were made by the netball area (ie, nearer the west side of the building).
During the decade two pupils died - of pneumonia and diabetes.
By 1924, a 6th form had been established with 5 pupils and was put in the present Head’s Room. The public examination was School Certificate at 16 and the best pupils were awarded the Matriculation.
The School had an Inspection in October, 1926 and was deemed to be satisfactory.
On 29th January, 1927, the first dinner of the newly formed Old Roydsian Fellowship was held. The former boys and girls gradually introduced a range of activities - sporting and social - that kept contact with each other.
John Brierly thought he had committed some misdemeanour when he was sent for by the Head but in fact he was, in 1929, the 1000th scholar to be admitted to the school and was presented with a book.
During the twenties the number of pupils rose from its original 69 to 483 then fell slightly to 460. In May, 1929 24 potential scholars had not accepted a placement, 56 had moved away from the area, 119 left at age 15 and 154 at aged 14 (the normal school-leaving age). This draining away of children whose families had not kept their contract to continue schooling until the age of 16 was a reflection of the economic conditions of the time when youngsters could contribute to the family income when their elders were out of work or in employment that paid low wages. For those who left at 14, they might as well have stayed in elementary schools as their secondary education would have only borne fruit if successfully completed after 5 years. However, recruitment - at the age of 11 - largely kept up the total number in the school.
TEACHING STAFF 1923
Top Row: F- Wilmut, P. Newton, H. Diggle, T. Green, W. Guilbert, J. Tyas Front Row: A. Watson, O. Vail, E. Cookson, C. Boden, E. Chaney (Head), W. Bishop, L. Cookson, D. Billingsley, G. Hutcherson
ROYDS HALL WITH NEW EXTENSIONS
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From the front cover of a 1930s School Magazine
1930 - 1939
The end of the 1920s saw the expansion of the school to 500 but there was still a concern about the loss of pupils from the age of 14. At a Speech Day in the Town Hall when 40 Years On was sung, parents were reminded that the children of the 1930s had thirty times the chance of going to a secondary school than they had had and that the opportunity to Stay on to the age of 16 should be grasped. Also, too few were staying on in the sixth form.
Mr Chaney himself also felt strongly about it but felt the system of the School Certificate let many children down as it was only awarded if five subjects were passed including English, French and Maths (a precursor of the present National Curriculum with core subjects). He felt that “It is a tragedy that roughly thirty per cent of the secondary population of this country should start their career in the world with the slur of failure.” This did not change until 1951. He also maintained that “Matriculation, which was an entrance to University and therefore to so few, was an unfair exam to be imposed on all School Certificate entrants.” This was eventually abolished and the already established Higher School Certificates only were used.
Barbara (Palmer) Cartmell had a West Riding County Major Scholarship at 18 after matriculation - it helped her with uniform, shoes, etc. - and was kept strictly confidential. She, like so many others, said “I was enormously happy during my seven years at Royds. The whole atmosphere seemed good and there was harmony between staff and pupils. It was disciplined and courteous and I found it gave me a good foundation for facing, all too soon, a Second World War.”
In 1930 the front field was finally levelled for football hockey and cricket. Fencing was put up between it and the new houses on Luck Lane. The mortuary in the allotments was converted into and equipped as a Games Hut. A reference library was opened and in it was a bookcase made by the woodwork department for use for a Careers Library. This was very forward thinking and was designed to encourage pupils to stay on longer than 14 years of age and to show that better jobs were available if School Certificate was obtained at 16. In 1934 a teacher was specifically designated as a Careers Master.
A new tradition had started - of going to an annual Church service of thanksgiving for the school. Venues such as the town’s Parish Church, St. Paul’s Church, New North Road Baptist and Buxton Road Methodist Chapels were chosen. Sermons were reported to be boring! Speech Days were held at the Town Hall.
In April 1933, Mr Chaney left the school after over eleven years to become Headmaster of Manchester Central School. The pupils collected to give him a grandmother clock, a filing cabinet and a Waterman’s writing set as he had been so highly regarded. Since he started, the numbers of pupils reached 595 and the staff was 29. This expansion, it was said, “would never have taken place if the hand at the helm had not been a very capable one. the gift of knowing every past and present scholar personally . This personal
touch had been the means of producing and maintaining in the school a friendliness between staff and pupils which made the work of both so much easer and so much more valuable.”
He was replaced by Mr Deniess St. John Cecil Gurney (nicknamed Dan, who was aged 40. He received his secondary schooling in Marseilles, Sixth Form tutoring at the King’s School Canterbury, a History degree and later an M.Ed. at Leeds, a French degree at Poitiers University and, in 1938, took a Diploma in Biblical Studies. He was, therefore, a widely experienced and educated man. After he was widowed in 1938 he eventually married Miss Winifred Large, a teacher at Royds Hall. He had irons on one leg and walked with a pronounced limp. His approach was always detected by the odd sound his lame leg made.
In 1934, unemployed men were recruited by Huddersfield Corporation to level the back playing fields. Previously some football was practised at Lumb’s Field off Jim Lane up Luck Lane.
New pupils were very impressed, on going to assembly, by Bob Chaney (the Head’s son) who played the piano with the brilliance of a virtuoso. The high regard was soon dimmed when it was realised that the instrument was a pianola and so had a mechanical facility for tunes when a handle was adjusted and the pedals worked furiously. After 9.00am Miss Boden took over on the proper keyboard.
Joy Edwards remembered her first day at Royds in 1934. “I and the rest of 1B stood in the entrance with its tiled floor and elegant staircase waiting to be allotted a form room and were wondering whether it would be in the old or the new building. Speculation ended when we were told it would be Room Z. A polite enquiry addressed to a lofty Sth former drew a broad grin and the answer ‘Ha, you aren’t in the school at all - you’re down the drive in the mortuary’. We were led outside and along the drive to a one storey, dingy brick building”.
For one visiting acting company the school had to walk to the Savoy Cinema at Marsh to see the play, “Oliver Twist was because there was severe overcrowding. Numerous requests were made for more new buildings. By 1936 the numbers had fallen to 480 but there was still a great demand for extensions. These were finished in 1939 and completed the quadrangle. The remaining two sides had laboratories and classrooms to replace the old hospital huts which had lasted 25 years. The caretaker moved into his detached new house in the grounds of the school. It started being built in September 1937.
George Hirst remembers the new metal windows with ratchets that never worked. The deep window ledges, however, were good for playing shove ha’penny. One day a hand came from behind and took the penny. He hit it but found it was a teacher’s! He was never punished, however.
Barbara (Pritchard) Free remembers the expense of coming to Royds Hall. However, her
father, who had served in the Army throughout the Great War, applied to the British Legion for help with the cost of uniform. Thankfully, he was successful.
By the mid 1930s another initiation ceremony had developed - new pupils were ‘bumped’.
Tests were given on the first day and rapidly marked so that pupils were assigned to forms. 1A was the class that would take School Certificate in four years, the other three streamed forms sat it after five years.
By 1937, Mr Gurney recommended for many pupils less subjects should be taken for examining at 16 as they were overloaded with work. However, more and more pupils took the exam. Growing numbers stayed in the 6th Form and several of these went on to Training Colleges and Universities including Oxford and Cambridge. About 1935 the school was actually referred to as Royds Hall Grammar School. In 1937 the school passed another inspection.
The uniform continued as before except the ties’ stripes had been changed to diagonal ones. The Old Roydsians had a special uniform supplied by Garner and Mellors of Manchester Road, near the old Grand. Their blazers in 1938 cost 42/- (£2.10) ties were 2/ 11d (14p) and they had their own badges. (Wages averaged £3 per week).
Punishments are recalled as being lines, detentions or even Saturday detentions. Teachers complained about the “slacking off of certain members of the middle school”. Nothing changes!
The tuck shop was selling penny blocks of toffee (one boy broke his on the beautiful fireplace so was admonished accordingly).
One pupil did not take school dinner and returned to Cowlersley at midday. If he stayed he reluctantly ate roast beef, cabbage and potatoes followed by rice pudding. Some ate sandwiches in the gym and there were many customers at a shop in Paddock which did a roaring trade in meat pies and chips. Some pupils preferred frequenting a slaughterhouse in Milnsbridge instead of lessons. What they did there has not been revealed!
In 1932 a pupil died. Also, from November 15 to April 1936 the school was ravaged by a diptheria epidemic which caused absenteeism at its height to be 100. Large numbers of parents took advantage of immunisation which protected against the disease. Sadly, four pupils died. In 1937 the school was closed for one week in January because of ‘flu’.
Extra-curricular activities abounded as before. Walks (such as Id. ride to Marsden, hike to Hollingworth Lake and back via Scammonden) caused boys to be very tired but very happy. Plays such as “Twelfth Night’ and ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ were produced and enjoyed. The Americano Club was formed.
The holiday to an old army camp at Staithes was still popular. Dances were held in the evening. Frank Collins inadvertently steered his partner into a coal bucket but she took it in good part. The visits to Alston Holiday Fellowship Guest House “gave a feeling of independence and there were friendships formed and a loyal team spirit in pupils and staff.”
In a Mock trial Norman Bradbury was accused of murder, Emmie Chippindale was the main defence witness. Years after they married and were to produce Stephen Bradbury who became Head in 1986.
Remembrance Day was observed by having two minutes silence which deeply impressed the children as many had had relatives and teachers who had served in the war (1995 saw an attempt nationally to revive this custom).
During 1935 the school became the proud owner of a wireless set which meant a broadening of horizons educationally. Also, a German Club had been formed in the same year. One of the continental exchanges was to Germany where the group had “a very enjoyable evening” at a Hitler Youth Club. When the German guests came to Royds Hall three flags were flown, the Union Flag, the German Eagle and the Swastika. Little did the enthusiastic Roydsians realise what was ahead when eventually rearming our own country began in 1938 and a Second World War started against Nazi Germany in 1939.
By 1935 games lessons became, for the first time, an integral part of the school timetable. Mr Gurney commented at one Speech Day that, “I do feel that a certain number of the notes I get asking for a child to be excused games have been ‘wangled’ out of credulous parents because the pupil in question thinks that football is a nasty rough game and that he would be better employed doing his homework during the games period so as to be able to go to the pictures in the evening.”
One new society was called “The Margarets”. There were 35 pupils and 3 staff of that name who in 1937 inaugurated it with tea-tables which were decorated with marguerites and each girl wore a pearl (which has connections with the name). By 1996 the name had become very uncommon.
There was a yearlong teacher exchange - Miss Palmer went to Nebraska and Miss Schemal came here. Information to pupils on both sides of the Atlantic continued for some time.
A Gardening Club was formed, a Home and School Association was set up and a Classical Society started.
In 1938, some pupils went to see the launching of the Mauritania (do they know that some of the panelling of one of the liner’s rooms ended up in the dining room of the Nont Sarah’s pub?) Also in 1938 our present Head’s Aunt - Dorothy Bradbury became Head Girl.
In 1939 pupils collected food to send by special ships to people in Spain who were suffering after their Civil War.
Frank Collins remembers that his worst subject was woodwork. He made a drawing for a knife box and showed it to the master who spoke in a very broad accent. “Coom oop to’t front bench everybody, lad ‘ere is meckin a box baht a bottom to it.” - mortification!
Barbara (Pritchard) Free says that “It was attending Royds Hall that made me a socialist. In the second year, one of my friends informed me that her older sister had to leave
school in the third year because she was 14 and the family needed the wage from her. She was a brilliant girl and top in everything. I said ‘How unfair’ and one of my rich pals told me I sounded like a socialist and from then on that is what I was”.
Some staff left during the decade but others arrived to replace them. Percy ‘Buffer’ Bates, Walter Selley, William Gobat (he held art classes at the time and after school; one day his three wheeler was observed hurtling down Luck Lane - minus one of its wheels), Gwen Eastwood, Eileen Thornton, Bertha Forshaw (who married Mr Clark), Gertrude Shaw, Winifred Large (later Gurney), Isobel Stamp (a splendid teacher who married Mr Wood), Beryl Selwood, Henry Wood, Edgar Winterbottom, Leslie Clark (from a school where he had taught James Callaghan and then had Harold Wilson as a pupil so in fact he had the rare distinction of teaching two future prime ministers), Mary Brown, John Barnshaw, Thomas Adey, Ruth Bamforth, then the new Head, Doris Palmer (her exchange Miss Schemal arranged a Christmas party and apple strudel was served and Heilige Nacht sung). Robert Mitchell, Stanley Olley, Christine Syte, Gwengud Ellis, Dennis Marsden and Zora Carson. All were well qualified - five had Master’s Degrees.
Their work obviously had an effect on their charges because Kathleen (Makin) Dyson says, “I remember being so happy during my first week at Royds Hall that I could not sleep and that happiness stayed with me all the time I was there.”
The most notable pupil of the school in the first two decades was James Harold Wilson (1927-32 at Royds Hall).
He was born at a three bedroomed terrace house - 4 Warneford Road, Cowlersley (up for sale 80 years on for £34,000) but a year later moved to nearby Western Road.
When he was seven, after he had an operation for appendicitis, his father, Herbert, took him off on his motorbike and sidecar to London. Harold, flat-capped and skinny stood on Ramsay MacDonald’s doorstep at No.10 Downing Street - a foretaste of the future.
Kathleen (Makin) Dyson, who was four years younger, played with him at his home - she was the bride to his groom. She observes that he had a cherubic face but was round- shouldered.
Even when only aged 9 he talked to his class at New Street Council School, Milnsbridge about his first trip with his mother to Australia to visit a relative and kept meticulous notes in a diary. He also enjoyed watching Huddersfield Town when he was a lad.
In 1927 he went to Royds Hall School and benefited from the generosity of the West Riding as well as from coming from a comfortably well-off family. On a third year form photo he was one of only 3 out of 17 boys who had the Royds Hall blazer. The rest wore crumpled jackets. Seven wore open-necked shirts (a heinous offence nowadays where, despite public belief to the contrary, standards of uniform are much higher).
Freda (Winter) Barker corresponded with Wilson after he’d retired. He remembered as she did, that they took a duster and a tin of polish to school. Every Friday afternoon,
during the form period, they had to clean and polish their desks. He noted that, “I am afraid one was judged by the shine!”
He won a competition for the Yorkshire Evening Post for “My Hero.” As he was a keen member of the Milnsbridge Scouts and later became a King’s Scout he chose Baden Powell as his subject. The prize was 5/- (25p).
Harry Cliffe remembered Wilson was top in Latin, French and History and was always in the top three in class and that he was very interested in the political leaders of his day. John Bradbury (the present Head’s uncle) commented that Harold was “A big swot” and that “He worked a lot harder than most of us. Yet Jessie Hadfield was by far the brightest in the class. He tried very hard at sport but was not outstanding.” Barbara (Palmer) Cartmell says, “He had an outstandingly good brain and seemed to leave the rest of the class behind in almost every subject.”
Joe Sykes’s main claim to fame was that he gave the younger housemember, Harold, “the biggest telling-off that has ever received at the school. I told him a few home truths about his pathetic display as goalkeeper in an inter-house soccer match.” Gym was done in short trousers with braces and shirts with rolled-up sleeves - no changing or showering!
Harold wrote twice in the school magazine - once of his experience of the school choir and also of another trip to Australia - to the Kalgoorlie gold mines. He appeared in several school plays. Mr Newton commented that, “He was a very good mixer, he loved argument and conversation, was very well liked all round, was in the debating society and was always well behaved.” He always thought Wilson would go in for the Arts. Raymond Gledhill said that Harold “intended to enter the Diplomatic Corps or the Consulate Service.” When asked what this could lead to, Harold replied, “One day I might be Prime Minister.” Wilson in 1966 recalled writing an essay at school in which he imagined himself as Chancellor of the Exchequer - imposing a tax on gramophone records (not that he had any). Frank Collins travelled to school each day with him in Harold’s father’s Austin 7, later changed to a fibre-bodied Jowett” (rare to have a car in those days). Mr Wilson would drop us off in Lowergate and we walked the remaining distance to school. He was a good talker - never short of a subject but usually football or politics. In those days he was strongly Liberal (he came from a Liberal family) and although I never developed anything like his enthusiasm for politics he may have had some influence in causing me to become a lifelong Liberal myself. I remember my mother asking him what he would like to be in later life when he visited us once and out it came pat - “I’m going to be a Prime Minister.”
