© CalverleyInfo 2001-2014 - all rights reserved. This page last updated November 6, 2012

A History of Pudsey by Simeon Rayner




Though we may be a long way from being in educational matters what we ought to be, yet we can stand the test when compared with most other places. We can speak with confidence of the provision made in Pudsey for educating the young during the last century, as being equal, if not superior, to that of many other villages in the district. An educational census has not been taken by the Government since 1851, but at that time the general returns proved that there was one day scholar for every 8.5 of the population in England, while in Pudsey there were at that time 28 schools, with 1,454 scholars, or one in every eight of the population; and there were only 116 scholars absent on the day when the census was taken. Adding the scholars in attendance at the Mechanics' Institute and other kindred societies, there was one in every seven receiving instruction in Pudsey. From returns collected privately in 1858, similar results were obtained.
The old Town's School at Littlemoor was probably rebuilt about the beginning of the century. Over the door there is an inscription stating that

This school was repaired by the town in the year of Our Lord 1814. W. Stone, W. Greaves, Overseers; G. Beaumont, J. Drake, chapel-wardens.

Some of the schools in existence fifty years ago, or more, were of a superior class to village schools generally, as, for instance, the Fulneck Boarding Schools, established in 1753, where the branches of learning taught included Latin and Greek, modern languages, geometry, and other branches of mathematics, drawing, painting, etc.; the Commercial School, Fulneck, established about 1770, where the higher branches of education were taught. A school at Fartown was established in 1845, and education was given here to the factory workers, and the branches of learning taught included "Holy Scripture and Catechism, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, grammar, dictation, and the science of common things." The "Pudsey Schools" were established in 1843, and the education given was of a high character, whilst at the Training School, Greenside, started in 1853, the education included mensuration, geography, algebra, mapping, and drawing. In 1855, Pudsey, in addition to the public schools already mentioned, had fifteen private schools, with 500 scholars.
When Mr. Forster's Education measure became law, there was no attempt in Pudsey for several years to take advantage of the proffered boon, until, in 1874, the Education Department sent a notice to the town's authorities, requesting them to supply the school deficiency which had been found to exist. Nothing was done, however, until a second and final notice was received from the Department, calling attention to the deficiency of school accommodation existing in the township, and requiring that steps be taken during the next six months to supply the deficiency. If, at the end of that time, steps had not been taken to supply the necessary accommodation, then the compulsory powers of the Education Act would be used to supply the deficiency. Accompanying the notice were schedules, the first showing the accommodation then existing, as follows: --Fulneck Infant School, 155; Fartown National, 190; Lowtown National, 228; Congregational, Greenside, 270; Primitive Methodist, Rickardshaw, 192; total, 1,035. In this schedule no account was taken of the private adventure schools, of which there were several. Schedule 2 gave the amount and description of accommodation required: --Littlemoor, 200; Lowtown, 500; Marsh, 200; Tyersal, 300; Stanningley, 250; including 120 children from the township of Calverley-with-Farsley.
In December, 1874, preparations for the election of a School Board were commenced, to consist of 7 members. Eight gentlemen were proposed, but one of them withdrew, and thus a contest was avoided. The first Board consisted of the following persons: -- Messrs. James Banks, William Maude, Samuel Wade, George Hinings, J.G. Mills, Robert Dalby, and James Brook. At the first meeting of the Board, held on January 28th, 1875, Mr. George Hinings was elected chairman, and Mr. Robert Dalby, vice-chairman, with Mr. James Brook as clerk pro tem.
The first work of the Board was to make provision for sufficient school accommodation. After taking a census of the children in the district, and making other full and exhaustive inquiries respecting educational requirements, it was decided to build new schools at Rickardshaw Lane and Laisterdyke-the former to accommodate 600 children, at a cost for site, building, and fittings of £6,700; the latter to accommodate 450 children, at a cost of £4,700. The latter has since been incorporated in the borough of Bradford. While these schools were being built, the Greenside and Crimbles Schools were taken under the Board's management. These were followed by the Lowtown National and the Primrose Hills Schools.
Three new schools have been built by the Board since its formation, at a cost of £14,0200. At none of the five elections of the Board has there been a contest, and Mr. George Hinings ably filled the office of Chairman of the Board during the existence of the first four Boards, declining at the last election to act in that capacity, on account of advancing age and infirmity. The following gentlemen have filled the post of vice-chairman: -- Messrs. R. Dalby, James Banks, Simeon Rayner, and D. Moseley. The present members of the Board are: -- Messrs. James Stillings (chairman), D. Moseley (vice-chairman), George Hinings, J.E. Jones, and Revs. R.B. Thompson, M.C. Bichersteth, and D.A. Henderson. Mr. G. Haynes is clerk to the Board, also superintendent and inspector of schools; and Mr. S. Lobley is the school attendance officer. The staff consists of 13 teachers, 10 assistants, and 37 pupil teachers and candidates; total, 60.
The following is a list of the schools, with the accommodation provide and numbers on the registers:--

