Two Hundred Years of Honley Schools (1990) by Honley Civic Society

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Honley Civic Society & Trinity Church 1990

Printed by C J W Printers Ltd. Elland. Tel. (0422) 374082

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Innumerable sources of information are available to any serious student of education, history, or Honley, and he will have little use for this booklet. For the rest of us, it is hoped that it will cast a little light on our grounds for celebrating, in 1990, the opening of the first Sunday School in Honley — two hundred years ago in Upper Steps Mill.

At the risk of making it too lengthy and general, we have tried in the first part to provide some sort of national background to our local situation. This attempt threatened to get out of hand, so we touched only lightly on the twentieth century.

One can write little about this village without recording an immense debt of gratitude to Mrs. Mary Jagger for her book ‘The History of Honley’. Copies are hard to come by, but Honley Library will get it for you; and if this booklet does no more than stimulate you to read Mrs. Jagger for yourself, it will have served a useful purpose. You will find that her details and anecdotes put flesh on the bones of this booklet; and now and again she pops in some robust general comment whose relevance to the modern ferment in education is startling. Two examples should whet your appetite:

“It is no light task or ignoble calling which is called upon to foster and succour into life the first growth of knowledge in a child’s mind. Great intelligence, much intuition, and broad understanding are required to train a motley assemblage of children.”’

and again:

“Perhaps many parents who are in deadly fear of religious teaching prefer the blatant mode of training their children to have no respect for God, man, or anything upon earth; not even their own selves. I value the teaching which left memories behind, and nourished thoughts for a future. ”’

Many local people have been generous with advice, information, and encouragement, and we hope that they, without individual mention, will accept our thanks: but a special word of gratitude is due to Mrs. Vera Waddington, who has provided the illustrations and Mr. Roy Masson, whose text is worthy of them.

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Introduction — 1790 and all that .

In 1990, news of world-shaking events pours in daily at such an extraordinary rate that it is not easy to concentrate one’s attention on a comparatively minor and unspectacular event which took place in Honley two hundred years ago. It might help to focus our attention if we looked briefly at the background to 1790.

In the New World, the United States under George Washington was still flushed with success at defeating the British and ‘escaping’ from the Empire. Virtually all of Central and South America, these days prime sources of drugs, dictators and deforestation, still formed part of the vast crumbling empires of Spain and Portugal. Africa, the Dark Continent, was even more mysterious than it is now. Australia, the new vast continent, was being steadily explored and colonised by Britain. In Asia, Russia was expanding constantly eastwards through the frozen wastes of Siberia, while China and Japan were still shrouded in mediaeval isolation. Coming nearer home, Europe was hardly recognisable when compared with its present day appearance. Most of south eastern Europe, whose chief export these days is instant history, was groaning under the harsh rule of the Ottoman Empire, as it had for hundreds of years. Catherine the Great of Russia was jockeying for position with Prussia and Austria in the competition to squeeze the last breath of life out of the once-great kingdom of Poland. Such ‘modern’ countries as Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia did not even exist. Nearer home still, the French Revolution had broken out. Though the worst excesses of the Terror were still to come, the government in London watched with apprehension, lest the revolutionary contagion should cross the Channel.

Having said all this, we must not fall into the trap of supposing that a Honleyite in 1790 could take a comprehensive world view in the way that we can now. We take for granted the constant flood of information and illustration provided by our modern media, and the comparative ease and speed with which we can transport ourselves and our goods around the world in ways beyond the dreams of 1790 — truly we all live now in a ‘global village’.

And what of Britain in 1790? George III was halfway through his long reign; the Whigs were out and the Tories in — though the latter bore little resemblance to the modern party. On and off throughout


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_ the eighteenth century, Britain and her allies had been at war with France and hers, and on the whole had done very well out of it — in spite of the loss of the American colonies. Britain ruled extensive territories scattered all around the world, and her power and prestige stood high. On a different note, the population was less than ten ‘millions, and far less than one million had a Parliamentary vote. And again, John Wesley was still alive, and the ‘Methodists’ were still within the Church of England.