Harold went camping with the scouts in Holland where he practised some Esperanto he had learned. At another camp, near Honley, when he was 14 he bought a bottle of milk from a nearby farm. A few days later he and his friend were rushed to Meltham Isolation Hospital - victims of typhoid fever. He was very ill indeed and at one stage it was thought he would die but recovered. His grandfather remarked to Harold’s father, “Herbert, that lad’s been spared for summat”’.
In 1932, he passed his School Certificate and matriculated with three distinctions.
His father had lost his job in the Depression as Works Chemist in charge of the Dyes Department at Huddersfield’s L.B. Holliday & Co but he eventually found work in the Wural so Harold transferred to the Grammar School there and later to Oxford University where he had a brilliant academic career and became a lecturer.
From 1941-44 he was Director of Statistics in the Ministry of Fuel, in 1945 he was assistant to Sir William Beveridge in outlining plans for the Welfare State. He also became Labour MP for Ormskirk and became Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Works followed by Secretary of Overseas Trade. He became the youngest cabinet minister since 1806 in 1947 when he was President of the Board Trade from which he resigned in 1951 over health cuts. After Gaitskell’s death in 1963 he was elected Labour Leader. In 1964 he became Prime Minister and this continued after the 1966 election. In 1970, Labour was beaten but in February and October 1974 Labour won both elections and again he was Prime Minister. In 1976 he suddenly resigned and was knighted. He stayed in the Commons until 1983 when he was created Lord Wilson of Rievaulx. He died in 1995.
Harold Wilson never forgot his roots - keeping in touch with old friends in Huddersfield with schoolfellows from Royds Hall and with the school itself. Barbara (Pritchard) Free says he came in 1934 as an 18 year old and spoke to the school and asked the pupils to celebrate his scholarship to Oxford.
In 1947, 1966 and 1974 - he presided at Speech Days. Mr James recalls the large numbers of security men swarming around the Town Hall. At one he urged the pupils, “not to think that life ended when they left school but to realise that there were even happier days ahead. My only word of advice to you is to profit by the great facilities available at this school by becoming aware of what was going on in your town, nation and in today’s world.”
In 1961 he came to the 40th birthday reunion of the school and in 1977 he came to meet his former class mates at a dinner organised by Gilbert Eagland where Peter Clarkson (Head 1973-86) says he recalled every name and nickname.
He then visited the town on other occasions such as the centenary of the Longwood Sing. In 1966 he became a Freeman of Huddersfield
Mrs Eileen Twigg recalls “my favourite memory of Royds Hall is of the first time I took a small party of fifth formers to the Houses of Parliament. We duly arrived at St. Stephen’s Entrance, only to find that there was a hitch and the then M.P., Ken Lomas, who was due to meet us had been unable to do so. Without him, or the necessary documents, we could not be admitted.
We were beginning to feel very downcast when suddenly all was smoothed in our path and a guide appeared to admit us and escort us on this most fascinating of tours.
When we reached the Central Lobby all became clear. There waiting to meet us was the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, himself a former pupil of Royds Hall. I had written to tell him that we were coming, much more in hope than expectation and despite his having been at an all-night sitting, he was duly there.
All eyes were on us as other school parties went past and I can still remember the pride I felt that it was only the pupils from Royds Hall who were talking to the Prime Minister in the very centre of the Houses of Parliament.
Mr and Mrs Peter Clarkson attended the memorial services to Lord Wilson of Rievaulx in
London and Huddersfield so finalising nearly 70 years connection between the former Prime Minister and his old school at Royds Hall.
SCHOOLBOYS AT SPEECH DAY AT HUDDERSFIELD ROYDS HALL TOWN HALL, 1966
James Harold Wilson (2nd from right) with Harold Wilson, Prime Minister, receiving presentation from Bronwen Wilfred Moore, Gilbert Eagland and Harry Lewis Townend. Kenneth Lonas, MP, is seated behind and left of Mr Wilson
SC L MAGAZI
Safe in the shelter
1939 - 1945
When World War II was declared on 3rd September, 1939, Royds Hall Grammar School was not allowed to reopen until provision had been made for the safety of children and staff during possible air raids. So there was a delay of several weeks whilst shelters were dug for the Lower School on grounds in front of the main entrance. They were brick built with metal doors.
The Upper School were allocated ‘billets’ - ie, two or three pupils to each house along Victory Avenue which had Anderson Shelters in their gardens - habitable holes in the ground with arched corrugated iron roofs which were covered with soil and turf - sufficient to withstand blast and falling debris. There was air-raid drill along the lines of present- day fire drill. Notices were in each classroom giving procedures on hearing the air-raid sirens and routes to ‘safety’. Pupils were sent home if they arrived at school without their gas masks which were carried in square cardboard boxes. Teachers were in charge. All took coats and gas masks to the shelters. When the All Clear siren sounded, pupils were called to so that they emerged and returned to school. Donald Crosland remembers that pupils were hard of hearing and arrived half an hour late on the pretext “we didn’t hear anyone call”. The Daily Express published photos of the school during such practices.
Some pupils had to shelter at a Paddock Head Public House! Some were designated to the cellars of the school.
The first air-raid turn out was on 17th October but it turned out to be a false alarm as someone had been misled by hearing Mrs Gregory’s vacuum cleaner!
Mike Shaw observes that, ‘the air-raid shelters were never used as far as I know, for the purpose they were built but put to extensive use for much more frivolous pursuits during which I learned more about the human anatomy than in a whole term’s biology lessons. Joyce Edwards says the shelters were “full of frogs and on occasion these were collected by some of us and hidden up the chimney and behind the dozens of samples Mr Wilson the Geography master had collected. You can imagine the hilarity when they decided to come out in the middle of a lesson”. Reg Edwards said that in the 60s he broke both wrists when he fell off one of the old out-of-bounds shelters. He was publicly held up at an assembly as an example of what could happen if school rules were not obeyed.
Sandbags were placed in strategic positions and sticky tape put on windows to reduce the effect of blast. Between the school and Victory Avenue, a large circular concrete base was made on which stood an EWS (Emergency Water Supply) tank filled with water in case water mains were broken through bombing and firefighters needed water if incendiary bombs dropped. The base is still there.
Donald Crosland remembers his father, who had been on duty at a First Aid Post at night returning home as he was getting ready for school. “They’ve dropped a bomb on Royds Hall,” he said. “Good,” he thought, “I'll go and survey the ruins and then get sent home”. When he arrived all looked intact but he found that an incendiary bomb had come through
the glass roof of the dining room (now the Concourse) straight through a table and then the floor - three neat holes - and burnt itself out in the ground. Later he and others went looking for shrapnel (bits of bomb) but Mr Gurney took them and admonished the boys.
Buckets of sand (to smother such bombs) and water (with stirrup pumps) were scattered around inside the buildings. Teachers volunteered to man the school at night as fire- watchers. Miss Boden was one of them. A few years ago a handbag of hers was found in the underdrawing of one of the attics by some workmen. Amongst the letters, a copy of her timetable, a half-ticket for the Savoy Cinema at Marsh and her school term dinner contract of £1 16s. Od. (£1.80) were found and there were details of another fire-watching rota she was on in Imperial Road, Edgerton, where she lived. So in addition to being in charge as Liaison Officer No 1099C at the school she helped one in four nights near her home which had a supply of sand and water as well as a rake and where downstairs was to be used as an ambulance room. She received various profound instructions including “When sirens go, jump to it outside and await developments.” It is amazing that she was ever awake enough during the day to teach! Also “Be prepared to see severe wounds. Be courageous and keep your head. Keep your mind on your duty to your injured fellow
She also had a recipe for Oatmeal Biscuits so readers may like to try it:-
2 oz medium oatmeal Mix oatmeal flour, salt bicarb. 2 oz flour Rub in marg. 1/2 oz. marg. or lard Mix to stiff dough with water 1/4 teasp. salt Roll out thinly - flour board with pinch bicarb. soda flour and oatmeal boiling water to mix Bake slowly tll dry and crisp.
Because of the ban on lighting that showed from outside which would reveal the location of a town, there was a blackout. As the whole school could not possibly be curtained, lessons had to finish earlier in the winter (which caused no grief to the pupils) for some time. There had to be an abandonment of society meetings for the early part of the war but they were revived later (even the German one) in a weekly society period. Fora long time there were no plays, Christmas parties or dances. The Roydsian Fellowship also reduced their activities. The music for the School-Home Association was continued with old and new pupils and staff giving recitals in various pupils’ houses. The annual Church Services were suspended. Speech days were not held in the Town Hall again until March, 1945.
The four times a year ‘Roydsian’ - the school magazine - faced difficulties because of the severe paper shortage which caused it to appear only two or three times each twelve months, with less pages and to put up the price because of rising costs. It also used only one colour instead of three. Nevertheless, it sold well and was avidly read. Some of the articles took on a military theme as a few were on Torpedoes, Magnetic Mines or Aircraft. Cartoons were drawn of Hitler and Mussolini. At the beginning it ran a competition, “How to win the War in Six Months. Suggestions were quite obviously unsuccessful. An Air Training Corps (ATC) was formed as Flight No. 630 at the Huddersfield College on New North Road (now part of the Technical College) on the 1st February, 1941 as Royds Hall did not have enough boys of the required age. It supplied 16 out of 90. They went
on parades, learned the Morse Code, did gymnastics and studied navigation. They eventually had uniforms.
The boys of the Upper School followed the instructions of the wartime posters “Dig for Victory” by giving up their games periods for some time to cultivate the 2000 sq. yards of kitchen gardens (now where the back higher car park is) to grow potatoes, swedes, cabbages and cauliflowers for school meals. Tomato plants were put in the greenhouse and their fruit sent to soldiers in local hospitals.
By 1941 the gardening efforts were stopped because of lack of manure. Milk was served every day to pupils. Food was scarce so the tuck shop suffered and had long queues and yet Terence Smith thought the school dinners were “great” at 5d (2p a week). However, he frequented a bakery at Paddock Head where he would part with a ha’penny “to feast on a fresh baked morsel.” By 1942, because of the war, half of the school stayed for school lunch.
Sadly, Mrs Gregory, who had cooked the meals, left in 1943 to be a housekeeper at a vicarage and Mr Gregory became the caretaker of the school and church - all at Paddock. He had done sterling work at Royds and his stock book contains a meticulous record of every tool used in the school kitchen, dining room and garden. It must have been a very time-consuming job as he records 19 varieties of brush - nail, clothes, lavatory, blackboard, kitchen, range, scrubbing, flue, window, sweeping, hard dusting, garden, radiator, wall, yard, kleenoff, feather, pipe, carpet and hearth brushes!
Many girls and some boys made squares for blankets and comforts for the people in the forces such as mittens and scarf helmets - at the Knitting Club for half an hour a week and at home.
Clothes were collected for Belgian and Danish refugees.
By 1941 evacuees had arrived from various parts of the country including London, Kent, the Midlands and Bristol They were warmly welcomed, They recorded their impressions. “T prefer to live up here as the people are more homely ... here everyone is willing to be friendly ... we owe a lot to the people of the district of Huddersfield for taking us in from the bombed areas ... it is nice to sleep in a bed once more after spending nights for many weeks in a shelter ... the thing that amuses me most here is the funny words some people use ... wherever I look I see ugly mill-chimneys and dirty stone houses ... the countryside is bare and rugged ... how kind everybody has been to us ... the biggest difference is the dialect . I noticed the fellowship between people.” In 1944, these pupils returned home.
Christine Drake recalls the Allied invasion of France “It was school dinner time and the whistle blew. Silence was called for by the teachers on duty. The radio was put on for us all to hear the momentous news as we sat and listened to a very long broadcast. It was D- Day.”
School visits to Staithes and the Lakes were replaced by Harvest Camps at Bardsey, near Wetherby - very hard work for long hours in the fields - supplementing the Land Army
(women) and, later on, prisoners-of-war. The evenings were enjoyed as there were sing- songs and billiards. Also some pupils went to other parts of the country to do fruit picking.
Money was raised to buy wool and to give the Red Cross in Russia, Huddersfield Air Raid Victims Fund, Huddersfield Spitfire Fund, Blitz Victims in Coventry, War Weapons Week, Huddersfield Warships Week, Wings for Victory Week, Salute the Soldier Week and Thanksgiving Week. Through the Ship Adoption Society, three Allied ships were linked to Royds Hall. The first was Merchant Vessel Erodona that sank in a skirmish involving the German ship, ‘Bismarck’. Another by 1942 was a Free French one - SS SN.A10 under Captain D Cadoz. The closest bond was with the Danish Ship SS Mano under Captain Hans K Pederson. The school sent his 130 men soap, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, playing cards, jigsaws and books. The boys made oak pipe racks and smoker’s cabinets for each captain. Pupils visited the ship when it docked near Birkenhead. Later £350 was raised to buy 41 emergency rescue kits and 71 knitted articles. The Captain visited the school and went to every class and to assembly. Betty Holmes remembered learning the Danish National Anthem and recalls every word: “King Christian stands besides the mast in smoke and mist etc.” Captain Pederson was awarded the OBE as the ship had saved 41 survivors on its way back to Africa, having risked great danger as it had fallen out of convoy to do so. In September, 1944, there was an explosion on the ship near Iceland. The Captain, who had been torpedoed twice in World War I had to be persuaded to leave his ship after 40 hours. He had broken ribs. A British destroyer came to save the men so they swam to it. As he was climbing aboard, a great wave struck him against the ship and his ribs punctured his lungs so he died. He was buried in Iceland and was greatly mourned by the school.
Letters were written by pupils to Old Roydsians who were in the services and they wrote to the school. Movements of the forces had to remain secret so reports of some former students would say such as “Frank Collins is in the Royal Ordnance Corps somewhere near York.” Some Old Roydsians became Bevin Boys and worked in the coal mines. The first visitations to the school by old pupils in uniform were in 1942 - by two girls from the WAAF and ATS.
Sadly, news of the wounded, of missing men, prisoners of war and of those who died came through. The first was Sgt. Walter Mannion, MM, of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment who was killed in action on 31 May, 1940. Warrant Officer J Lloyd Armitage, DFC, died in a bombing operation. Lieut. J T Livesey was killed in his tank in action in Tunisia in 1943. Another death was Flight Sgt. GA Briggs in 1944. Others such as Sgt. Navigator L E Taylor, Flight Sgt. R Broally and Sgt. Philip Parkin died on active service. Flight Sgt. Kenneth Stephenson crashed in his Lancaster in Sweden where he was buried with Service Honours. Sgt. Pilot Tom Whiteley was killed in action with Glider Forces. Others may also have been killed and the school wishes to receive information about them so that they may be remembered too.
Freda Akeyroyd of the 5th year wrote in 1945:- But now the battle’s fought, the fight is won, And peace has come unto the weary world, But still remains the everlasting grief For those who died to make the nation free.
The skies are blue. The sun will shine The bitterness of war shall be no more; And birds are singing once again in fields Which have been sodden with the blood of men.
The school therefore, experienced a very different life to that of the peacetime years.
The school was less crowded than in pre-wartime due to the opening of the new extensions which completed building around the quadrangle and removed the last traces of the World War 1 prefabricated building that had lasted 25 years. They were still being furnished and equipped after the war started. Also, numbers by 1941 had dropped to 437 (perhaps due to the need for labour and therefore greater recruitment of 14 year olds). However, there was an imbalance of 191 boys and 246 girls. So one form went through five years as all girls! Jean (Woodhead) Earnshaw was a ‘late developer’ and joined Royds Hall at Easter 1941. For that summer term the special class of 12 did nothing else but English with Mrs Edith Cookson, French with Dan Gurney and Maths with either Mr Wilmut or Freddie Rice.
By 1942 numbers had increased due to the evacuees to 481. Again, with so many girls, the assemblies, where girls were on the left and boys on the right, saw some girls on the right as well! In September, 1941, the second generation of Roydsians came - Norah Mettrick, daughter of Sarah Auty and Evelyn Booth’s Doreen Oxley. One girl A Tweed did the unusual and left school for nine months to work in an office but returned to enrol in the Sixth Form.
