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Chapter 9

Schools and Colleges

“We must educate our masters”

Viscount Sherbroke (1867)

There is no doubt that the pure and bracing air of Rawdon appealed to pedagogues down the years. Schools are dealt with in order of date and not in a league table!

Nether School Yeadon

Nether Yeadon School This was a joint Quaker/Baptist and joint Rawdon/Yeadon effort, near to the junction of Apperley Lane and Warm Lane. The land was obtained from Henry Layton in 1703 on a 999 year lease at a rent of 2d. per annum, a peppercorn rent even in those days, and it is interesting that, staunch Anglican though he was, he was not intolerant of dissenting education. The first trustees were:
Hugh Marshall Rawdon John Marshall – Crow Hill (?) Christopher Hird – Crowtrees Farm Thomas Hird – Yeadon Zachariah Collier – Gill House It was rebuilt in 1821 and sold in 1905 to become a private house, now Layton Cottage. The capital was invested in a trust to help scholars of the two townships. John Marshall M.P. (see p. 22) was educated there.

St. Peter’s Church School

Thomas Layton built a school for boys in 1710 at the junction of Layton Avenue and Town Street. A church school for girls and infants was built in Town Street in 1861 and extended in 1876 with two classrooms for boys, at a cost of £800. A master’s house was also included.

The school but not the house, was burnt down in 1951. It was rebuilt to designs of the W.R.C.C. architect and re-opened in 1965, then becoming ‘controlled’ rather than ‘aided’ that is to say that the education authority paid more, and therefore had more control, than the Church. It is mentioned by Pevsner in his ‘Buildings of England, The West Riding’ (1959) p. 399. An infants department to the rear of the main building was built in 1976, and the master’s house is now occupied by the caretaker. Thomas Layton’s building (‘The Institute’) was used for parochial purposes from 1876 to 1979 when it was sold and made into a private house. There is a grave in the churchyard of William Hodgson (1789-1853) who was headmaster for 29 years.

Woodhouse Grove School

The earlier history of this estate has been dealt with in Chapter 5. After William Hird’s executors sold in 1788 it passed again to Robert Elam, a prominent Leeds Quaker, who built the tower or folly (‘Elam’s Temple’) still quartered on the arms of the Grove. It is said that he wanted to provide work for the unemployed during a time of depression, but why should a pacific Quaker want crenellations?

The Wesleyans purchased the estate in 1811, over 35 acres for £4,575 and spent £1,500 on alterations and furnishings. It opened in January 1812 for the education of the sons of Wesleyan ministers who had problems due to their repeated moves. In 1882 it was refounded to admit the sons of laymen, Wesleyan or otherwise. I would not presume to précis the 400 pages of Dr. F.C. Pritchard’s1 excellent ‘History of Woodhouse Grove School’ (1978) which is readily available. Since 1812 some 12,000 pupils have attended the school.

Since Frank Pritchard wrote, wine and women (there was always plenty of song) have breached this temple of abstinent Methodist monasticism – Ichabod or Hallelujah?


The Friends School2

This opened in 1832 at Low Green. Initially it was only for boys but girls were admitted in 1835, there being a long tradition of co-education among the Quakers. The fees, subject to a means test, varied from £8 to £16 per annum. By 1851 there were 53 pupils. There were extensions in the 1860s and a serious fire in 1878 destroyed about one third of the buildings, though fortunately without casualties. There were more extensions in 1898 but in 1921 it was forced to close, 47 pupils being transferred either to Ackworth or Great Ayton, Cleveland. After the school closed the site was occupied as tenements and by 1930 these were causing Rawdon U.D.C. some concern. Some of them were said to be unfit for human habitation. The buildings are now a light industrial estate and the headmaster’s house a private house. An incised stone bearing the words “Friends School” remains.

The Rev. Anthony Ibbotson’s Seminary

As incumbent of Rawdon Church between 1823 and 1858 he ran a seminary for boys, no doubt to eke out his modest stipend. He was an M.A. and taught Latin, Greek, History, French, German, Composition and Writing. The fees were one guinea for boys under 10 and two guineas for those over 10. Were these per week, month or term? Surely they cannot have been per annum.

The Baptist Ministerial Training College 3

This was opened on Woodlands Drive in 1859 having previously been at Great Horton, Bradford since 1806. The architect was J.H. Paul of Cardiff and the style is Victorian Gothic. The site had been offered on generous terms by Robert Milligan, a Congregationalist, who then refunded half the price. The total cost was £1,200 (£10,000 today) and some 700 persons are said to have been present at the opening ceremony, including Sir Francis Crossley of Halifax and Sir Titus Salt, also a Congregationalist but never bigoted. From 1836 to 1863, the President was the Rev. Dr. J. Ackworth M.A. Ll.D., the father-in-law of J.V. Godwin (see p. 59). Dr. Ackworth’s name is still preserved in streets to the northwest of Harrogate Road. In 1934 there were 30 students. During the last War it fell as low as four but rose to 18 by 1946. It closed in the 1970s and for a time was used as residential accommodation for Trinity and All Saints College, Horsforth, for which it cannot have been particularly convenient. In 1983 it was converted into 17 flats now called Larchmore.

