Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
Shortly after entering Luck Lane stop, if possible, near the drive to Royds Hall to look at the three phases of building, the mansion of the nineteenth century, the school buildings of the 1920s and the modern sports hall.
During the First World War Royds Hall played an important part in the local war effort. Initially, the house was used as a reception centre for Belgian refugees, then, in June 1915, it was decided that the grounds would provide a suitable site for a military hospital. Within three months the project, which was funded entirely by voluntary subscription, was complete. Most of the hospital's six hundred beds were located in wooden huts erected near the house which itself was made over to the medical staff for the duration of the war. So great was the number of casualties during those calamitous years that the hospital was always full and by the end of the war more than seventeen thousand men had been treated there.
In 1921, both the Huddersfield and West Riding Education Authorities found themselves short of grammar school places and, in September of that year, they opened and jointly ran a new school at Royds Hall. In the first year there were seventy pupils on roll with a staff often, led by the headmaster, Mr. E.F. Chancy M.A. A co-educational grammar school was something of a novelty in Huddersfield at that time but the idea proved popular for only two years later numbers had risen to three hundred pupils and twenty three teachers. Such an increase led to problems of accommodation. At first, the children were taught in the mansion but quite soon, what was described as "The Hut" was brought into use as an overspill.
By January 1924, work on a new range of buildings was underway but progress was slowed by the builders' strike in July of that year. By that time numbers had risen to nearly four hundred and, at the beginning of the autumn term, as the new building was still nowhere near completion, the Governors resorted to renting Milnsbridge Baptist School as an annexe for the new entrants. This became affectionately known as the Nursery and continued in use until the new building opened in 1926. Four years later, the ground in front of the school was levelled to provide much needed playing fields for the use of the hockey, football and cricket teams.
When Mr. Chancy retired in July 1933 he was succeeded as headmaster by Mr. D. St. J. C. Gumey B.A. M.Ed., who will doubtless be remembered by any of our readers who are Old Roydsians — as will the Senior Mistress, Mrs. Bamforth. Both Mr. Gurney and Mrs. Bamforth retired in July 1959 just before the school began admitting non-selective pupils.
Before leaving Royds Hall School it is worth mentioning one of the school's ex-pupils who went on to achieve high office. J.H. Wilson entered the school in 1923 from New Street Council School, Milnsbridge. In July 1928, whilst in form 1c, he wrote an article for the school magazine describing aspects of a visit he had recently made to Australia - surely an exceptional experience for a child in those days. Three years later, the magazine reported that although J.H. Wilson was recovering from typhoid fever, his progress was slow and it would be many months before he could return to school. However, his long absence did not impede his academic progress for he eventually went, by way of Wirral Grammar School, to Jesus College, Oxford. In 1945, he entered Parliament and in 1947, at the age of thirty one, he was appointed President of the Board of Trade. In that year also he accepted an invitation to address the school at its annual Speech Day. In 1963, following the death of Hugh Gaitskell, he was appointed Leader of the Opposition and, a year later, the late Harold Wilson achieved his long stated ambition when he became Prime Minister.