Jean (Singleton) McNeil recalls the difficulties in having school uniform because of cloth shortages and the introduction of clothing coupons. Some garments were acquired second hand. Others were bought to last for years by starting with gymslips very long and were extremely short by the time she left. Blazers by then had the pupil’s house colour in a strip across the top of the pocket. Beige socks or long brown stockings and brown lace- up shoes were worn. Jean particularly remembers having to wear her brown knickers which were the only nether garment in PE. They were worn with white shirts on Sports Days. There were strict rules about hair and Jean was thoroughly embarrassed when Miss Lois Cookson shamed her in front of the class by saying, “This girl has ruined her hair” - when her plaits had been cut off. Her family paid three guineas (£3.15) a term for books.
Hilary (Clough) Sykes lived near Golcar and had the West Riding school pass. She sometimes still went home for lunch. Donald Crosland, who like Hilary, travelled by train says there were, “regular battles between them and the staff at Longwood Station - who rightly insisted we show our season tickets. We, with the logic of youth and superior numbers, felt that as they knew we had tickets they were being officious. One morning they were ready for us, with luggage trolleys barricading one door and two ticket inspectors wedged in the other. Despite our pushing and shoving they got us through in single file each showing the necessary card. Then they pounced on the last two and hauled us into the office. There they took our names and addresses and made us sign an official form. They gave us a stern lecture (even though we had our passes) and said Right, you have
just signed to say you will deliver this parcel to Mr Gregory. Now hurry up and see the package is delivered or you will be late for school!”
In 1944, Miss Boden retired after 23 years as Senior Mistress. Her pupils wrote of her: “She has occupied a position involving much responsibility and hard work with dignity and ease. She was ready and willing to tackle any problems and could be relied upon to give a sane and balanced opinion. She had the virtue of strict impartiality. She was always kind and gracious. She had the faculty of imparting knowledge in an original and interesting fashion.” She was presented with a cheque and a bouquet. Mrs Bamforth took over Miss Boden’s post.
During the 1939-45 period there was no record of the war with Japan in the Far East. It has often been called “The Forgotten War”. Surely, Old Roydsians must have been involved. All the memories have concerned only the war in Europe and its affects on the life at the school.
Again, in this period there were changes of teachers. Some masters left to join the Forces leaving a staff that became predominantly women. There was even an occasional married one! The new ones were:- Elsie Hoyle, William Poulter, Hilde Guthman (strange to see a Germanic name in wartime). At aged 9 - 18 she had studied in Germany, at 20 she studied in Switzerland and by 25 she had joined the school. She was noted for throwing chalk at pupils! Also Margaret Thomson, Phyllis Binstead, Doreen Norris, Cecil Gill, Fred Barker, Olive Rowland, Lucy Haynes, Ida Beck, Mary Ashworth, Harry Baxendale, Arthur Webster, Ernest Mills, Sylvia Bowes (later in 1949 she married and became Mrs Cunningham) and Harry Hardman. Three had M.A:s.
During these difficult years, Mr Gurney expressed the hope that Royds Hall would continue
to train her sons and daughters for the great task of citizenship. The record that is shown on these pages indicates that his wish was fulfilled.
1945 - 1949
In 1944. R Butler guided the Education Act through the war-time coalition government. This produced a three tier system of secondary schooling (grammar, technical and secondary modern schools). These were to replace the old elementary schools of 5 - 14 year olds with only a few pupils being selected to go to secondary schools. The school- leaving age was raised to 15. In Huddersfield, the secondary schools were traditional ones like Almondbury Grammar School (King James) or Greenhead High, a recently established Grammar school - Royds Hall or those with a technical bias such as Hillhouse or Longley Hall.
After 1944 change occurred very gradually in Huddersfield and wasn’t completed until near the end of the next decade. So most secondary age pupils still stayed in the old elementary schools. Selection to the secondary schools also remained the same. The West Riding areas which Royds Hall served kept the old procedures but added another - for appeals administered by a local board.
Staff appointed “temporarily during the war for a period not exceeding the duration of hostilities in Europe” were often kept on after 1945. Black-out material was allowed by Huddersfield Corporation to be used in schools however they liked. Older pupils were permitted to be released before the end of the Autumn term to help with postal work at Christmas. Replacing dining-room table-cloths was too expensive so American cloth (a material with a wipeable surface) was purchased.
Miss Edith Cookson attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace because of her work as Secretary of the Huddersfield Schools Saving Association. The Ship Adoption Society sent Capt. Britten in 1946 to speak at the School’s Speech Day. He gave “a glowing account of our efforts in helping the Merchant Navy.” In 1947 Capt. Branton of SS Tachee wrote to school narrating the ship’s exploits in the Gulf of Aden, particularly at Abadan where Britain‘s oil refinery was taken over by the Iranian Government. In 1949 links were with Capt. McCausland of the SS Lachlan and Capt. Branton, who had moved to the SS Vacport.
The time-table cancelled society periods as pupils could now attend after school. The Gardening Club transferred its attentions from growing vegetables to mowing grass and tending, roses in the school’s quadrangle garden . In 1946, some Old Roydsians went to London’s Central Hall to see the year old United Nations Assembly at work. (It later was housed in new buildings in New York). Many senior boys, after gaining their Higher School Certificates went straight into the Forces to do their National Service for two years. Others deferred it until after going to College. It was not until 1949 that Christmas parties were resumed.
Paper was still in very short supply and was extremely expensive so the school magazine could only be produced once a year.
1947 was a particularly severe winter. It was exacerbated by shortages of coal and elderly
railway stock which resulted in power cuts. In Huddersfield there was intense cold and prolonged blizzards. From mid-January to March many roads were blocked so pupils found it difficult to reach school from some parts of the Colne Valley. A day off was granted when the boilers cracked.
Royds Hall yet again suffered a shortage of accommodation. The top floor of the old house was in 1945 brought back into use - extra desks and chairs were supplied. By 1948/9 the Horsa brick buildings were beginning to be erected for use as a dining room and kitchen.
The life of the school continued to provide interest for the pupils.
On 20 November, 1947 there was a day’s holiday to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (made by George VI into the Duke of Edinburgh, afterwards known as Prince Philip). Also in 1948 there was the Silver
Wedding of the King and Queen Elizabeth. In November, 1948 Prince Charles was born
so the Christmas holiday started a day early to mark the occasion.
Terence Smith remembers Mr Wilson who would “lecture us on the policy of the day by condemning the then (1948) new National Health Service”.
In 1946 the grounds between the school and Royds House (which stood by Reinwood Road) were levelled to make more playing fields.
There were many visits to concerts and plays in the Town Hall and Theatre Royal Huddersfield and at venues in Bradford and Leeds.
Mr Williams was appointed by Huddersfield to become a musical director (the present system of youth choirs, bands and orchestras in Kirklees descends from this initiative and his excellent work). Royds Hall choir participated in 1947 in the Huddersfield Secondary Schools Music Festival in conjunction with Almondbury, Hillhouse, Longley Hall, the College and Greenhead) .
Basketball was introduced in 1948 by Mr W Chippindale (uncle of the present Head) who brought the idea with him from his experience of it while serving in the Forces.
Carl Jackson remembers “being ‘initiated” by being thrown into the holly bush and also he recalls “Mr Evans unerring accuracy with a piece of chalk when he needed to get your attention. Both would be no-no’s today but he was the best teacher at motivating me”.
Two other pupils record their vivid memories of their time at Royds Hall:-
Firstly, Mike Shaw (known to many as a retired journalist and still a contributor to the Huddersfield Examiner) notes:
“It was a misty September morning in 1944 when I plodded hesitantly up the long drive
leading to what was then Royds Hall Grammar School. I was alone and apprehensive as I made my way towards the school buildings which began to take shape amid the gloomy
greyness. It was a daunting walk into the unknown by a young boy who knew, as a scholarship pupil from the tiny Colne Valley school at West Slaithwaite, that there would be no others from his old school to keep him company. So the trolley-bus journey from Marsden, changing at Longroyd Bridge, was made without the reassuring presence of a companion making a similar foray into a whole new world.
A brand new brown satchel dangled from my shoulder to match the equally pristine tie in the blue and brown Royds Hall colours as I walked on past the playing fields. It all looked incredibly vast, coming from a hillside school whose pocket-sized playground doubled up as an arena for both cricket and football. Although I didn’t know it then, of course, the cricket and soccer fields at Royds were destined to be the stage for some of the happiest days of my school life; especially the cricket ground, where on a balmy summer’s day I had the satisfaction of taking two catches before lunch in the staff versus school match.
The newish looking building on the left, I was to discover, housed on the ground floor the laboratories where experiments in chemistry and physics left my head spinning as I fought a hopeless battle to grasp even the elementary scientific basics. Beyond the imposing facade of what used to be a private mansion was an equally impressive entrance hall.
Inside, tucked away in a cosy little corner was the classroom of Mr Wilson, the geography master, who kept us entertained for hours with tales of holidays in faraway places - complete with detailed instructions on how to avoid getting sunstroke.
At the top of the grand staircase was the domain of Pete Newton, the hard-of-hearing maths wizard whose dry sense of humour surfaced with his invitations to ‘ join my little tea-party’ when he really meant we were being kept in after school. His sense of humour was as dry as the tickly cough which punctuated his lessons with an irritating frequency. He also wore an old-fashioned hearing aid that let out some weird whistling noises when he turned up the volume control in his waistcoat pocket. But for all his little idiosyncrasies, Pete Newton was both a shrewd judge of character and a first-class teacher, He had me taped by the end of the first term I was taught by him. ‘Apt to rely on others’ he wrote in my report book. Which was a rather kind and perfectly true way of saying that I frequently copied homework from one of my mates who was a much better student of mathematics. His teaching ability was superb. In my own case he achieved what I believed to be impossible. Not only did I pass my School Certificate exam in maths but I was awarded a credit into the bargain.
Physically, the tall, lean Mr Newton was poles apart from Mr Barker, who for a time also taught us mathematics. Mr Barker, better known to us as Benny, was a genial chap whose girth was only marginally smaller than today’s heavyweight politician, Sir Cyril Smith. In those days when few teachers had cars, one of the big attractions for pupils who arrived at school early was to watch Benny roll up in his shiny black motor. After parking outside the main entrance, it took an immense effort and usually two or three minutes to extricate himself from the driving seat. When he eventually managed it, he may just have been able to hear the cheers from a crowd of pupils peering eagerly through the corridor windows.
Buffer Bates retired after teaching me in physics for only one year. He was a gentle old soul who stands out in my mind mainly for his habit of lunching on sausages which he cooked in a frying pan over a bunsen burner.
If ever Royds had a teacher in the mould of the fictional Mr Chips then “Teddy” Gill who succeeded Mr Bates was that man. Not for him the strong-arm tactics employed by some of his contemporaries. He was by nature a kindly, understanding man who gained respect and results from his pupils without recourse to wielding the big stick. Even the most disruptive element in our ranks melted under the influence of his subtle persuasion and dry humour. As a lover of football and cricket, which he had played at league level in his younger days, he was a shrewd judge of ability and was always ready to offer encouragement and advice. It was rumoured he had once been a star batsman and I must confess to a tinge of sadness as I caught him out at square leg when he had scarcely got off the mark in the staff versus school match. Among our age group, and I suspect many others, he was regarded with a degree of affection extremely rare in teacher-pupil relationships. There was nothing artificial about Cecil Hall Gill, to use his full name. He was truly one of nature’s gentlemen. After his retirement I bumped into him often in the town centre. It was typical of him that he not only remembered the names of my contemporaries but invariably asked about their whereabouts and their fortunes in life. There was a feeling of genuine sorrow when I learned of his death in February , this year (1996), at the age of 87. He will be mourned, I am sure, by many more Old Roydsians who remember him with gratitude and goodwill.
During my five years at Royds we had a number of very young teachers and at least two of the younger members of staff came straight from university or College. One whose name eludes me was an incredibly bad teacher of German, who lasted only a short time when it was discovered she was incapable of exercising any sort of control over her pupils. The other was a petite and most attractive teacher who sent us fourth-form boys into raptures when she sat on a chair on the dais with her short skirt scarcely concealing her shapely thighs. Her name was Miss Kingston but word soon went round on the classroom telegraph that her first name was Helen. So when she set us the task of writing a job application letter, practically every boy in the class addressed it: “Dear Helen”.
The headmaster in those days was Mr Gurney whose dreaded office was just along the upper corridor from Mr Newton’s classroom. Although he had irons on one leg, he was not slow to let the recalcitrant children know there was nothing artificial about his ability to wield the cane.
Connected to the main building by a little wooden tunnel stood the gym block, scene of many an early-morning nightmare as the PT master, ex-Fartown rugby player Ernie Mills, slumped head in hands. It was rumoured that Ernie had an evening job as a club steward. True or not, he clearly suffered badly from hangovers in the opening couple of periods before slowly recovering with the help of black coffee. Silence was apparently also essential to his recuperative repose on the bench. So the daily dozen was transformed into the daily hundred as we quietly went through our exercise routine. And he always had his infamous black slipper close at hand if some misguided youth was foolish enough to disturb his meditation.
Alongside the gym were the tennis courts whose high walls provided a convenient but not completely secure hiding place for surreptitious smokers seeking a quick drag at break-time.
School speech days in Huddersfield Town Hall were exactly that. Words,words and more words as hundreds of restless children and an even bigger contingent of mums and dads, were forced to sit through the endless spiel. Glued to our seats we were. But only because we were sweating so profusely on the tiered platform. After a dress rehearsal earlier in the day, we had to line up for a full-scale inspection when we arrived backstage for the real thing. You could almost smell the mothballs as teachers swept along the corridors of power wearing gowns that probably had not been out of the wardrobe since last year’s annual airing. ‘Chemi’ Clark was reputed to be the keenest-eyed of all as he walked along the one looking for an unbuttoned shirt or uncombed hair. And woe betide those who were not up to scratch, victims of his caustic tongue as acid spewed forth to match anything in his laboratory. The head’s report of the year’s activities ran to foolscap page after foolscap page. And he read out every word. Then came the interminable business of dishing out all the certificates and trophies, followed by a lengthy introduction of the guest speaker and an even longer dissertion by the chosen one which invariably consisted of advice to all and sundry. Blessed relief came as we unglued ourselves from our seats to end the marathon by singing the school song. ‘Forty years on, growing older and older’ rang out from the ranks of weary youngsters.
Forty years hence was too far away to contemplate at an age where we lived only for today or tomorrow. But the extra day’s holiday we were granted at the end of every speech day was always something to savour.”
Secondly, Christine (Haigh) Drake writes: “Always on the first day back at school one’s heart sank. Fresh uniform, usual friends, and a certain sawdust smell greeted the pupils - not the same as after a normal weekend. By the time the day was out, these feelings had disappeared and a sense of belonging had setin once more. New forms, new teachers, new books all were settled in to normality . The Harrow Old School Song ‘ 40 Years On ‘ could not be more telling. ‘Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song’.
What did I most get out of my school as I look in retrospect? Well, it was my good fortune to attend Royds Hall for one benefit alone - that of the beautiful old school. The creators of the Hall must have been cultured, wealthy and determined to have nothing which was second-best. My culture was formed and fostered as I passed the elegant wrought-iron staircase and imagined the Scarlett O’ Hara -like descent to party, balls and to awaiting carriages; amidst the stunned merriment of seeing Mrs Bamforth, alias Beaky, stand and confront noisy forms between the huge mirrored walls that opened out. I was still imbued with reverence for the exquisite ceiling and the fine fireplace, (apparently there is no trace of this now removed feature) which was magnificently adorned by Egyptian figures and papyrus embellishments within the marble forefronts. I loved to feel the weight of the heavy doors, well decorated by ebony wheels and walnut veneers, the wonderful mosaic floors reminiscent of Oscar Wilde’s fantasies. So thank you Royds Hall for cultivating interests in elegant appreciation.
The other major benefit I accrued from my schooling there was once again on the cultural side. I was a Blue and in the Blue House with that keen ‘Blue’ partisan teacher Edith Cookson as our tutor in Verse Speaking. It seems to be out of fashion now but we were put through our paces with zeal and so many happy lunch hours were spent rehearsing T S Eliott’s “Does the Bird Sing in the South’ or another year it was W Davis’ ‘Goliath’. Under her rigid tutelage we often won the points for the Music and Verse-Speaking Competition. I really looked forward to reciting and hearing the others in both the music and the verse finals, and how pleased we were to be the winners if indeed we were. It did make poetry learning an indulgence and not a horrific exercise. It is sad to me that occasions that filled me with pride in my school and my house and myself now are regarded as obsolete. There were meetings for our House, when we regarded the House Captains as honoured leaders and we wanted to do our best to raise points in many directions - the Sports Shield, the German and French Verse-Speaking Cup, the Music and Verse Trophy. We trundled along with our satchels to an assembly every morning, had to listen to the announcements, with an ennobling thought from our headmaster for the day and saw our Head Girl and Boy and prefects on duty. We may not have always have liked or enjoyed it but some of it sank into our immature minds and stretched our experience or endeavours. One of these announcements was when our head boy, Baldick, got a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. Then there was the moment when the exam results were put up in the classroom and one was interested in seeing the achievement level by the place you came on the list. There were pranks aplenty but these are best left for gossiping amongst fellow pupils.