But for the typical Honleyite of 1790 all this must have mattered much less than the conditions in which he lived and worked. Even as a cottage industry, weaving involved long hours of hard work at low wages. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, the inventions in the woollen and cotton trades of such men as Arkwright, Crompton and Hargreaves, and the use of steam power as well as water power brought forth great mills and factories filled with formidable machinery. Output grew mightily, and so did profits, but for the ordinary worker food was dearer, wages still low, and work hard to come by.

These days we take for granted, too easily, the existence of the Welfare State and the National Health Service — in those days, in spite of the valiant efforts of some charities and the provisions of Poor Relief, the results of injury, disease or unemployment could be starvation and death. Most shocking of all, the conditions of employment of young children in factories and mines were as wretched as those for adults; it is hardly surprising that rates of illiteracy and mortality were so high among them.

Honley in 1790

Change and expansion were still in full swing in Honley. The population of Honley in 1790 was something over 2,000; fifty years later it was about 4,500; and even now in 1990 it is not so much more than that. Over the same fifty-year period, the national population roughly doubled from ten to twenty millions; many places in the West Riding were growing at an even more breakneck speed. In Honley, Bradshaw Road and other new roads were planned, new houses and mills were going up. Generally, roads were still very bad — stony and dusty when dry, quagmires when wet: John


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McAdam was no doubt at work somewhere, but the tarmac road still lay, like railways, in the future. Honley boasted no canals — by far the most efficient means of bulk transport in those times; horse drawn carts or, for the wilder Pennine tracks, packhorses, were the means by which goods got in and out of Honley. Personal travel by stage coach was slow, uncomfortable and expensive. You might move around the country on horseback as John Wesley did — he last visited Honley in 1788, only three years before he died — but for a high proportion of the population the only way to go anywhere was to walk — over bad, unlit roads often frequented by robbers. It was no wonder that many people lived out their entire lives within the confines of the Holme Valley, with little knowledge of, or interest in, the world outside.

In 1990, it is impossible to imagine the impact of the arrival of Wesley and his followers; his eternal message of redemption and salvation must have come as a glorious light in the lives of many who lived a dark and cheerless existence.

Few of those new converts could, in 1790, have any inkling that before 1800 the Methodist church would have already broken away from the Church of England, and had already split into two. The fragmentation process continued in the nineteenth century; only in the twentieth century, when the Church as a whole is only a shadow of its former self, have the pieces of the jigsaw been put together again. Up and down the country, hundreds of closed chapels, with their fading and flaking inscriptions referring to ‘Primitive’, ‘Wesleyan’, ‘United’ and so on, are sad reminders of the divisions of earlier times; but equally let it be remembered that through their Sunday Schools and other voluntary efforts, these same places made their humble contribution to the development of education.

Education in 1790

Many scholarly volumes have been written about the development of education in this country, and this is no place to dig deep into them: but it is perhaps worth saying that education in 1790 makes little sense unless we are aware of two or three attitudes which underlie, often unconsciously, our approach to education in 1990.


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Firstly, we accept the idea of universal education, both elementary and secondary, as-entirely natural. The modern child may or may not like going to school, but he accepts school as a normal fact of life, and the truant knows full well that he is deviating from the norm. (In passing, in the hope of disarming the criticism that these notes are male-orientated in tone, we mention, without elaboration, that girls, no less than boys, today receive the best possible education — this was not always so!).

Secondly, with all due respect to what the 1988 Education Act has to say about Religious Education, collective worship and so on, education has become a largely secular activity. Few modern children darken the doors of a church or a Sunday School anyway, but among those who do, one wonders how many of them see their weekday and their Sunday activities as complementary and important aspects of their development as individuals.

Thirdly, the aims and methods of education have become so complex that we, in our own time, find them bewildering, not to say controversial. Even more so, our forefathers would be amazed by the immense changes that have taken place not only in the range of subjects taught, but also in the variety of ‘child-centred’ teaching methods now employed.