Little London School

Built in Micklefield Lane in 1846 in a vernacular Tudor style at the cost of Robert Milligan, it was a British Training School, run on Lancasterian4 principles. These schools had a Christian ethos but leaned towards non-conformity rather than Anglicanism. It was also used by the Baptists as a Sunday School until their own was built in 1884 and also as a Mechanics Institute until a building in Leeds Road was acquired. From 1920 it was used as an infants school only and closed in 1960. The education authority used it for some years for storage purposes and it is now made into flats, as Micklefield Mews (1980).

Littlemoor Primary School

A School Board for Rawdon was created in 1876, subsequent to W.E. Forster’s Education Act of 1870. Based on civil parishes, these Boards had the power to raise money for school buildings and to levy a rate of up to 3d in the £. They could compel attendance. The first members were:

  • Rev. T.Hatton – Minister at Benton Chapel
  • Rev. Robert Howard – Vicar of Rawdon
  • John H. Pratt
  • William Grey – Wesleyan
  • John Thompson – Possibly Quaker
  • C.J. Newstead – solicitor of Otley, was the first clerk.

Littlemoor School was opened in 1879 at the junction of Harrogate Road and Batter Lane. It is in quasi-ecclesiastical style with a bell turret. Apart from some temporary (thus nothing more permanent) classrooms erected at least 30 years ago to the rear there appears to be little fundamental change. The School Board appears to have encouraged the Church to do something about the education of girls!

Littlemoor’s greatest claim to fame must surely be to have taught two great Yorkshire cricketers in Brian Close and Bryan Stott, both taught by Hedley Verity’s sister, Grace, who presided over Standard I for many years.

The school closed in 2005 and is the process of being converted to housing a very fine new school has been built on the land between Leeds Road and Apperley Lane which was once sports fields belonging to Benton Park Grammar School.

Brontë House School5

The Methodists acquired the Ashdown estate (see p. 45) in 1934 and it was opened as a preparatory department for Woodhouse Grove in May of that year by Mr Edmund Lamplough (1860-1940). He was a wealthy insurance underwriter of Blackheath, London, Deputy Chairman of Lloyds and Vice President of the Methodist Conference in 1935. On his death he was said6 “to have sprung from a devout ancestry” and one wonders if there was a connection, however remote, with the Lamplugh family mentioned in Chapter 5. There is a story of an American couple found wandering without permission in the grounds by a pupil who showed them the tree from which Charlotte’s brother Branwell had hanged himself and the place where he is buried. No doubt some American academic is still researching this and the boy is now with a tabloid newspaper!

A pre-preparatory department, Ashdown Lodge was opened in 1993 in the grounds and this preserves the old name.

Benton Park School

Most of the Benton Park triangle, bounded by Harrogate Road, Green Lane and Quaker Lane had belonged in the 18th century to Benjamin Hird. On his death about the turn of the century it passed to John Hustler III, the son of his sister Christiana. By 1838 it was occupied by Joseph Riley, who with his son John, ran a school for boys. By 1851 there were 33 boarders and fees, which included French, Music, Dancing and Drawing were £30 p.a. under 14 and £32 p.a. over 14 with £3 for “washing and linen” (bed presumably).

By 1861 the estate had been acquired by Harrison Milligan, son of John Milligan jnr. (see p. 46 and Appendix E). He traded as Harrison Milligan Son & Co, Stuff Merchants, and his daughter, Lydia Constance married Harry Eveleyn Dewhirst, son of William Dewhirst (see p. 50). His widow lived there until at least 1915.

Between 1951 and 1957 it was used as a senior school for Littlemoor in the days of the tripartite system under the Education Act of 1944. The house was then demolished, apart from a few out-buildings which still survive, and the present building, designed in the shoebox school of architecture, was erected and opened in 1960. Mr J.R.G. Smith who had previously taught in this area at both Aireborough Grammar School and Woodhouse Grove, was headmaster for 23 years before retiring in 1997 when he was the longest serving head teacher with the Leeds Education Authority.

There is a tradition that Micklefield House was used as a girls’ school at some time though no one seems to know when or by whom. Could it have been confused with Westfield House which was certainly used as a girls’ school in the early 1840s by the Misses E and H Wilson?7



1. Headmaster 1950-73.

2. For further details see ‘The Story of Rawdon School’ (1932) – W.Kaye.

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3. For further details see ‘A Short History of Rawdon College’ (1954) – J.O. Barrett.

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4. Named after Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838), a Quaker educational theorist. He relied on older children (‘monitors’) teaching younger ones. Considering the problems of his day, this was possibly no worse than some modern theories. After 1824 Parliament made a small annual grant to his ‘British and Foreign Schools Society’. By 1851 there were 1,500 such schools nationally.

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5. For further details see ‘Brontë House, The First 60 Years’ (1994) – N.Watson. Also p. 45 for the earlier history of the estate.

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6. Methodist Recorder – October 1940.

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7. See ‘Letters of Charlotte Brontë’ Vol I – Ed. M Smith, p. 248, note 8.

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