I consider that a non-choice school dinner was good. We sat on tables of 10 and had to serve out as a family as fairly as possible, for all the table saw what was in the serving dishes, and we talked and gossiped and grumbled but it did not mean that the food was unwholesome, nor that we did not eat it with relish and the delight caused by concrete shortbread shooting across the table is just another recollection.
In retrospect I consider Royds to be progressive. We used to be summoned every so often for talks in the Great Hall (why does it look so small now?). On one occasion I remember hearing a small Frenchman with a round face talking of his dreams for a future Europe without warfare. Years later, this moment came to mind, and felt sure it must have been M. Monet, the main architect of the European Economic Community. For years I was unable to confirm this, as none of my colleagues remembered about it - until thank goodness in 1995 I met another old Roydsian who was sure I was right, as he was in Miss Norris’s class at the time and there had been a real debate about the French English German post-war reconciliation after the talk.
So our schooldays are with us for the rest of our lives. I was never a star, nor did I ever amass a lot of knowledge. Lots of things in education lead me to believe that I’m glad I was educated then and not now.”
30 new teachers were appointed during this period of only 5 years. Some, such as Jack Smith and William Chippindale, had served in the forces. The others were Margaret Morris, Helen Kingston, Elizabeth Marshmann, Margaret Booth, John Walker, Isobel Shepherd, John Hilton, John Gray, Winifred Smith, Patricia Andrew, Sheila Worth, John Allen (died in May 1948), Leslie Porter, David Evans, Arthur Wootton, Norris Sarthwaite,
June Waterhouse, Mary Ingham, Joan Gartside, Jean Fenton, Harold Marsden, Arthur Kinder, Mary Parkinson, Christine Shaw, Ronald Miller, Dorothy Brown, Frederic Murfin and Robert Moan.
In 1946 a pupil wrote: “Set on a hill at Paddock Is a building of local fame Many are they who attend there And many remember its name. Many have studied and trained there, And learnt many a time-honoured rule And still they remember with favour The name of Royds Hall School”
SCHOOL CERTIFICATE RESULTS GIVEN BY HEAD IN 1949
Top Row: Jean Driver, Bessie Kay, Frank Wilkinson, David Hirst, Margaret Whitehead, J.R. Sykes Middle Row: Muriel Robinson, Elaine Parr Lower Row: Brenda Shaw, Freda (Winter) Barker, Enid Beswick, Joan Steadman, June Butterworth, Mr D. Gurney (Head)
TEACHERS & SECRETARY 1956
Top Row: W. Chippindale, E. Raymond, B. Jones, J. Smith, D. Whitehead, A. Kinder, D. Marshall, R. Pattinson, P. Pickersgill, D. James, K. Leigh Middle Row: ?, ?, ?, ?, M. Mullins, A. Godfrey, S.A. Mitchell, J. Hill, ?, M. Snape (Sec.) Front Row: J. Morley, M. Pearson, D. Bairstow, W. Bishop, R. Bamforth, D. Gurney (Head), P. Newton, F: Wilson, L. Clarke, C. Gill, L. Porter
1950 to 1963
The first major change during this period involved the public examination system:-
The School Certificate which had been in operation for the whole duration of the school was awarded for a compulsory total of five subjects, including Maths, English and a language. There was also Matriculation in order to get to University which had been changed in the previous decade so that University entrance was obtained by passing at least two Higher School Certificates.
From 1950, for a short time, School Certificate and any replacement examination was only available to 16 year olds. This blighted the rapid progress of younger very able students and in Huddersfield, where transfer to secondary pupils often involved 10 year olds, this caused those children to have to go to the sixth form without actually having taken the Certificate and having to take it only a year before they took their Higher exams.
The main alteration was that, at 16, there was from 1951 a General Certificate of Education (GCE) awarded. The Ordinary Level was given at a higher mark than the old School Certificate (more like the old credit) but could be awarded for individual subjects. It was up to colleges and professions to state what grouping of subjects they required. The age of 16 regulation soon disappeared.
The Higher School Certificate, usually awarded at age 18, was replaced at the same time by the Advanced Level examinations of the General Certificate of Education.
The second major change was a consequence of the 1944 Education Act which raised the school leaving age to 15 which required the phasing out of elementary schools (5 to 14 in age) and the creation of primary schools (5 to 11) and secondary schools - secondary modern (11 to 15), technical schools (11 to 16) and grammar schools (11 to 18). Huddersfield was slow to implement it.
The town already had 4 grammar schools - Almondbury (King James), the College, Greenhead High and Royds Hall.
Gradually secondary moderns were made (usually based on old elementary schools). Examples were: Milnsbridge Secondary School which opened on 10.11.52 and was made out of the 1937 Crow Lane Senior School. Under either name there were many able pupils who had passed their 11+ but whose parents were unable to afford to send them to grammar schools because of cost of uniform and the inability to keep them on for an extra year until the age of 16. Oakes County Secondary School grew out of Oakes Elementary School but moved to premises up in the Crosland Road area using ex-prisoner of war accommodation with an overflow at an old school at Lindley.
In 1954 there were plans to house the latter in a Salendine Nook County Secondary Modern School. Also Huddersfield College and Hillhouse Secondary Technical School were proposing to join to form a 4 or 5 stream selective boys Grammar Technical School. A similar school was to be built for girls.
In 1954 it was said at a Speech Day “the future of Royds Hall about which there has been some doubt ... plans for the school will certainly not come to fruition for a number of years and any child at present a member of the school can expect to complete his education undisturbed.”
In 1955, again at a Speech Day, Alderman Dawson said, “There was no likelihood that Royds Hall would not still be a grammar school in 1960 and ... no-one need have any fears that if a child secured admission ... its education would be jeopardised.” Mr Gurney added, “... all have experienced a feeling of sadness when they heard that Royds Hall would sometime cease to exist.”
Meanwhile, the West Riding was also working towards providing secondary schooling for its over 11 year olds. By 1955 asecondary school was temporarily housed in Marsden but very academic pupils were still being selected for Royds Hall. However, in January, 1956, the county’s first truly comprehensive school opened at Linthwaite - Colne Valley High School. The children at Marsden moved into it. Also, the lower school C.V. pupils at Royds Hall were given the option of transferring to it which many did. From September 1956 on, no pupils from the Colne Valley were then admitted to Royds Hall.
By 1958, Mr Gurney commented that, “Although the school is in a state of transition, although numerous changes in staff are forced upon us, we remain a virile, enthusiastic community of 600 or so, learning to live, acquiring knowledge, following the paths of our predecessors to a successful grammar school education. We know that Royds’ will faithfully continue to serve many of the boys and girls of Huddersfield as a grammar school, until the period of transition is ended when it will become, no doubt, as efficient and enterprising as before.”
The decline in status from a Grammar school was due to the three schools at the Salendine Nook campus being opened (officially by Sir Edward Boyle and later Princess Margaret). They were all functioning by September, 1958 so academic pupils were being ‘creamed’ there.
However, Mr Gurney assured all that “the school is not destined to drop to pieces.” He made clear that, “because of the very real problem of increasing numbers due to the dramatic rise in the birth rate (once servicemen returned from the forces from 1945 after the war) the services of Royds Hall Grammar School would most certainly be required for a further number of years.”
On 1.9.59 Mr W Waterhouse, B.Sc. became the headteacher. It was stated that, “The old order changeth yielding place to new that will be seen when the new headmaster ... takes up his duties. There will be a change too in the function of Royds - no longer will it be completely grammar in curriculum, because nonselective pupils are being admitted in September and during the next few years Royds will become a secondary modern school.”
Despite all, the school continued to function as before. At a 1950s Speech Day, “girls were immaculate in cream blouses and brown tunics while the boys displayed unnaturally clean knees.” The latter would now be considered very old-fashioned even in our infants schools as short trousers have disappeared.
By 1955, there was felt to be a decline in the middle and upper school uniform because of war-time and post-war shortages. Even sports coats had been allowed for the boys. To encourage improvement some changes were phased in by 1956:- The junior girls wore pinafore dresses instead of tunics and the boys had a single-breasted brown school blazer with grey flannel shorts or trousers. 4th and 5th year girls wore skirts and blouses while the boys changed to a double-breasted blazer. They all wore ties which were brown with blue stripes - the latter had an insertion of the colour of the house. Mr Derrick Marshall introduced a new school badge - a shield with two yellow chevrons containing castles with roses on the main blue ground. This replaced a plain shield on a blue background with the red letters RHGS intertwined. The 6th Form girls changed from cream to blue blouses. All girls in summer wore brown and white check dresses with matching collars but the 6th Form girls had a disinguishing white collar on top of the checked one.
On 20.2.50, Mrs Snape came as Secretary and stayed until 1972. She had, as Marjorie Pearson, been a pupil from 1922-26.
In 1952, Fred Heald, caretaker since 1943. died. “His cheerful and earnest presence, his unfailing good humour, his essentially human interest in the community he served” were his main characteristics. Royds Hall has always been served by excellent ancillary staff. In April, 1996 we heard of the death of Jim Atkin - another long-serving and well-liked caretaker who worked at Royds until 1982.
Sadly in June, 1951 a Head Boy died after a long illness.
In 1951 the nation enjoyed the Festival of Britain and some pupils wrote of their private visits to it.
In 1951, Mr Gurney again complained that still too many pupils are leaving as they “lacked the courage and perseverance to complete the five years and present themselves for the General Certificate of Education at Ordinary Level.”
On 6.2.52 pupils were allowed to listen to the radio usually only for 6th Formers at lunchtime who did not have to go outside) to hear the proclamation of Princess Elizabeth’s accession to the throne. The nation was in mourning for King George VI who died during the night while the Princess was on an official tour in Kenya. When the new Queen was crowned on 2.6.53 the country’s schools extended their Whitsuntide Holiday (now changed to a fixed Spring Bank Holiday) for another two days.
The young men aged 18 or more continued to do National Service in the Forces at home and abroad until 1963.
Societies flourished as before including the Ship Adoption Society. Letters came from the Merchant Vessel Hurunui and books were given to Capt. Pover. Other clubs started. The Student Christian Movement (SCM) was shared in rotation between the four grammar school forms in 1953. In 1957 the Numismatic (coins) Society started. The annual visits to Stratford went on and there was a large variety of visits (such as to the old Emley Moor TV station - “the mast looked like, an electric pylon without any wires”. It was over 480 feet high (the new one is 800 feet). Lectures were attended (one of the climbers of Mount
Everest in June, 1953, Gregory, talked at the Town Hall) and also concerts. School plays were performed. Sixth formers went carol singing at staff’s houses. Christmas parties were held. In 1950, pupils were put out when asked for 1d. (half of a penny) each to pay for the tree and the trimmings in the hall. Geography trips went to such country spots as the Dales. Continental visits were made to France, Belgium and Germany. A French Assistante, Mlle. Nicole Levy came for a year in 1954 . The Annual Church services were held.
Speech Days continued in the Town Hall. Glenys (Shawcross) Robinson remembers the months of preparation for the choir under Mr H Townend who practised pieces and (“40 Years On’ until they “reached perfection’. (Incidentally, her Grandfather Haigh had taught wounded soldiers basket weaving at the Royds Hall Military Hospital in World War 1).
The pupils were impressed by the teachers in their academic robes and hoods. The school had grown so much the pupils spilled into the front rows of the main area from the tiers behind the platform.
In 1995. the Glaxo and Wellcome companies merged to form the largest pharmaceutical firm in the world. Glaxo’s Chief Executive Sir Richard Sykes overlooked the amalgamation and is now head of the new ‘empire’.
His beginnings were in the Colne Valley where some of his family still live at Slaithwaite. He was the youngest of three and his father was a carpenter. His secondary education was at Royds Hall where his academic achievements were not at all auspicious. In 1959 he scraped through a couple of GCEs (English Literature and Physics) at O Level. No- one could have possibly predicted what was to follow.
He went on work in the pathology laboratories at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (in its original home that is now the “Tech’). His interest in science was aroused and he took up his part-time studies in that area with enthusiasm. So much so that he went on to the University of London and gained a first class degree in microbiology. He moved to Bristol University to get a Ph.D. His scholarship had some funding from Glaxo. He then crossed the Atlantic to work with an American firm for ten years. In 1986 he rejoined Glaxo’s number two in research. A year later he became a member of the board. His move from science to marketing proved an easy one. By 1993 he was at the top of the company at the age 50.
So it is salutary to children, parents and teachers to realise that it is NEVER possible to
guess at potential or achievement. Personal qualities of intelligence hard work, initiative, etc. can often emerge later.
In 1994 he presented GCSE certificates at the school. A letter from him is on a separate page.
Peter Lightowlers comments that “I received an excellent education but the most enjoyable part of my time was related to sport.”
Memories of teachers were given by former pupils David Barber, Alan Field and Keith Fielding:
Miss Bairstow made Alan a monitor but, although normally lenient, de-badged him a week later. Peter Pickersgill was a good PE teacher. Derek Whitehead was well liked. Jack Smith was well regarded by pupils and controlled his classes very well. Rita Oldroyd taught German very well.
Mr Kinder asked David “Were you talking Barber?” “No Sir’ “Take a detention for deceiving me!” Conrad Willoughby, like so many others has fond memories of the staff and school.
Mr Leigh’s favourite method of getting classroom order was to march down the aisles slamming upright desk lids on unsuspecting heads or emptying satchel contents through the windows on to the tarmac below.
Keith and his fellow singers withdrew their services from assembly and Speech Day rehearsals until Mr Gurney relented on his ruling that uniform had to be worn at the Seniors’ Dance. Pupil power 40 years ago was unheard of!
John Sykes (now Chaplain to the Queen) remembers Miss Bishop as “a fresh air fiend and sadistic with it.”
Mrs Bamforth, Senior Mistress for 15 years left in 1959. “She has performed her tasks with unfailing devotion, with true understanding and with kindness. Sher has made a generous contribution to the life and growth of the school.”
Mr Walker and Miss Bishop retired after over 36 years (nearly half the lifetime of the school) and are very well remembered by generations of former pupils.
Mr Gurney, the Head, also left in 1959. It was said “26 years of service to a community. There will be few who have not been proud of the general and academic standard achieved in this school. These have been the direct result of teamwork and leadership. The experience of years was at the disposal of those who cared to profit by it. With his keen sense of humour and sympathetic outlook on personal problems he has on innumerable occasions lightened them with his readiness to understand and give help. If the measure of the success of a headmaster is efficiency, combined with the happoiness of those who serve under him, then Mr Gurney may indeed retire in the knowledge that his was a successful career”. Mrs Shape (Secretary) said he was the best ‘boss’ she had ever had.
For a short while after Mr Gurney left, Mr Don James took over the temporary Headship and served the school with his customary loyalty and devotion.
In 1959 Mr Waterhouse, the new head, decided to change the unimaginative names of the houses to some with completely Yorkshire associations geographically - Howard, Malham, Richmond and Wensley. He also called for “a closer cooperation between parent and child and between parent and school” - echoes of the pleas from the previous two Heads. He added, “If success in the education of a child is to be achieved the home and the school need to work together.”
Some new pupils wryly said “Our one grudge against Royds Hall is homework. We do not mind a little, but when we get home we feel like playing out with our friends. Then we think of homework and we have to sit down and work for over an hour. We are not impressed either, by the behaviour of the queue at the bus stop, as everyone pushes to get on the bus”. Nothing new from 1921 to 1996!
The following year saw the closure of Milnsbridge County Secondary School. Eleven year olds were directed to Royds Hall and there was a change to Crow Lane Primary School from 1961.
As local Secondary Modern schools developed there was felt to be a need for an independent examination for 15 year olds who were not normally destined to be taking GCE O Levels the next year. So staff from the Technical College set and marked for the Huddersfield Schools Leaving Certificate Examination.