A few hundred years ago, these attitudes were largely absent. Certainly, before the invention of printing, most learning was to be found, recorded and stored in monastic institutions, cathedral libraries, ancient colleges and the like; much of it was backward- looking to the classical languages and cultures of Greece and Rome, and laid emphasis on biblical and philosophic investigations. Kings, queens and their mighty subjects built and endowed fine colleges and schools to the glory of God, but for most people there was no formal education — they learned in the hard school of life, and for the unlettered the mural paintings and stained glass windows of our cathedrals and churches were the visual aids towards spiritual enlightenment. In the eighteenth century, although a few exceptionally-gifted children from humbler homes managed somehow to receive an education, for the most part only the powerful and wealthy could afford to educate their offspring in a cultured home, employ specialist tutors (in music and languages for example), send them (if boys, of course) to ‘public’ school, and perhaps to one of the few universities then existing; the very rich could throw in the Grand Tour of Europe. At its best, such an education was expected to produce a God-fearing man equipped


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to bring leadership and a spirit of service to a career in the Church, the army, royal or government service, medicine, the law, and so on. But for the great mass of the population, these privileged avenues were not open; sadly, indeed, the idea was prevalent among some people of prominence that to make education generally available was not only unnecessary, but might be positively undesirable, for fear that the ‘masses’ might get ideas above their station.

As against this, it is to the eternal credit of the churches, Anglican and Dissenting alike, that they took the first steps towards the provision of popular education. For example, before 1700 the Society for the Promoting of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) was formed, and set to work founding Charity Schools. Great landowners and men of wealth gave land and money for the erection of buildings: hosts of voluntary subscribers, inside and outside the churches, formed committees to run the school and provided money for rudimentary equipment and to pay the meagre wages of a school teacher. The schools generally taught basic literacy, elementary arithmetic and religious knowledge, with the hope that the working classes would thereby become more orderly, sober and God-fearing.

Up and down the country, too, there were hosts of Dame schools — little private establishments, commonly in the home of a single teacher, generally female, where the rudiments of writing and reading were taught to poor children, more or less efficiently. At the other end of the scale there were the Dissenting Academies for the children from dissenting families who were thereby excluded from many grammar schools and colleges. Their efficiency, and their enlightened curricula, which included science and modern languages, enabled them to provide a first-class secondary educa- tion, and many ministers in the dissenting churches were educated _ in these schools.

Not much of all this might seem to be useful to the child who had worked long hours all the week, but it is astonishing how many of them overcame exhaustion sufficiently to struggle along to Sunday Schools when they were established. Ten years ago churches throughout the country celebrated the founding of the first Sunday School — an event forever associated with the name of Robert Raikes — and now, in Honley, we mark the first such school, established in Upper Steps Mill in 1790.

One has to say that the formation of many Sunday Schools in later years owed as much to sectarian rivalries as to evangelising zeal:


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be that as it may, the Sunday Schools, often held in church buildings, were staffed by volunteers who tried to teach reading, writing and religious knowledge to children whose numbers were often uncomfortably large.

Elementary Education in the Nineteeth Century

The story of educational advance after 1800 is complex, and here we can only look at it briefly. Broadly, it is a tale of increasing state involvement in the provision and control of a rapidly expanding system, with a correspondingly steady decline in the influence of the churches and their agencies. Around 1800, voluntary effort provided some children with some sort of education; at the beginning of the twentieth century, there emerged a system of state education which was universal, compulsory, and free.

It might be helpful to mention three springs of government action which contributed mightily to this change. Firstly, there were several Factory Acts from 1800 onwards, regulating conditions in factories and other work places for both adults and children, and limiting the maximum number of hours worked. In the case of children, the logical end of the process was the general abolition of child labour, but that was a long time coming.

Secondly, the great Reform Bills of the nineteenth century greatly increased the electorate, and, as one government minister put it succinctly, ‘“we must compel our future masters to learn their letters’’. It is startling to be reminded that the second Bill, of 1867, roughly doubled the electorate to two and a half millions, about a tenth of the total population; and that we were well into the twentieth century before women got the vote.

Thirdly, in parallel with all this, a series of Education Acts, notably those of 1870 and 1902 (and later 1944 and 1988) established state control of elementary and secondary education in such matters as management of schools, standards for buildings and equipment, curricula, teacher training, the examination and inspection system, and many more. Changes in government attitudes often stemmed


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from economic forces; for example, the need for new types of trained workers, such as chemical or railway engineers, demanded that new skills be taught.

Space does not permit much elaboration of these very general remarks, but since Honley has some particularly fine examples of National Schools, some comment must be made about two pioneering voluntary societies. In 1808 the British and Foreign Bible Society was founded, with the support of the Protestant and Dissenting churches, and the Society set about establishing ‘British Schools’ in which basic literacy and religious knowledge were taught. Largely, in the absence of a supply of trained teachers, instruction was by a monitorial system — older pupils teaching younger ones. At much the same time (1811) the National Society was formed, this time with the support of the Church of England (its full title is illuminating — ‘The National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church’), and proceeded to set up National Schools, rivalling the British ones, and conducted along similar lines. Both Societies depended, initially, on voluntary support and private charity, but the very success of their efforts meant that the continuing task was beyond their resources. From 1833 onwards the goverment began to make grants to these schools with the condition that the standards of the schools was checked by annual inspection.

Despite this, however, most children rarely attended school, and many not at all (the 1843 Factory Act still allowed eight-year-olds to work six and a half hours a day, six days a week). In the 1842 ‘Report on Employment of Children’ we read of children in the Holme Valley; we learn that Henry Healey, aged eleven, had been to Sunday School ‘‘but did not know anything about Christ’’; while Mary Holmes, aged fourteen, who also went to Sunday School ‘‘did not know all her letters’’. It is interesting that the Commissioners expected that Sunday School attendance should have rectified this. Perhaps Henry knew his letters, and Mary knew something about Christ!

This was typical of the whole country, and the Government realised it had to act. More money was granted to the voluntary societies, and more inspection took place. This became known as ‘payment by results’ because no money was granted if no tests were passed. Eventually the Education Act of 1870 set up elected School Boards, charged with the provision of elementary schools in areas where there was a shortage of voluntary schools. In passing, the


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Nonconformists were very angry at the preferential treatment given to National Schools, and the ‘conscience clause’ reared its head! In 1876 attendance at school was made compulsory, and in 1891 free. Between 1870 and 1890 the average school attendance rose from one and a quarter millions to four and a half millions, while the money spent on each child doubled.

The Twentieth Century

We can do no more than glance at more recent developments. In 1902 School Boards were discarded and the power to provide education, both primary and secondary, was vested in county councils and the larger borough councils. Local scholarships were introduced so that poorer children could attend more traditional grammar-type schools and so obtain a more academic education. The 1944 Act tried to give equal educational opportunities to all, and abolished fee-paying places in State Grammar Schools. Since then, the introduction of Comprehensive schools has, perhaps, been the greatest change — until the most recent Education Reform Act, which allows schools to opt out of the state system, moves power away from local Education Authorities to Governing Bodies, and sets up a new National Curriculum. All this is not the end of the story — one has only to open a newspaper to discover that, for good or ill, education in this country is changing as rapidly as ever. We cannot overestimate the importance of education, nor can we afford to be uncaring or complacent about it. Over half a century ago, the historian G. M. Trevelyan wrote the Education Acts of 1870 and 1902, England could not have competed in the coming era of machinery and organisation, and her people would have sunk into the barbarism of an uneducated city population, a far worse form of society than the uneducated rural population of old times, where the character and mind of ploughmen and craftsmen were formed by influences of nature, the agricultural life, and the old system of apprentice.’’ The latter half of this quotation is a fair description of Honley two or three hundred years ago; but one cannot read the first half without calling to mind such modern concerns as the ‘inner city’ and the ‘underclass’. One wonders what Trevelyan would have to say about these matters in 1990; and, again, what will some historian fifty years hence be saying about the 1988 Education Act?


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Historic Sites in Honley

No doubt there are many more places in Honley of historical interest than those listed below; and known historic sites where all traces of the former buildings have vanished have nearly all been omitted; so at least if you take the trouble to visit any of the places below you are likely to see something!

Honley is a large area extending some way from the village itself, and a few places below would entail quite a long walk to reach them. Most sites, however, are within easy walking distance of the centre of Honley and, with the aid of a map, one or two circular tours could be planned to include them all. The list, as it stands, is in a roughly chronological order.


St. Mary’s Church is on Church Street and would be hard to miss. There has been a place of worship on this site for six centuries or more; the chapel which preceded the present building stood for over three hundred years. That chapel was replaced by the present church, which was founded in 1843.