At Royds Hall, pupils failing GCE for the first time did an extra year as 5X. .
A new gym floor and extra showers were installed. New GCE subjects were added to the curriculum - Geometrical and Engineering Drawing.
Numbers were increasing dramatically to 700. This was due to three reasons - there had been the rise in birth rate because of the demobilisation of the forces in 1945-6. East European men who had served here during the war or who had fled from areas such as the Ukraine had settled in Huddersfield in the Spring Grove area and had families such as Kaliszczak, Kronman, Petrovic, Szczesnowicz, Kluczkowski, Dymowski, Cybulska, Gruszka, Skrynnyk and Spychalski. Also the non-selection of pupils from 1959 caused a larger intake.
Such was the pressure on the buildings that in 1961 four classrooms on Lark Street (now the site of the Speedwell Surgery) housed the first years and even dinners were provided here. Also, Royds House (now the site of a small estate at the top of the back fields facing Reinwood Road) was taken over (from Reinwood Infants) by the Domestic Science Department. Numbers increased to 900 spread over the three sites.
Brian Hearn, who came to Royds in 1961 notes that, “Royds Hall was two schools in one at that time - in the third year pupils were divided and the top stream turned into 3 Alpha. They wore badges with RHGS (for Grammar School) on their blazers and carried on to the Sixth Form, whilst the rest had RHS (for Secondary).
After registration in the morning we had a whole school assembly in the Hall where we stood for hymns and prayers, notices and presentations. Each pupil was given a small hymn book when they started the school. I had one too but always used the one my Aunt had been given when she’d gone to the same school. On the stage were chairs and all the teachers sat there, along with the Head Boy and Head Girl. Those who had them wore their academic gowns. Mr Townend the music teacher played the piano. Mr Kinder, a science teacher, always belted out the base line in the chorus of Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.
At dinner time the tables seated eight - two heads of table, two servers (these from the upper school) and four lower ranks. The heads of table served out the meat or pie, the servers the veg. and gravy. After all the tables had been supplied there was often a call of ‘Seconds’ from the hatch and each table sent arunner. The lower ranks cleared the table and then the whole thing was repeated for pudding. School custard came in aluminium jugs and was beautiful.
At that time we were walked down to Ramsden Street baths (below the main town library) for swimming lessons. After it closed we started swimming at Cambridge Road. Again, we walked there - on Heaton Road and through the Park. We were allowed to take an Oxo cube. If you didn’t eat it on the way you handed it in on arrival and then after the lesson it was transformed into a hot drink.”
In 1961, the Old Roydsians held a ‘40 Years On’ Reunion and Harold Wilson attended it.
In 1962 John M Wood came, “as a young teacher at Royds... ... My timetable along with timetables of the other young teachers, was restricted to the recently admitted D and E streams. The Alpha and A streams were no-go areas. As each allotment on the left hand side of the school drive leading to Luck Lane became vacant, I incorporated it into the school’s developing Rural Science studies to involve the less able pupils in school life.” He kept an example of a new pupil’s English at Royds House:- “my fhort weack at royahhas. roaayhos is vere nist. andi lick it. andi lick woodwhoc the teach aer nist and i lick Mis Grnea bes. and the castroom av bin pond horro casroom is pond horro casroom is pond yelo. roaayhos is a vere big shools and very nist i thingk.” What a challenge for a former grammar school!
In December 1962, the headmaster, Mr William “Bill” Waterhouse left home as his wife started icing the Christmas cake. He went to the bank from his home in Birkby. Sadly, after getting back into his car in a New North Road car park he collapsed and was later found to have died. He was only 53.
Perhaps the strain of seeing to the merger of Hillhouse Secondary Technical College with Huddersfield College to make Huddersfield New College plus taking over as Head at Royds Hall School just over three years earlier as it was beginning its transition from Grammar to a Secondary Modern school in inadequate buildings had taken its toll.
The school magazine records the feelings of its school community:- “That Royds Hall survived this troubled period and emerged as a school still high in the estimation of the townspeople of Huddersfield is largely due to the selfless devotion of Mr Waterhouse to the cause of education. ... His sunny temperament and genial disposition attracted the love of colleagues and pupils whilst his obvious sincere concern for their welfare and happiness won their complete confidence. He was a simple and dedicated Christian who faced life without fear ... All of us are poorer for his death.”
It also noted that the school had, “Heartfelt gratitude to the again Acting Headmaster, Mr
Donald W James, for his tremendous energy, skill and resourcefulness in maintaining the school’s equilibrium after Mr Waterhouse’s sad death.”
LETTER FROM SIR RICHARD SYKES
From: Sir Richard Sykes April 14 1996
Dear Mrs. Free,
I joined Royds Hall in 1954. My mother was quite keen that I should go there as she herself has attended the school back in the 1920’s. Dan Gurney was the Headmaster who ruled the school with an iron hand. I came across him on many occasions, usually not good ones. He was my French teacher in the first form and I was not particularly interested in French. He also taught me religious education. [ remember on one occasion his frustration led him to make the following derogatory remark; “Sykes, there is absolutely no hope for you in life, you would not even qualify for the French Foreign Legion”. On another more unpleasant occasion he was there to observe me being caned by Mr. Gill ( physics master and caner) and I am sure he enjoyed every minute of it. Why was I caned? for something totally insignificant and was more to do with the lack of discipline from an English teacher than from my bad behavionr. The head of the form I class was Mr. Raymond (music teacher) who always wore dark glasses and was probably French. He was a relatively kind man and I remember him fondly. The only other person I remember fondly was Mrs. Tymewell who taught me English and English Literature in the fifth form. She alone stimulated my interest in literature. Mrs. Bamforth was the Head Mistress (Beaky)-but she spent most of her time with the girls. The great characters were Peter Newton who taught math’s, almost deaf and totally incomprehensible and Mr. Wilson who taught geography. His geography room was full to flowing with specimens from around the world and rather than listen to the lecture I would become engrossed in these objects and travel to different parts of the world. Mr. Pickersgill was the gym master and he was very good and always helpful. Before Pickersgill was a little chap whose name I forget but he went on to teach me geography at one stage. His favorite phrase was “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” aimed at those who found his geography lessons extremely boring. School was mostly a drag for me. There were interesting lessons and exciting times but I know my potential was never utilized. It was only on leaving school that I became interested in science and from then on my academic qualifications speak for themselves. Royds Hall was a good school and I should have taken more advantage of the opportunities offered. I also believe there is no substitute for good teaching and I believe that was Often lacking.
AG Cle —
Richard B Sykes.
New Teaching Staff 1950 - 1959
(in order of arrival - other than those shown in the 1956 photograph)
Apologies for any ommissions. Less than 1 year service - not listed)
Mrs C. Sandham Mrs M. Brennan Miss H. Dutton R. Branson Mrs R. Lockwood Mrs L. Paterson E. Worral (Beaumont) Miss W. Wyld G. Stead Mrs B. Curtis Mrs D. Denton Miss M. Maugham P. Walker Mrs M. Lees Miss H. Beecroft
Mrs O’ Haigh
Mrs E. Jackson E. Coldwell (Dykes) W. Riding M. Brook J. Dixon (Kershaw) L. Hobson Miss R. Oldroyd Mrs L. Wyllie J. Denton Miss D. Coles Miss J. Mitchell P. Dykes H. Hill Mrs M. Timewell Miss A. Bent
Miss J. Pollard J. Roberts N. Evans Miss P. Rhodes Mrs L. Browning J. Taylor D. Eagland T. Hincks Mrs M. Newton Mrs L. Graham Miss R. Mellor G. Taylor Miss P. Garside Mrs A. Davies Mrs G. Jessop
Miss W. Woodward
Refer to back of book for teachers 1959-1996
EL6I - E961 -PP9H £961 - 6S6I AUDAWUOD 2M -OXD]D uDayOW ‘f4W ASNOYLIION ‘M AW ayy fO saykS pADYIIY 41S
1963 to 1973
In September, 1963, Mr John McKean, M.A. began his ten years as Headmaster. Coincidentally, Mr Chaney, the first Head at Royds Hall, taught at the school where this new Head had been a pupil. (In 1986, the new Head, Mr Bradbury was rather similarly a former pupil at Huddersfield New College where the retiring Royd’s Head Mr Clarkson had been a teacher). Mr Mckean inherited a school that was taking in its fifth year of nonselective pupils and so had become a complete Secondary Modern.
However, it was regarded in the town as a ‘ higher’ variety for two reasons. One was that there was a system of choosing “late developers” who were from Huddersfield’s Secondary Modern Schools and transferring them to either Rawthorpe Secondary or to Royds Hall. Also, the school had maintained the sixth form from its grammar school days.
During the 1960s the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) replaced School Leaving Certificates. It catered for those who could not reach GCE standards - except that CSE Grade 1 was equivalent to GCE Grade C.
This decade was marked by another enormous change in character due to the arrival of a second wave of immigrants to Spring Grove and later Thornton Lodge replacing the earlier one of East Europeans. The locality was chosen by them because of the very cheap small terraced housing and proximity to the town centre.
The Indians came from 1960 and the Pakistanis shorty afterwards. West Indians also came during this period. In 1958 when Huddersfield carried out a survey, there had only been 20 of their children at Spring Grove School. By 1963 more than half the pupils were immigrant - the first school in the country. For example, 72 non-English speaking pupils arrived in the eight weeks up to Christmas, 1963. Pupils from this school went to Royds Hall.
In 1964, headteachers from the town were visiting other parts of the country which had coped with different groups of immigrants. By 1965, the Education Authority authorised plans to cope:- “As non-English speaking pupils seek admission to school they shall first be enrolled for a few weeks in special reception centres to be established at Spring Grove Primary School and Royds Hall County Secondary school according to their ages, but irrespective of their places of residence; these reception centres will be staffed by both English and Asiatic teachers, to give the children their first introduction to England and English ways of life, before setting out on the serious study of the English language. On completion of the second course (1 - 3 years), each group of children shall remain members of their school, with a view to integration into appropriate normal classes.”
As for West Indians, this problem was not the same and they were absorbed into schools without attending special centres although Mr McKean felt that had it not been for lack of funding these pupils should have had extra help with the transition from the Caribbean dialect to English. At Royds Hall, these entrants swelled the already overcrowded buildings, so the reception centre was housed at a former Victorian primary school - Spark Hall. Longwood.
Mohammed Akram wrote two reports in 1966 of this unit:- Firstly:-
BRITISH COMMONWEALTH CITIZENS An Experiment in the Education of Asian Children.
It is understandable that when anybody emigrates from his own country to settle in another country either seeking education or a job, he faces many difficulties. The main difficulty is to speak the language of the county unless he has learned that particular one.
When children from Asian countries come to a country like Britain, they find that many of their customs are not accepted. The child may have been living in a small village, away from the city where there was no traffic. He may have been living in an open place ‘and had his own farm where his family grew what they wanted. When such children reach this county, they not only find the language difficult, but also find a totally different atmosphere. On arrival, they not only find that they can’t enter a class of their own age but also realise that it is impossible to speak to the English pupils of that school. Understanding all that, our school is experimenting with a new method of teaching such children.
The newcomers from Pakistan and India of Secondary School age are first sent to Class 1 R, This class has a Pakistani teacher, who teaches the road safety rules, English customs and the school rules. When the child understands the new customs then either he is transferred to 1 X or he is transferred to a special class in another school near to his home. In 1 X they have an English teacher, who has a great deal of experience of teaching children of other countries. In 1 X English is taught as well.
From 1 X the children who have reached the standard of 2 X are transferred to this class, where they learn more English, record their own voices on tape recorders and find out what mistakes they have made. In this way they feel confident that they are capable of doing something by themselves.
By the time they reach 3 X, they can speak good English, are capable of understanding an English teacher and can do comprehension exercises. At this stage, even though they are still in a special class, they are taught every subject. They use a tape recorder to listen to their mistakes. When their form-master thinks that they know enough English to go into an English Class, then they are transferred according to their abilities. At present there are some boys reading for G.C.E. and C.S.E. in the school and two are taking G.C.E. this year, who could not speak a single word of English three years ago.
Secondly:- SPARK HALL ANNEXE. The overflow family of teachers and pupils at Spark Hall has had a happy year although
there have been some changes in staff and in classes. When Mrs Baxter left at Easter some of the pupils from 2 D and 1 D went into classes at Royds Hall and Mrs Wood took
the others into one class. Mr Kahn left in September. His class, the second stage of Special English, was taken over by Mr Mian from Pakistan. The first stage has been taken, since September, by Mrs Hay and the Reception Class, a special Class for boys and girls newly arrived from India and Pakistan is taken by Mrs Hussain of Karachi. We are also greatly helped by Mr Gupta who has come to us from India. Some of the pupils in the Reception Class moved into our own Special English Department in January while others were accommodated in similar classes at other schools.
The chief difficulty in our semi-detached life has been that of transport, the timing of everything to fit in with buses to and from Royds Hall, the filling up of vouchers and the inevitable rushing, in all weathers, to and from the bus stops. In spite of these and certain other disadvantages there has been little dislocation of work, and we have taken advantage of other circumstances. The local recreation ground at Longwood, the reservoir, Bunny Wood and the hills nearby provide opportunities for many outdoor activities. The existence of a small kitchen in the building with an electric stove has enabled the girls in the Special English Department and Reception Class to have regular Cookery lessons. In these they have learned not only how to cook but also more English and they have been able to practise it more naturally than is possible in the classroom. The space available, too, including a good Hall, has been a great advantage to all the classes for the practice of handicrafts, regular drama sessions and for indoor games in bad weather.
We have kept as close a touch as possible with the Main School through our attendance at and participation in House Activities, Games, Swimming and special events. We played a full and enthusiastic part in the Mock Election.
The atmosphere here is notably one of happiness and co-operation. Much of the credit for this must go to Mrs Sykes (Caretaker) for her thoughtful care of us and to Mrs Wood who has made all of us who are ‘comers-in’ feel so welcome and ‘at home’ at Spark Hall.
One pupil Mohammed Sharif, when walking to school, passed along Gledholt Road and admired the large imposing Victorian houses. He promised himself that one day he would buy one. Eventually he realised that dream as well as becoming the owner of a clothing firm.
In 1968, Huddersfield appointed Trevor Burgin, ex Head of Spring Grove, as the organiser with special responsibility of immigrants. He is the father-in-law of Trevor Harris, a teacher presently at Royds Hall.
For the school, there were social differences between the different ‘ethnic’ groups besides the obvious one of language because children from twenty four nationalities attended by 1969. The Asian Mohammeds, Singhs and Kaurs worked together with the Corions, Josephs Nelsons, Marks and Moses of the West Indians as well as the previously mentioned East Europeans.
The school uniform was adhered to but a greater range of alternatives were allowed. Miss R E Oldroyd, who became Senior Mistress in 1967, introduced trousers with fashionable matching tops - the second school in the country to do so. This meant that the Muslim girls (who wore a form of trousers called shalwar) could also choose to be
like the native born girls. Uniform became more relaxed as blazers became optional for the boys, the brown or grey jumper being acceptable without them. The girls could remain in the same uniform all year or could opt in the summer term for dresses (made themselves if they wished) of white material sprigged with tiny stylised flowers in brown/ blue and yellow.
As swimming was still part of the curriculum, care was taken that Asian girls could wear leg coverings or be taught separately and showers in PE also catered for religious susceptibilities. When the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan occurred, their children were exempt from swimming. Teachers watched carefully in case of ill effects for pupils who might voluntarily fast between sunrise and sunset but there was rarely any problem. Most ‘Asian’ children went home for dinner but the Schools Meals Service provided alternatives to pork (for the Muslims) and beef (for the Indians) as well as introducing rice.
Religious Education lessons allowed for the study of other faiths particularly of Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, as well as Christianity. School assemblies also became more multi-cultural with just as firmly morally based an emphasis as before. In 1967 the school held a very successful International Evening.
In every other way Royds Hall continued its educational development. The reporting system changed in 1965 from the single sheet of paper to a blue book with a double page for every half year and lasted for a pupil’s whole school life. It is interesting to note (as with Sir Richard Sykes) that potential of pupils was not always recognised.
David Jepson: History 22nd out of 25. He is now a member of the Local History Society and founder of the 900 strong Huddersfield and District Family History Society.