Until 1888 Honley was part of the parish of Almondbury; it then became a separate parish and St. Mary’s its Parish Church, and it has always been at the heart of the life of the village. Its worshippers have included members of many prominent Honley families who have been generous benefactors and tireless supporters of National Schools and other church and village organisations, and even now Anglicans serve, for example, on the Governing Boards of local schools, and in other educational spheres.

To this day, St. Mary’s has an active Sunday School. Although its activities and methods may be very different from those in Upper Steps Mill two hundred years ago, the early pioneers who founded the first schools would have no difficulty in seeing a common purpose running through them all.

While you are there, look at the remains of the ancient stocks — to the right, just inside the main gate. Maybe, with a stretch of the imagination, they might be classed as an early piece of educational equipment.

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Church Street

Stay a moment longer in Church Street — it is full of Honley history. With your back to the Parish Rooms look across the street to No. 27. In this attractive house before the 1914 war, a Miss Beaumont ran a mixed private school with the aid of her sister, and there are a few Senior Citizens still living in the village who remember with affection the firm but sympathetic teaching which they experienced there. Again in Swift’s Fold, off St. Mary’s Road behind the Church, one of the cottages housed a Dame School conducted by Mrs. Clementina Swift (‘‘Clemmie’’) — her family giving their name to the Fold. Yet again, going further back, the Honley Mechanics Institute for a time used premises further down Church Street.


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Upper Steps Mill

This large building stands near the eastern end of Magdale, overlooking the mill pond and the confluence of Mag Brook and the River Holme. If you go down Spider Alley and turn left to go down river, it is visible at once. Here in 1790 was founded the first Sunday School in Honley. Children of all denominations were taught there and it is said that some of the sand trays and slates used in the teaching can be found in the Tolson Museum in Huddersfield. In 1814 all three religious groups — Anglicans, Independents and Methodists — removed their children to their separate Sunday Schools.


After some years of meeting for worship in their own homes, Honley Independents built their own chapel in 1797 on Moorbottom, where the Scout hut now stands. The land was given by one of their members, and money raised by benefactions and voluntary subscriptions. The burial ground was attached, and many grave- stones are still to be seen in the grass nearby.

A Sunday School was started, and in 1839 a separate building was put up to house it. This building eventually proved too small for


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Moorbottom Sunday School (Demolished 1910)

the thriving school, and was replaced by a bigger one in 1882. This in its turn was demolished in 1910, and the stone from it used to build the present Trinity Church, on the other side of the road.


Go up Church Street (northwest) and descend Green Cliff to the point where the three roads — Green Cliff, Sentry and Thirstin — meet. On your left, in the angle between Green Cliff and Thirstin, is the old Green Cliff Chapel. It is now a private home, and with alterations and stone cleaning, looks deceptively young; in fact it was the first Methodist chapel built in Honley, in 1806. The congregations thrived, and in 1826 they and their Sunday School moved to a much bigger chapel at High Street (See number 6), and Green Cliff closed.


When the Church pupils left the Sunday School in Upper Steps Mill, they were taught at first in the old Town Hall (at the bottom of Cuckoo Lane, and long since demolished), and plans were swiftly made to provide new premises. Mary Jagger tells us that the National Society headed the subscription list by sending £50, the Earl of Dartmouth £21, and Mr. William Brooke (of the family which has


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done much for Honley), gave £10 together with the land on which to build, and there were hosts of smaller subscriptions. So, in 1816, was built the first National School on the south side of School Street (that is, across the road from the present Infants’ School). The numbers grew, and in 1846 the new National School was built, thanks again to the same generous local support, and the 1816 building has disappeared without trace. Ever since it was put up in 1846 the school has been altered and improved, with land area

School Street — The National School

increased and buildings added, to meet the needs of the Education Department and growing number of pupils. From 1953 the senior classes moved on to Holmfirth, and the Boys’ and Girls’ Schools were amalgamated as Honley CE Junior Mixed School; later, in 1954, further amalgamation with the Infants took place. Eventually, about twenty years ago, the school split, the juniors going to a new purpose-built school on Jagger Lane, and the School Street premises now form the Infant and Nursery schools.

As you stand in School Street looking at the school, you cannot miss the bold inscription in stone over the door; nor, probably, will you overlook the unsightly large window to the right of the door and an unfortunate ‘improvement’. The new sign, to the left of the gate, summarises in three letters, CE(C) — Church of England (Controlled) — much of the nineteenth century relations between Church and State in the field of education.

This might be the place to mention that Smithy Place (Brockholes) forms part of Honley, and there too, in about 1837, a National School was set up. Its history closely parallels that of Honley’s school, and


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again, about 22 years ago, its pupils migrated up the hill to a new modern building, while the old National School continues as a community hall. If you travel that far, have a look at it, on the track climbing up to St. George’s Church.


High Street Wesleyan Chapel Ebenezer

(Demolished 1970)

This site (no building remains) lies in the open area rising to the east above the cottages at the bottom of Cuckoo lane.

The Wesleyans, who had outgrown their chapel at Green Cliff (see number 4) moved to an imposing chapel here, between Cuckoo Lane and High Street, in 1827. Initially, its thriving Sunday School was underneath the chapel and was entered from Cuckoo Lane; later a new Sunday School, a large building in itself, was added in 1879. Church and School flourished until recent times, but the wall of the chapel which loomed over Cuckoo Lane developed so alarming a bulge that High Street closed in 1969 — the congregation and school joining with Southgate (see number 9) at Moorbottom Chapel (see number 11) — and was demolished in the next year. To fulfil our promise that there is something to see, we must direct you to Trinity Church where, at the southernmost corner of the chapel (that is, to the left of the main door as you face the chapel) you will find, looking rather forlorn and flaking, the date stone of High Street Ebenezer, which was recovered during demolition.


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Go southwest out of Honley on Bradshaw Road. After half a mile or so turn left into Cross Lane, and, where it meets Oldfield Road turn right and go 250 yards. At the right side of the road is a public footpath sign (this footpath comes from Bradshaw Road and would be an alternative means of approach if you are on foot). The building across the road from the footpath sign is the old National School. You must look at the inscription over the front door (in its northeast wall). On the outskirts of the Honley area, the hamlet of Oldfield acquired its own little National School — built with help from Honley friends on land given by Lord Dartmouth in 1828. It had a long and chequered history — in 1874 the school was renamed ‘The Mission Rooms’ and the Vicar of Netherthong conducted services. For a while the building served as a working men’s club, but in 1908 Sunday services and the Sunday School were re-started. Eventually, the ‘Mission’ closed, and the building is now a private home.


Go northeast up Gynn Lane, under the railway arch, and climb a further 200 yards or so to the chapel — now a private home - on the right. The Haigh family were ardent supporters of the Methodist New Connexion, and eventually Joseph Haigh built the Woodroyd Chapel on land he provided in 1840, and a small Sunday School was conducted there. Previously, this Hall Ing family had opened, in 1821, a Sunday School in a room known as ‘The Stove’. This room was part of the old mill, now demolished, which stood opposite the chapel and was used for cloth manufacturing during the week.

Mrs. Jagger tells how, in 1838, a young girl walked twice every Sunday from Honley to this earlier Woodroyd Sunday School. This same girl in 1914, aged 86, was ‘intelligent and well-read’, although Hall Ing Sunday School was her ‘only education’. By the way the Sunday School teachers were fined for being absent or late! Some time in the last ten years, after severe decline in congregations, the chapel closed and was converted to private use. Its connection with Honley education is slender, but so attractive a chapel and setting should not be missed. Note the inscription over the main door, and the gravestones in the garden.


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On the right, 200 yards along Southgate — the ‘Honley Theatre’. The Primitive Methodists worshipped elsewhere for thirty years but, with growing numbers, they put up their Bethel here in 1842, with a Sunday School, for which a new building was erected in 1914. Chapel and school flourished for many years but eventually, in 1968, the Sunday Schools of Southgate, Moorbottom and High Street United, and in the next year both Southgate and High Street Chapels closed, the united congregations going to Moorbottom. The Southgate building is now put to good use by the Honley Players, and it may be said that Southgate is still making a contribution to the cultural life of Honley.


The cobbled path called Berry Croft climbs from Thirstin Road to the top of Cuckoo Lane and to Town Head. Most of the way up is a small building, on the left, with filled-in windows.