David remembers the discipline of the day:- l. Cold showers or the pump by the P.E. teacher, Mr Capper. 2. Pulling the side burns by the Art Teacher, Mr Marshall. 3. Pieces of chalk or the board rubber flying across the room from the front of the class. Mr Foster threw a 11b copper beater.
Steven Goldstein also recalls being reported to Mr McKean - he was guilty of setting off stink bombs on the school bus to the baths (afterwards used by a group of appalled Reinwood Junior pupils). The Head responded by telling him the formula for such bombs he had used in his youth BUT Steven had to go to Miss Brunning, Reinwood’s Head, to apologise. Reg Edwards, however, remembers the regular canings.
In 1963 the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme started with a camp at Bretton Hall. Mr Capper introduced Rugby to the boys. The Christmas Carol Service was held at Paddock Church. The Ship Adoption Society still flourished. There were many trips abroad - organised by Miss Oldroyd.
In 1966 Harold Wilson flew 9,000 miles back from a visit to Africa just in time for the
Speech Day. He came again in 1968 because it was the centenary of the town. All the pupils lined the drive to cheer him. After visiting every classroom, he drove off to get the
Freedom of Huddersfield, “in recognition and full appreciation of his illustrious service to the country in the high offices of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury”’.
Brian Hearn said that while he did metalwork and woodwork in the main buildings “the girls did Domestic Science at Royd House” a 19th century house built for the family of Calverley who had owned mills in Milnsbridge, and “in the fourth year girls and boys swapped for a short time. I made shortbread and apple pie.” Ralph Leach was taught the violin by Mr Townend up in the attics where peripatetic teachers gave music lessons to individual pupils.
Memories of teachers of this period are given by Reg Edwards, Irene (Richardson) Edwards, Joan (Howgate) Edwards and Ralph Leach. Seven of the staff are still serving at the school - Mr Parker, Mrs Parker, Mrs Spencer (later to be Mrs Davies), Mr Creary, Mr Edwards, Mr Hirst and Mr Bell - so reminiscences of them like the rest of the present staff are reserved for future publication, Others have been referred to earlier.
Mr James, Deputy headmaster, was “a very smartly dressed military type of person who tended to march rather than walk, his trousers always had razor-sharp creases and his shoes were polished like mirrors. As he strode purposefully round school he could be heard before seen - as the segs on his shoes echoed throughout the corridors. He had sharp, piercing eyes behind rimmed glasses. He was a strict disciplinarian but very quiet until someone stepped out of line. He gave the impression of a hunter stalking his prey as he walked around the school. History was his subject and he would get us to remember the arrival of the Jutes, Angles and Saxons by saying - “remember my name without me and you’ll not forget the order they came in.” Miss Oldroyd, Senior Mistress had the office next to Mr McKean (she was over the porch, where the first Head had been). She administered corporal punishment to the girls - generally on the hands. She was perceived by the pupils to believe herself to be “right at all costs.”
Mr Chippindale “walked to school. He always looked professional but sad in his grey suit. His trousers seemed to start around the chest level. I think his braces must have been too tight.”
Mr Smith “introduced pupils to the mystery of logarithms,” now thankfully redundant due to the use of calculators.
Mr Farleigh was “an easy-going kind of guy, young and good looking ... He took aroom at the Angel pub... His very residence there made things a little difficult for us older ones as we didn’t dare go there at lunchtime in case he’d popped back for a quick one also.”
Mr Ling, “Careers teacher, spent time taking kids to see the ‘real world’. A lovely man who lost a hand from above the wrist, he always wore a glove over his false hand ... he used to change his ‘hands’ when he got in his car, his driving hand was a cup that located a ball on his steering wheel. He had a great sense of humour and treated us all as adults, you could go to him at any time, he was well-respected by the kids.” Ashley Simpson, of Caribbean parentage, went pale when shaking hands as Ken released his bionic hand and left it in the boy’s trembling fingers. Mr Ling was awarded the MBE recently for service over half a century to the YMCA.
Mr Baxter - “Art and music teacher ... he was a smashing bloke ... and was always chasing Miss Booth.” Most of Joan’s class went to their wedding at Holmfirth as Miss Booth was their form teacher. Adrian has done much for Huddersfield Schools’ Music groups since and Sue is in charge of Kirklees’ Home Tuition and Hospital Teaching Service.
Mrs Rhodes (nee Simpson) - “An attractive lady, very lively and giggly, remembered most for the fact that she looked good in sports kit.”
Mr Capper “smoked Capstan Full Strength - he was anything but a typical PE teacher - he was far better at getting effort from the kids than most.”
Mr Lumb “Wilf was another art teacher. He had appeared on TV - he wore glasses and had red hair hence we named him ‘carrot top’. His dress sense was very “way out’ and we used to wonder why Mr McKean and Miss Oldroyd didn’t tell him off in the same way that we were when we strayed from school uniform or ‘sensible’ dress.”
Mr McKean - A strict disciplinarian who was seen as unapproachable. You only went to his office for the cane and you always got it. Looking back now, we first went in, held out our hands and got caned. There was no asking for your side of the story, it’s no wonder that that type of regime doesn’t exist today.”
Other staff are listed on the inside back cover.
Prefects - “All the sixth form were either full or sub-prefects. A large number of fifth formers were sub-prefects. A prefect badge was given as a privilege but you had to work for it by patrolling the inside of the school at break times to make sure that everyone had gone outside. We used to try and hide everywhere and it got like a game as we tried to see who could stay in school longest without getting caught. A favourite way of beating the ‘prefect search’ was to hang on the rails in the bottom cloakroom, lift your feet off the floor and try to keep a big coat around you. If you got away with it you went into the toilets fora smoke. We used to play tricks such as turning the toilet lights off, taking the light bulbs out and replacing them with light bulbs that we’d pinched from the top decks of the buses that we came to school on. The voltage was very low and when the prefects turned the toilet lights on the bulbs used to explode and we’d be outside the windows listening and laughing. Prefects could use the main door and brew coffee up in the attics.”
Bicycle sheds were near the present common room for Year 11. “You didn’t need to hide there, just simply keep an eye open for the duty teacher. Some first ‘experiments’ of a boy/girl nature took place around the bicycle shed, particularly in the winter months when the grass was a little wet on the field.”
Ice Cream Van - “driven by a man called Bernard. We could buy ‘penny blacks’ or ‘penny blues’ that coloured your teeth and lips. Miss Olgroyd banned the sale of the ice lollies because of complaints from parents who had to keep washing their children’s clothes clean due to the black and blue lolly juice stains. He also served a ‘sixpenny mix’ - a generous serving of white and pink ice-cream spooned out into a cone.”
In 1971, decimal coinage was introduced so pupils and maths teachers heaved a collective sigh of relief as the complicated imperial system vanished.
During this period, Huddersfield Council, through its Education Committee, worked towards introducing Comprehensive Schools into the town. There was no political division in what is often perceived as only a Socialist philosophy. There was a Conservative majority in the area.
Secondary schools had completely replaced the old Elementary Schools by the mid 60’s - Crow Lane had stopped taking in 11 year olds by 1960 and directed them to Royds Hall but older pupils were allowed to ‘work out’ of the school.
By 1965 plans were being laid but at first the new schools were all to be for 11-18s. By 1968 the Committee changed its mind and decided on sixth form colleges and the Technical College (briefly called Ramsden Technical College) for over 16s. In 1971 only 314 parents out of 23,000 came to a meeting about reorganisation which was stated to be “only another step forward in the improvement of the education of the children of our town.”
In 1971 Royds Hall started preparing for extensions to cater for the school being a large Comprehensive of up to 1200 pupils. Architects, Buck, Eden and Associates, were appointed. Tenders for the new building were invited. John Radcliffe & Sons built it (the same firm that built the temporary Military Hospital in 1915). Lynne (Talone) Sykes and Janette (Sammut) Sykes, now in Australia, said the new extension was being made when they were there and it included the needlework rooms. These had a long row of cupboards on tracks that used to slide open and close. They had great amusement putting other pupils in and slamming them backward and forwards along the tracks or just hiding from the teacher. They “had a lot of fun at school and will always have fond memories of our time there.”
The art department on the top floor was served by a very small lift to take clay up for making pottery. One particularly small boy was squashed in by his mischievous mates and sent up three floors. He was only released when his anguished cries for help were heard by Mr Edwards and Mr Hirst.
In 1972 Senior Staff were appointed from existing staff - Mr James and Miss Oldroyd as Deputy Heads, Mr Parker and Mr Whitehead as pastoral heads of the Upper and Lower School. In 1972-3 Heads of Department were chosen.
In November 1972 there was a day’s holiday for the Silver Wedding of the Queen and Prince Philip.
Ralph Leach .says, “Thank you Royds Hall staff, your efforts are a priceless investment for our adults of tomorrow. Long may Royds Hall continue.”
Mr McKean retired in 1973 after ten years as Head. Miss Oldroyd records: “He had
obtained his first degree at Liverpool University He taught at two Quaker Schools and was housemaster at Lancaster. Then he was Head of Carlisle Secondary School for seven
years. His teaching career was interrupted when he registered as a conscientious objector. He and his wife worked with the friends Relief Service and later he worked on a farm looking after bullocks.
For over 45 years he had been an active member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He had made a contribution locally, nationally and on the European scene. He looked for and found good qualities and potential in those whom he was privileged to influence and serve.
Even in retirement he took up mountain climbing, walking, sailing and canoeing and then music, photography, painting, gardening and writing.
He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy Degree at Bradford University by the Chancellor, Harold Wilson - two ex-Roydsians together. His thesis was on Military Conscription and Conscientious Objection in Western Europe, 1968-1978. He died in 1984 and will be remembered for his high standards, his care for each individual, his cheerful determination to succeed, his friendship, his dedication to his work and his love for his family.”
1973 to 1986
The View of its Head
My association with Royds Hall began as an acquaintance, progressed through several assignations, and ended as a full-blown love affair.
Introduction - Perception
I was born and brought up in Paddock. From my home I could almost have thrown a cricket ball onto the playing field. In the late thirties I often played on them with a group of friends - several of them later Roydsians - until chased off by the caretaker. In the mid- forties I returned to play cricket and football for the College against Royds Hall teams including those friends. Also, my elder sister attended RHGS, in the days of the redoubtable Miss Bishop.
After several years in industry and the RAF I left engineering for school teaching. Interestingly when I enquired at the education offices in Ramsden Street for a teaching post I was referred to Royds Hall: the School needed a new Head of Science, for Mr Gill had moved to KJGS. Instead I joined Huddersfield New College, then a boys’ grammar school, as Head of Technical Studies. There I had two further links with Royds Hall.
For a few years I was a colleague of Bill Waterhouse, who was Head of Main School. (He was Headmaster of Hillhouse Technical School for Boys until its amalgamation with Huddersfield College to form HNC in 1958). Bill, a fine educator, left to become Head of Royds Hall in 1959.
During the sixties Royds Hall School, like any school with a relatively small main school base - and one of a wide spread of academic ability, was finding it increasingly difficult to sustain its Sixth Form. The range of subjects required to be offered to ‘A’ level students to form a course appropriate to their interests and the changing scene in Higher Education was becoming too expensive on staff, space and equipment resources. (Also, alternative syllabuses were appearing: for instance, the “Nuffield approach,’ to the sciences). Consequently a number of RH students were transferring to the much larger sixth form at HNC for the ‘A’ level studies and I taught several of them.
A minimum of five ‘O’ levels was generally anticipated of a grammar pupil - areasonable expectations for that part of the academic ability spectrum; but what of the other 80%? Four years teaching, as deputy head, in a city centre school demonstrated the quite different need of those pupils, and their more appropriate and realistic expectations.
However, Royds Hall has two cherished attributes: its enviable pedigree and its noble buildings (later enhanced by the splendid architecture of the new buildings, blending
sympathetically with the fine facade of the old mansion).
With this background and against this backcloth I joined Royds Hall and the equally redoubtable Miss Oldroyd in September, 1973; it was the beginning of reorganised - comprehensive - secondary education in Huddersfield.
the beginning came comprehensivisation.
In the years up to 1973 Royds Hall had become a secondary modern school with an *O’ level stream and a very small sixth form; now, as a neighbourhood comprehensive school, it had to meet the differing educational needs of pupils with a wide range of ability from a broad cultural background. But its teachers had the pedigree to know and establish the important educational benchmarks necessary for the academic, cultural, physical and social development of pupils. So during the next three years the aim was to lay foundations on which to build a sensible, balanced curriculum related to the interest and realistic aspirations of the individual leading, in the final two years, to an assessment of achievement by appropriate examinations.
An eight form entry was projected leading to a possible 1200 pupils. So more facilities were required and thus came about the new 4 storey block with spur (to house all things practical) and sports hall with a linking walkway; the whole enclosing a new attractive quadrangle. All laboratories, workshops and art rooms in the old buildings had been converted into the additional classrooms needed. Actually we peaked at 1083 and the School felt uncomfortably crowded, for new classrooms etc. are seldom spacious and school corridors are always one pupil too narrow. Subsequently when our numbers fell to about 950 accommodation was pleasant. In the eighties our population reduced to 700 and accommodation became luxurious but the corresponding reduction in teachers made curriculum planning a headache.
Like most building projects work got behind schedule, so that on September 3rd, the opening day of the ‘new school’, each floor of the new block was divided by huge plywood screens: teachers with classes on one side, workmen with noisy tools on the other. There were no services connected in any laboratory and no machines installed in any workshop. It was suggested to us that for the time being we should concentrate on theory in all practical lessons!
During the sixties Royds Hall pioneered work on English-as-a-second-language with secondary Asian pupils, accommodated in Spark Hall at Longwood; but for these youngsters links with the main school were rather loose. Public transport was used for journeys between SH and RH - an arrangement which not only posed timetabling difficulties (for lesson changes and bus times rarely coincided) but also was fraught with danger (for on some occasions children could not be accompanied). Moreover the annexe served other catchment areas.
So now it became a priority to convert the Sparkies into Roydsians by bringing them into the school environment and reassessing their provision. The first step was to move the
SH community into Royd House - a fine building situated across the back playing fields and previously occupied by the Home Economic Department. Twelve months later Royd House was evacuated in favour of a suite of rooms on the top floor of the new block. Thus was re-born our Compensatory Department whose task was to address the particular needs of any pupil who, initially, could not cope with main school work. Once targets in basic literacy and numeracy had been attained, these pupils were assimilated into English and Maths Mainstream classes (at latest by the end of the 3rd year), then into 4th year groups leading to public examinations wherever possible. Our concept evolved and met the needs of a substantial number of pupils at the lower end of the academic spectrum. Lessons in other subjects with their fellow pupils were attended by these children as soon as they began at the school. The Compensatory Department provided a decade of in- house support service by a formula accepted by the general staff: the smaller teaching groups were ‘bought’ by agreed sacrifices in class sizes in other areas.
In 1974 reorganisation of local government resulted in the assimilation of Huddersfield into the new Metropolitan Council of Kirklees. One consequence in Local Education was the emergence of control of schools through their individual governing bodies comprising parent and staff representatives and co-opted members as well as elected members reflecting the political composition of the Council. The head teacher became accountable to the school government on all matters, so the role of Chairman became very important and his relationship with the Head vital. RH was very fortunate in the persons elected to its chair and for a decade affairs were conducted apolitically. Regularly I kept successive chairmen informed and always consulted with them on potentially contentious issues; in consequence I have no recall of acrimonious meetings. We were particularly indebted to Bob Dixon who, once persuaded that a decision was in its best interests, was an unstinting champion of the School during his extended chairmanship.
Of the curriculum on the Schools agenda.
A comprehensive school is perceived by many as the opportunity to obtain a grammar school education by those previously denied it by too-early and (assumed) erroneous selection. Its role is to provide a broad-based, coherent education of a standard appropriate to the realistic expectations of the individual pupil within the full ability spectrum. All- embracing it is and all-embracing it must be, neither the clever nor the struggler should be short-changed. Appropriate public examinations should be the goal and, providing numerically big enough, groups can be setted to achieve this.
In 1973 expectations of the comprehensives was high but the task was great. However, RH had teachers with grammar experience to balance the next generation of appointees, and the Old Greeks and Young Turks soon blended into an excellent team to serve the new school.