Jonathan Roebuck, a Thirstin man prominent in the Methodist New Connexion, built this small chapel and Sunday School in 1856, and it thrived for a time; but when Roebuck died, it declined rapidly, and in 1887 the chapel closed. The building is now used by Honley Silver Band, so here, too, it can be said that this old building still has a place in Honley’s cultural scene.


In 1910 building work began on the present church on the north side of Moorbottom, close to the already existing large Sunday School, put up in 1882. Stone from the old chapel across the road was used for this new building, and Moorbottom Congregational Church opened for services in 1911.

A notable change occurred in 1969 when Methodist congregations from High Street and Southgate joined Moorbottom to form Trinity Church. Later, in 1979, the interior of the church was much modified to accommodate the Sunday School and other church activities, and the old Sunday School building was then demolished, to be replaced by the sheltered housing visible beside the church. Throughout all these changes the Sunday School has had a continuous history of


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Trinity Church

service to the young people of Honley; within Honley village, St. Mary’s and Trinity are the only remaining places of public worship.

Finally, as you look at Trinity Church, with a spire 85ft. high, you may like to reflect that it was built for less than £5,000!


The school stands high up on the left of Station Road, and is visible from afar. One can hardly leave the subject of education in Honley without a mention of this secondary school, if only to point the contrast with all that has gone before.

As soon as we turn to secondary education in Honley, we find


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that we cannot discuss it in isolation from developments in Holmfirth. We have also to remind ourselves that, before ‘comprehensive education’ was introduced, secondary education divided pupils into two distinct channels — the ‘selected’ pupils, judged to be suitable for ‘grammar school’ education, and the ‘non- selected’ pupils, for whom a less academic education, such as was provided by a Secondary Modern School, would be appropriate. Until 1932 no secondary education was available within Honley; to find any, the pupil would have to go to Holmfirth, or outside the Holme Valley altogether. In Holmfirth, however, the Technical Institute (which first opened in 1892) was re-opened in 1907 as the Holmfirth Secondary School. This school, along with the Nabb School, attracted pupils from all over the valley, and was always short of space. Eventually, in 1959, secondary pupils were able to go to the much more spacious buildings at Thongsbridge.

ant eS 4 4 n Uy 2 VAN me eh fs eee aad rr dee A SS = ” I . ™ 4) ro vc . 4 m4) .- 7 48 sv ~N Ww Honley High School — an impression

Meanwhile, in 1932, the Holme Valley got its own Grammar School when new buildings, only the nucleus of the present school, were provided, initially for up to 480 pupils. Thus the ‘selected pupils’ from the Holme Valley and the Meltham area were catered for, including many from the overcrowded Holmfirth Secondary School.

However, the ‘non-selected’ pupils, including those from the senior classes of our Honley National School, continued to attend the Secondary School at Holmfirth, or later at Thongsbridge, until the arrival in 1973 of the comprehensive school.


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The new school at Honley was much extended in the 1950s, and then in 1973 a host of new buildings appeared when the school ‘went comprehensive’ with the new title Honley High School. The pupils now number 1,200, aged 11-19; the entry at 11 is broadly from the Honley and Meltham areas, but the large Sixth Form serves the whole Holme Valley as well as Meltham.

Similarly, in 1973, the Holmfirth Secondary School became Holmfirth High School, with a comprehensive intake at 11, going up to 16.

Much more could be said about these two fine schools, but space does not permit. The Christian pioneers of 1790 would be astonished to see them; but we in Honley, with hindsight, can trace a continuous thread through two centuries of history, stretching all the way from Honley High School to Upper Steps Mill.


This school, briefly mentioned in section 5 as a new purpose built school in Jagger Lane, is now more than twenty years old and has a firmly established place in the life of Honley. Most local people under the age of thirty will have memories of their time there before going up to the High School. Catering for children in the age range of 7-11, it currently has 250 pupils.

A particulary attractive feature of the school is the old barn close to the private gate in Marsh Gardens. It is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the village. Thanks to the voluntary efforts of the Parent Teacher Association, the building has been converted and equipped to provide useful teaching areas full of character — a self- help enterprise which would have earned the approval of both Samuel Smiles and the men and women who set the Sunday School ball rolling.


& re we) oe i me



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