The curriculum is an educational meal which at secondary stage lasts five years! Initially (the first two years) tasting all the foods in the school’s larder should be encouraged: how else can the palate be aroused and preferences be discovered? (Chips with everything is stultifying, and too many puds is inadvisable; ‘eat your greens and then you can enjoy
your ice-cream’ has more to commend it). Then a year (the third) of refusing before the final choice of menu (for the 4th & 5th years) leading to the party meal but with the chef’s firm guidance : a balanced diet with dishes that complement each other, yet taking account of exotic tastes.
At RH we inclined to table d’hote with options rather than a la carte from the total offerings. (Basics - numeracy and literacy - were served with every choice, though different garnishings were offered).
So we believed that each end of the ability spectrum was properly fed and provision for the central 50% was sensibly structured. But how we longed for a more readily identifiable bell distribution curve.
The usual assessment of pupils - which, inevitably, leads to judgement of the school - is by Public examination passes. This is understandable and historic. Such figures provide early quotable statistics which can be formulated into league tables. But educational accountability needs to be wider and in proper context. Qualities which are more difficult - some, impossible - to quantify, yet are readily recognisable, define the total youngster as a working citizen and reliable employee. Such qualities always drew favourable, unsolicited, comment from visitors to the school - including TV crews who were experienced in observing ‘warts and all’.
There were some subject areas the School could not resolve, so we accepted the offer of the Tech to cover these and gave breadth and variety to the curriculum of the lower band in the 4th & Sth years. Thus evolved the individual Link Courses in office practices, building trades and motor vehicle technology. These youngster would have been looking forward to commercial work or apprenticeships.
Also for these older pupils our PE department afforded experience of a wide range of activities (such as aerobics, circuit training, climbing, fencing, swimming, weight lifting), some in association with the staff at the central Sports Centre. This imaginative physical education had more probable carry-over of recreational activity in adulthood that the traditional games.
The provision of link courses, physical/recreational activities and compensatory education built in an initial rigidity to the school’s timetable; but the consensus was that it was worthwhile and the skills of Miss Oldroyd made it possible.
Of the teaching staff - the School’s most precious resource. The main responsibility will always be one’s teaching performance in a departmental team - and the School was blessed with some outstanding HODs - within the framework
of the agreed curriculum and the principal buzz of the job comes in context. But education extends beyond the syllabus of the subject and the walls of the classroom and I marvelled
at the versatility of the Staff and the variety of their talents. When all these factors gel there is a ‘feel good’ which I often experienced.
Mr Chippindale left in 1975 after nearly 30 years and Jack Smith in 1979 after 100 terms. We became a staff of 70. From time-to-time there were departures but finding new appointees was not always easy; maths and physics were always difficult, as I well remember.
The Chief Education Officer of Kirklees held residential weekends for his secondary head teachers once a term: a regular check, perhaps, on the relative incidence of laugh lines and worry lines among his commanders. Early one Friday evening I was driving along the M62 to such a rally on the other side of Leeds but my thoughts were on an unfilled Maths post. I turned off at Clifton and returned to Lindley to the address of an (the only?) applicant. We interviewed each other sitting on tea-chests in his living room. (He and his wife were just moving-in to their new flat). Two hours later we shook hands on a job for him and a maths teacher for me. Two weeks later the CEO remarked: “I noticed you weren’t at my meeting”. I recounted my tale, ending: “It was either your meeting or my interview”. “I think you made a wise choice” said Mr.B.
In discussion with a group of head teachers-strangers-I once propounded that in a would be teacher more store should be placed in personality and ability to communicate than qualifications; because, with diligence, the required knowledge can be acquired whereas the other qualities are innate. Opinion was divided, scepticism prevailed. We needed a maths teacher. The applicant’s qualifications were in Environmental Studies but at interview she impressed both HOD and me. But Maths? She stated convincingly that she could undertake the first three years teaching immediately and would be ready to undertake ‘O’ level exam work the following year. When she left us some years later her contribution to the department and the School had been enormous.
Q: Where to find a physics teacher? (The Times Ed. and Guardian carried our advert more in hope than expectation). In Kingston, Jamaica!
A Q: But how to contact and interview? A: By telex and long distance phone calls (incurring asterisked red entries in the Authority ledger) and a meeting 24 hours after landing.
However, overseas teaching did not, unfortunately, exempt the probationary requirement on home ground. But, education officers endorsed out judgement and, praise be! structured a contract which satisfied all. How handsomely did our subsequent Head of Science repay the School, the Authority and physics teaching in a much wider context.
It was a privilege to sit on the pinnacle: it was often exciting, but, it sometimes pricked. So wise counsel was welcome and necessary. This was given by the Senior Staff, referred to - probably among other things - as the Cabinet and trusted colleagues became valued friends.
A strong weft is essential to tapestry depicting change and if it is also a thread of gold so much the better. Of such was Don James, held in respect, esteem and affection by countless pupils, many colleagues and this headmaster. He retired early in 1981 after 31 years at RH.
seoeeeeeed Of ancillary staff or the Head’s minders.
A school’s well-being is dependent on the support team - mostly unseen, often unsung - whose tasks range from the simple to the complex; the contribution made by ancillary staff is appreciated most when it fails.
This Head’s nominations for making his lot a happier one are: secretary, caretaker and cook.
My very first - and arguably most important - appointment was my senior secretary. Wyn Moorhouse and IJ started at RH together, although I had known her at HNC. She was not only my protector and organiser for 13 years but also the School’s guardian of presentation standards - an artist in the printed word.
Jim and, later, Albert would gladly have exchanged their problems caused by outside society with those of the caretaker who chased me off the front fields thirty years earlier. Jim occasionally shook his keys, whilst Albert flashed the odd yellow card but wisely held the red one in reserve.
An army, I understand, marches on its stomach; a school certainly works better on a satisfied tummy. And for years that was attributable to Mrs. Vickerman; Connie’s (mass produced) chocolate sponge and sauce compared with the finest. RH held out longest of all the secondary schools against the imposed change from the traditional school dinner to the cafeteria system with sandwich option. There were two reasons for our obstinacy: we had the largest uptake of dinners throughout the Authority, and the least bagged waste (which was how the satisfactoriness of school dinners was judged). I once quoted a vital statistic: the number of gallons of Connie’s custard enjoyed each term; it was a conversation stopper.
DUDIIS Or the School’s raison d’etre.
Making baked beans is a predictable process: quality control poses few problems and testing the end product is precise - only size and taste matter. Educating young minds is more uncertain: development of the individual reveals many surprises and assessing the (16 year old) person is many faceted - and some important qualities are not quantifiable.
Many youngsters pass through school without doing any wrong, some because they do
little anyway. A spirited youngster can be exciting and often fun but may be potentially explosive and sometimes frustrating. Of the thousands I met and hundreds I taught I
recall but a handful about whose future I was fearful. But I remember a number of villains - most with a soft(ish) centre, many rogues and many more ‘characters’.
At RH my teaching room was on the top floor of the new block; it had an adjoining store room with access out onto the corridor. When ‘entertaining the troops’ it was understood I was to be called out only for the Prime Minister. I always taught in shirt sleeves and I enjoyed exploring the mathematical links with technical graphics: ‘special perception’ is a phrase which my classes will identify. Concluding the demonstration of a geometrical principle I would, it seems, end with a flourish of arms and proclaim “........... and Bob’s your uncle!”
On this particular day the PM was insistent; I left by the normal door donning my jacket but I returned, some minutes later, through the store room, I was just in time, unbeknown to my sweaterless impersonator, to witness the climax of his splendid performance. His enthralled audience obeyed my signal not to ‘let on’ I was behind him as he threw his arms aloft and announced triumphantly “....... and Bob’s your uncle!”. When my voice behind added “......... and Fanny’s your aunt!”, his face was a picture. We gave him - one of the many Sykes’s from up the valley - a well-deserved round of applause as he put on his sweater.
As another came in for the start of afternoon school - he was one who ‘went home’ for lunch- I thought I smelt something. Up in my room said “Your breath smells of alcohol, Paul”. He was standing erect with his eyes focussed on a point just behind me. (Anyone who has been inspected on the parade ground will know the stance). “I’ve been eating wine gums, sir!” came the immediate reply. One has a split-second to respond effectively. I had, as usual, a packet of Polos in my pocket. Offering him a mint I said “Then you should have thought to suck a couple of these on the way back”. There was mutual understanding.
Duildings - the School’s heritage and development.
A school should never have a flat roof and only have an ‘open-plan’ arrangement by agreement of those who have to work in it.
“There is a leak in my cupboard” I was informed, “and it may be serious”. It was, for the ‘cupboard’ runs from foundation to roof of the 4-storey block housing all the services, including the main electric cable. It was easy to trace the source of the problem: small pools on the cracked roofing - felt surface. The Building Inspector said it was his highest site meeting with a Headmaster; the Headmaster observed he had once ‘topped-out’ a 320ft. chimney with a Building Inspector. It was agreed that the 10 year old flat roof should be stripped and relaid with wedge shaped panels to create a run-off. Neither of us needed to say anything as we gazed across to the fine blue-slates on the old main building: with a little patching they had lasted nearly 3/4 of a century.
Potted plants perched on the ledge surrounding the well in the Art Department on the top floor - open to the landing of the Science floor beneath - looked fine on the artist’s drawing but in the actual location they courted disaster. So the art teacher (and his father) walled up the well. Years later during a buildings inspection it was noticed that plan and reality did not match.
In the mid 70s Leisure Services enquired whether the School would agree to community use of the play areas and Sports Hall, outside school hours and during holidays. It transpired that RH was one of the few schools to give a positive response. (We thought it would encourage respect for our facilities and our play areas seemed a preferable alternative to the neighbouring streets for children. Also I recalled the days when I was chased-off. Five years later came the follow-up: Would RH take three squash courts with viewing gallery? (In the end we got two courts and no gallery). This new facility would have limited value for the School but it was an essential element to the creation of Royds Hall Sports Centre. The principal benefit to the School was the upgrading of the Sports Hall to give the PE staff the quality indoor teaching facility they deserved, and the development of the surrounding area.
‘The air raid shelters had to go: they were an eyesore, a health hazard and a hidey-hole; but, they provided ball walls. Receiving an environmental grant for their demolition the Authority agreed to match the sum and build in their stead a splendid new ball-wall; its length reflects the content of the cash.
The Horsa canteen building, dating from after the second war, had to go - so we were told. The bulldozers came and were repulsed. Cementation came and did a splendid restoration job at modest expense. The School gained seven years extra use first as a 5th Year centre and tuckshop and then as our Drama Workshop (facilities which most schools enjoy as a matter of course).
However, the jewel in the RH crown has always been the old mansion which for many years now has housed staff, administration facilities, library and careers resources. It has many features which arouse admiration: the entrance foyer and beautiful hall with its striking fire-place and elegant stairway leading to the balcony supported by splendid corbels - all covered by a lovely ceiling; the magnificent doors and panelling: the splendid cornices in all rooms and the framed glass cupola over the concourse, restored when the old Room K was removed. How surprising therefore that twenty years ago the School had to fight to retain and restore these features when the Authority almost lost its soul. So today the mansion and the fine - standing classroom buildings enclosing the old quadrangle, still constitute a unique setting - now enhanced by the impressive new buildings - in which every Roydsian should feel privileged to work and which the Authority should recognise as one of its finest assets.
.....0f things educational - the Schools life-blood.
The relationship between teacher and pupil has always been twin-tracked, with differing expectations in attitude and response in classroom study from outside activities. Promoting
knowledge in a subject is more prescribed and predictable than generating interest in a cause: developing the mind of the person.
The annual musical or dramatic production seemed to give a special vibrancy to school life during the period of preparation and performance. It demanded a rigorous commitment from a large number of pupils and staff to a joint project which tested reliability and nerve whilst giving opportunity to talent and scope for flair: an excellent educational experience for everyone involved. A decade of productions - including two world premieres of work by two members of staff - always evoked in me admiration about the concept, anxiety during rehearsal and one pride in the performance. Two stood out for me: “Time In, Time Out” in 1975, a total in-house production still available on LP and “Oliver” - one of the best school performances I have seen. All accomplished with rudimentary facilities and resources.
The summer camp required the support of the whole staff: a case of “They also serve who only substitute’, while their colleagues go off on holiday - though few of the former would exchange position with the latter. This event was not only a masterpiece of logistical planning but also the culmination of the year’s on-goings programme of outdoor pursuits such as canoeing, sailing and fell-walking.
These activities demanded a school vehicle, which would cost a lot of money. By a variety of events three thousand pounds was raised to buy and maintain one. We preferred cash-in-hand, lottery style, events to sponsored, money later efforts. The most imaginative was the Butler’s Hall, Sheffield to Royds Hall, Huddersfield Relay run by the School cross country team. 50p to guess the time it would take (to the nearest second); the time taken to complete the practice run was published as a guide. Communication was maintained between the support cars and base so that the whole school could be turned out to welcome the team of heroes. The cheers for them was matched by that for the 3rd Year pupil who won the prize of £300 worth of audio equipment. Great rejoicing and £1000 in the vehicle fund. (Ashley Iredale remembers running for the “The Krunch Killer Fund Raising Activity”). I
Trips educational, recreational and continental were organised regularly and annually by willing staff for enthusiastic youngsters. In these situations staff saw pupils in a quite different light.
A strained relationship between school and local community is not good and how the neighbourhood perceives the school often arises from ignorance. So we invited all the local elderly people (as listed by Nellie Paxman, neighbourhood baker and local councillor) to a Christmas Party. Not to have received an invitation spelt social ostracism judging by the Headmaster’s postbag. (Thereafter I delivered in person a sort of urbi et orbi at the December meeting of Paddock Old Folks in the Village Hall). An excellent tea was served, an entertaining concert was given and a gift was presented to everyone by Father Christmas (Jim Atkin wheeled in on his caretaker’s trolley); their cup was full and our standing was high.
Subsequently we always invited our neighbours to the dress rehearsal of our school production.
Also, guided by the RE Department, the school worked in the community and for charities (we established a strong link with the NSPCC) which was featured in a programme necessitating a day in school by a TV crew. On departure their leader was very complimentary about what they had observed during this visit: sometimes, perhaps, the man on the touchline sees more than the ref.
things less educational - pass the aspirin.
The teacher announced that a dog was ruining her games lesson. It was the kind of complaint which expects an immediate response, so I went down to the hockey field with her. There I beheld two dozen girls running, screaming and waving sticks and a frisky, yelping, enormous alsatian. I am neither dog-owner nor dog-lover - and I was unarmed. Expectantly the noise abated. Rashly I decided to assert authority and miraculously succeeded, albeit ineligently, in scrambling the dog back home by the collar. Our canine friend became a regular visitor, so I acquired a chain. Each time I returned him home his owner was sympathetic but ineffective. The police would only act if I delivered the dog to their pound so I apprehended the offender, made a citizen’s arrest and took the prisoner, in my car, to the nick. Thankfully neither Private Eye nor Candid Camera witnessed or recorded the kerfuffle.
The adjoining allotment had always posed a problem, enclosing a public footpath through to the top of Luck Lane and simultaneously providing temptation. An irate gardener was shown in: his strawberry plants, just ripening, had been stripped. It must be RH pupils, and what was I going to do about it. I asked him to leave it with me. The problem for me was not merely one of strawberries but also acquaintances: I knew him, our sons were at school together and had partied at each other’s homes. Fortunately he didn’t recognise me. I stationed myself in a top floor room and observed the allotment through my binoculars. On the third day the phantom pickers struck, and, praise be! the trio represented our full cultural spectrum. They were passing through for afternoon school having ‘been home’ for dinner. Their protestations of innocence subsided as they heard - mystified - my detailed description of their offence. I ordered them to report next day each with £1 to make restoration. They did and we bought sizeable punnets of strawberries, nicely ripened, at the local greengrocers. I had arranged a meeting between offended and offenders at which apologies and presentations were made. When the three boys had left my room the chastened gardener said “I didn’t expect you to go to all this trouble!”. (But his wife had remembered me and the next evening he appeared at my front door with a bucket of strawberries - ripe, ripening and unripe representing his full remaining crop).
DUDIIc examinations on a School’s gauge.
A school’s teaching and achievement are measured by its exam results, expressed in the national education currency. But, if these statistics are not set in proper context for the particular school the resulting judgement can be misleading-and unfair.
Fifty years ago public exams meant School Certificate of Education which targeted the top 20% of the ability spectrum(the ‘grammar’ stratum) and the resulting ‘O’ levels were regarded, in the main, as the passport to further academic studies: Higher School Certificate, later ‘A’ levels. (And the expectation was further progression to Higher Education).
In the 60’s came an exam revolution: a new system - the Certificate of Secondary Education - initiated by schools and teachers to run in tandem with G.C.E. but targeting the next 60% of the ability spectrum. This brought innovation not only to the syllabuses and format of exams but also to the presentation of papers, structuring of questions, and to the marking and results: it was a graded, not a pass/fail, exam.
This dual system - G.C.E. and C.S.E. - of public exams covered the full examinable range but posed the inevitable question: which to use for those candidates close to the target boundary? Dual entry was a dubious solution for it meant a plethora of exam papers, some clashes of exam dates, besides the differences in syllabuses and emphases of the two systems. And a large bill for the Authority for exam fees.
So in the early 70s the Boards explored the feasibility of a single system for the whole target group: the 16+ System of Examinations and declared it was possible to test the full range of ability by a single system of exams using various papers, projects and course work. For several years the Boards offered the 16+ (in the eight subjects) as an alternative toG.C.E. and C.S.E. and many schools used it. More subjects were added. The experience gained by this in the 70s led to the fusion in the late 80s of all public examinations into the present single system: the General Certificate of Secondary Education.
P. Clarkson It was during this era (1981) that the school celebrated being 60 years old. Frank Ainley (the first enrolled pupil) came to visit and commemorative mugs and plates were sold. The comments made earlier about Mr Gurney at the time of his retirement could now be
repeated as fitting Mr Clarkson. His early retirement was regretted by colleagues, parents and pupils.
SENIOR STAFF 1981
Back Row: J. Parker, M. Creary, L. Free, D. Whitehead Front Row: D. James, P. Clarkson (Head), R. Oldroyd
1986 to the present
A contribution from the Head Teacher
Just a week after my appointment as Head Teacher in the Spring of 1986, prior to taking up my post in September, an article appeared in the Yorkshire Post. The headline read, “Harold Wilson’s old school to close”. Yet ten years later, the school is just as robust as ever.
The headline was triggered by a review by the Local Education Authority of schools’ catchment areas. Royds Hall’s catchment area of Paddock, Cowlersley, Milnsbridge, Longwood and Springwood had suffered a marked drop in population caused by housing clearance and industrial change, particularly in the Springwood and Longwood areas. Also nationally the birth rate had fallen dramatically since its peak in 1964. The children were just not there in the numbers they used to be.
But 1986 also marked a national change with the new Education Act presenting schools with a dramatically different climate within which to work. The first change which the Act brought about was the enlargement of parental choice. Parents could now send their children to any school of their choosing, as long as places were available. The old catchment areas no longer counted.
If Royds Hall was to defy the prediction of the Yorkshire Post headline, we would need to broaden our intake beyond those areas within the neighbourhood of the school to districts such as Marsh, Oakes, Golcar and Lindley.
The school’s success in achieving this aim has been very pleasing. Reinwood Junior has become our second largest feeder junior school. Over 35% of our pupils now come from outside our former catchment area so the school has grown in size by 10% since 1986.
Two other changes which the 1986 Education Act brought about have had an enormous impact on Royds Hall. One of these changes was the new power of Governors, taking over many of the functions of the Local Authority. The key person is the Chair of the Governing Body and Royds Hall continued to be exceptionally fortunate in its Chair from 1984 to 1995. Councillor John Harman had found time, while also being Leader of Kirklees Council, to set the school on its current path.
The other change introduced by the 1986 Education Act which Royds Hall has used to good effect has been that of local financial management. We now manage our own revenue budget, setting priorities for staffing levels and spending on books, materials and the building. Royds Hall was chosen to pilot having a full-time Bursar. Although the last decade has seen increased stringency in local government spending, the school has been able to find money to establish computer suites, introduce control technology and photography areas, as well as carpeting and decorating classrooms and office areas.
Although managing a shrinking budget while trying to improve standards has seemed at times like swimming up a waterfall, Royds Hall has consistently steered clear of schemes such as grant maintained or technology status. Our aim has been to maintain the provision of a good balanced comprehensive education for all children within the community.
To be able to provide consistency of care it is necessary to have consistency of staffing. Royds Hall has many long serving staff but none can rival Miss Rita Oldroyd. She joined Royds Hall in 1956 and, with a short break away at Huddersfield High School, continued through until 1993 when she retired as Deputy Head Teacher. Someone who came close was Mr. Derek Whitehead who retired in 1987 as Senior Teacher after 35 years at Royds Hall.
But, the heart of a school is always its own students. 1994 marked the year when certificates and prizes were presented by the previously mentioned Professor Sir Richard Sykes, Chairman and Chief Executive of Glaxo. After spells at sixth form college, much younger Royds Hall students were still going on to win honours. Recent Oxbridge scholars include Jeremy Bassinder, Katherine and Jonathan Slyman. Also Nathan Sykes won Great Britain representative honours at Rugby League playing now professionally for Castleford.
New times also mean new horizons. Royds Hall has fostered numerous links with other schools in Europe - France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic. But none has assumed more importance than the link with College Jean Vilar in Riom, France. Year by year, students from Royds Hall make exchanges with their French counterparts and start friendships which often continue for years to come.
The above gives the broad brush strokes of the Royds Hall picture in the last decade. The finer details reveal a period of immense change which will continue into the next period of the school’s life.
The Head, after a year’s settling in, instituted change which affected the curriculum of the year groups. Each class was made into a mixed ability group reflecting the community the school serves - a correct distribution of gender, ethnic origins and ability - and ensured that there was some stability for pupils by referring to Primary Schools for ‘pairings’ or ‘splittings’. Lessons then followed the pattern of the forms until ‘setting’ was arranged as and when ability groupings were found to be necessary in some subject areas - notably languages, mathematics and science.
To help pupils with literacy and language problems (and also to see that very able pupils were not held back) support teachers or non-teaching assistants were placed with many classes. These were provided by three funds - the Government’s scheme to help ethnic minority children (known as Section 11), the Kirklees’ money allocated to help pupils with legal Statements of Special Educations Need and the school-financed Compensatory Dept.
Some of the help was given in the form of special tuition in small groups withdrawn for perhaps two hours a week. All these measures follow the 1993 statutory Code of Practice. In addition several Acts of Parliament formulated a National Curriculum so that the teachers, parents and children could be guided as to what was expected in the main subject areas at each stage of schooling. This was developed in the 1990s.
Monitoring of progress and results had been partly the job of the Education for All teachers who could see if there was any discrepancies in achievement between boys and girls (the former do not do as well nowadays) or between different groups of pupils. This started in 1987. In addition Mrs Cross, one of the Deputy Heads, is now very much involved in even more close evaluation of children’s potential and the programme developed to reach that potential.
In 1988, the whole examination structure outlined previously changed nationally as the whole of the fifth year were entered where possible for the G.C.S.E.(General Certificate of Secondary Education). This fully realised Mr Chaney’s dream of seventy years ago.
New subjects - Physical Education and Photography - are tested at this level. Pupils are also all involved in a structured five year programme of Personal and Social Education (PSE) which includes topics such as study skills, use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol, sex education, care of other people etc.
Fourth years have a fortnight of placement in employment for Work Experience. Many Upper School pupils participate in the Youth Award Scheme which gives recognition at Gold, Silver and Bronze levels to the acquiring of many skills. The Technical College is, at times, involved.
All this has been made possible by the increasing expertise of the staff. For the last 25 years, the country’s school population has been dropping. This results in less turn-over of teachers and creates stability. The staff has grown in maturity and experience. Sadly, this has been offset to some extent by a natural fall in revenue exacerbated by a reduction in government funding to Kirklees. Many teachers have taken premature retirement (no permanent staff is over 57). Also fewer young teachers are being recruited (only 3 are under 30).
Two teachers were used by Kirklees to advise other schools - Mr. Moore, part-time in Geography, and Mr. Sutton, full-time for two years in Religious Education. Mr. Twigger, Science, undertook research full time for two years at Leeds University. Mr. Harris worked part-time as a link with the Examiner for a year. Several teachers did degrees or Masters Degrees, mostly in their own time and one is now undertaking a Doctorate. Mr. Bradbury spent a year as assistant to the Chief Executive of Kirklees while still advising Royds Hall which was very ably led by Mr. Parker as acting Head. The teachers are, therefore, ‘skilling-up’ in many diverse ways.
There has been a greater momentum given to the closer cooperation of staff, home and children. On entry, a partnership document outlining commitments by home and school are signed by family, form teacher and Head. These define the areas of effort which can enable the child to make good progress.
Parents can attend a meeting to hear a full annual report and can ask questions on it. School reports have gradually become more informative, firstly there was a double page, two sided ‘spread’. This has now developed into individual slips for each subject which are more detailed. Parents and children (past, present and future), teachers and governors were consulted in 1987 about uniform. The vast majority voted for it and that it should be rigorously enforced. However, there was a general wish to alter it so, except for the tie and shirts, there was a change to black instead of brown cardigans, jumpers, skirts and trousers (and no separate summer uniform). This was to be over a period of two years but in fact everyone rallied round immediately and in the following September the new uniform was being worn - a credit to both the consultation exercise and to the support of the families concerned.
This gave impetus to the formation of a School Council where pupils are represented by children of their own choice. These discuss measures they would like put into action in the school. One example was a request for redecoration of toilets. This was moved up the priority list and done. Consequently there has been almost no damage or graffiti. Since then more new toilet areas (in psychodelic colours!) have been built.
An individual Diary is kept by pupils for parents and teachers to use as well if necessary. A Record of Achievement (at school and home) is also filled in.
The Parent-Teacher Association has been altered so that a wider group of interested people can work for the school and is known as Friends of Royds Hall.
Pastoral care continues to be a high priority. This has been strengthened by a policy developed at the end of the 1980s - form reachers stay with their own forms for as many of the five years as possible. This allows for close contact between home and school. In some cases this is also helped by the presence on site of a specially funded Educational Social Worker, Mr Howells, who works with parents and school to the good of particular children. In this last year, a counsellor has been provided, with a private room, so that pupils can seek impartial assistance with their own problems.
The children are now used to seeing groups of adults being taught in spare classrooms. They belong to the U3A (University of the Third Age) who are still thirsting for knowledge in Cookery, German, Maths etc. One child asked, in absolute astonishment, why any older person would want to learn maths. A teacher, tongue-in-cheek, replied “The Government won’t pay them their pension unless they are good enough at Maths”. The same child worked more assiduously at that subject after that.
Societies, camp, dramatic and musical productions continue to give enjoyment. The future holds promise of more change. Our resources areas are already in to the computer age. So Internet and World Wide Web links will eventually be fully utilised by our children. Electronic registration of pupils starts in September, 1996. Who can guess how everything will develop. Will pupils be based at home with computer-assisted distance learning? Will teachers only occasionally be needed as they are replaced by video tapes? Will we have an Open School as we now have Open University?
However, back to earth........ itis heartening to read extracts of the Inspectors Report after their thorough survey of the school in March, 1996......
“The school is efficiently organised and runs well on a day to day basis. The head teacher provides supportive leadership, clear direction and represents the school well in the community. Governors are supportive of the school and its work. The overall quality of teaching is sound or better in may lessons with some which are outstanding. Teaching is consistently good for more able pupils. Moral development is a strong feature of the school’s provision. The school is an orderly community, standards of behaviour in the school are satisfactory and often good. A good range of extra - curricular activities are offered to pupils of all ages. This includes a good choice of sporting activities, school camp and school trips in the United Kingdom and abroad. These activities make a valuable contribution to the quality of education. Pupils from different social and ethnic backgrounds are fully integrated into the life and work of the school.
The main finding was that “Royds Hall has a positive caring ethos which effectively promotes pupils’ personal development and provides a secure environment for teaching and learning”.
To return to Churchill’s statement quoted at the beginning: A magnificent mansion and excellent extensions have been built. The future of many children has begun to be shaped within them.
Seventy five years in existence with nearly 10,000 pupils having attended Royds Hall, it
is Clear that the school has served the community well. Long may it continue. Many who read this may live to sing “A Hundred Years On.................. ”
New Teaching Staff 1959 - 1996 (in alphabetical order - other than those on the 1996 photograph)
Apologies for any ommissions. Less than I year service - not listed)
W.R. Ainley L. Ancutt (Singer) Mrs J. Angell Mrs L.M. Atkinson Miss J.M. Ball M.S. Bawn R.A. Baxter Mrs M.D. Belcher (29) Mrs G. Berman
Blackbur (Spencer, Davies)
Miss V.M. Bond D. Booth Mrs M. Bowron Miss M.E. Bradley Mrs M. Bren P.A. Brown S.J. Buckley
M.E. Burland (McMath)
R.J. Capper AE. Carter J.W. Collier N.S. Cooper Mrs P. Coomber Miss S.E. Cox Mrs S.P. Craig B.C. Crozier M.A. Curtis
S. Davies Miss G. Dawson Miss M.I. Evans J. Farleigh J.B. Ferguson M. Foster H. Fowler (Humphrey) Miss J. Freeman C.A. Fry Mrs K.M. Gibson M.J. Giddings Mrs G.M. Glaze Mrs J. Godfrey
V. Greenwood (Sutton, Greenwood)
C. Haigh Miss E.M. Haigh Mrs A. Hawes Mrs C.M. Helliwell Miss J. Hirst Mrs M. Hirst D.R. Humphrey Mrs M.V. Hussey Dr P. Ingram Mrs T.E. Irish Mrs E.M. Jones J.M. Jones M. Johnson (22) P. Kennedy (22)
J.C. Kirtley A. Kondras D. Lennon (Porter) Mrs M. Lockwood Miss S. Lockwood K. Ling Mrs A. Love Miss A.E. Marshall Miss E.M. Maurer Mrs S. Mellor N.U. Mian U.H. Mirza Mrs J. Morris Miss Hodson S. Morris J. Musgrove (Rhodes) T. Newnham Miss D. Newton Mrs M. Nikola R.T. Norton H. Ownsworth (Hann) L. Packer Mrs D. Parker Mrs S. Parnell Miss K.S. Patrick P. Payne Miss J. Pettinger J. Pickering P. Pickering (Clarke)
Miss J.M. Powell E. Pratt C.M. Priestley Mrs D.M. Priestley Mrs V. Ramsbottom Mrs V. Robertshaw Mrs E.A. Robinson H. Rymaszewski Dr R. Saul A. Schofield R. Scott D. Simpson B. Slavin (Cole) Miss J.M. Stansfield Mrs M. Sykes C.N. Tabengwa Miss S. Taylor A. Tebb E.R. Tebb I.L. Thorburn Rev. F. Turner Mrs E. Twigg B. Wakefield Miss E.A. Walthews Mrs E. Wigmore Mrs P. Wilson Mrs J. Wood V.A. Young (Musson) Mrs N. Zientek
Front Row: J. Hearn (S), D. Twigger, J. Townend (S), M. Sutton, A. Cross, S. Bradbury (Head), J. Parker (29), S. Renshaw, L. Alderson, D. Luke (23), C. (Blackburn, Spencer) Davies (33) Second Row: J. Bacon (S), E. Raleigh, R. Jackson, J. Moore, P. Guiomard, L. Hirst (26), N. Sharda, B. Crowther, A. Wray, G. Charles, S. Haigh (S), M. Brammal, A. Dickinson, A. Taylor (S) Third Row: C. Harris (21), S. Scholes (21), C. (Booth, Martin) Lindop-Todd (21), A. (Kerr) Crossley, T. Harris, A. Hughes (23), S. Bell (28), M. Creary (28), R. Ward (28), D. Verguson Top Row: L. Collier, I. Arnold, K. Moore (26), L. Free (21), C. Rose, D. Hopkinson (S), A. Mullany (21), K. Camina, G. Edwards (29) Other Teachers Not Shown: K. Biddle (22), Miss G. Coulman, P. Dunn, Miss M. Fleetwood, L. Holmes, J. Martin, M. Murphy, Mrs J. Spencer, G. Wood and Supports: Mrs J. Barrett, Mrs L. Boustead, Miss J. Broome, Mrs P. Hamilton, Mrs S. Jackson, B. Sykes, R. Valentine, Mrs F. Whittaker
Royds Hall High School in the 1990’s