No. on Registers
Rickardshaw Lane Three Departments
Greenside Mixed and Infants
Chapeltown Junior Mixed
Crimbles Girls and Infants
Primrose Hill Mixed
Lowtown Boys
Stanningley Infants
Littlemoor Infants
Waterloo Infants


The following table will indicate the progress of the schools since the formation of the Board: --
Year School Fees Received Government Grants


Year - School Fees Received Government Grants
1876   79 3 2 __
1877   246 11 3 180 7 9
1878   526 10 5 402 8 9
1879   599 11 10 687 9 9
1880   775 15 11 794 5 11
1881   853 4 3 969 7 5
1882   823 10 2 1,045 17 7
1883   765 10 1 976 15 8
1884   846 11 6 1,015 12 5
1885   865 18 9 954 11 6
1886   881 9 11 1,277 13 6


In 1885, the date of examination of some of the schools was altered, throwing some of the grants into the following year.
In 1882, the Laisterdyke School, with 400 children, was transferred to the Bradford School Board.
It will thus be seen that, except by the loss of the school at Laisterdyke, progress has been continuous. Notwithstanding this, there are now 2,028 children on the registers of the schools. The whole work of the Board has been accomplished at a cost to the ratepayers on the average of less than sixpence in the pound. The educational results in the schools improve from year to year, and according to the testimony of the late Head Inspector, the advance at Pudsey is more marked than in any other part of the Northern district. Regularity in attendance, though still defective, is also improving.
The rise and progress of the Sunday School movement in Pudsey is an interesting feature in the history of the place, and for the brief account of it we give here, we are indebted to an excellent pamphlet, published about sixteen years ago.* The first attempt made to commence a Sunday School on the voluntary system, took place in the year 1807, a year

*History of the Rise and Progress of Sunday Schools in Pudsey and its vicinity, by John Boyes
memorable for the abolition of the slave trade. The originator of the movement in Pudsey was a working man, who was too poor to build a school or defray the rent of a separate building, but he was determined to do something, and he therefore commenced a Sunday School in his own house, in Driver's Fold, Fartown. To William Boyes belongs the distinguished honour of introducing into his native town the inestimable boon of Sunday Schools. After a while this school became too large for the accommodation that could be offered by a dwelling-house, and it was consequently removed by general consent to the Town's School, Littlemoor, where it was for some years conducted. In the course of time, as other schools began to be opened in connection with the various places of worship, this school became appropriated by the church-people as their school. During the time this school was held at Littlemoor, the late Abraham Hainsworth took an active part in its management, and Mrs. Ratcliffe (sister to the first Dr. Hey), also entered warmly into the work of teaching. After being held for a number of years in the Littlemoor School, it was removed when the Ratcliffe Lane School was built.
About the same time that a Sunday School was begun in Fartown, another Sunday School was commenced in the house of John Sugden, who then lived in a cottage adjoining the site on which Allanbrig Mill was subsequently erected. This John Sugden is supposed to have been a cotton weaver at that time, and very likely had several looms in the house. At all events, one loom was pulled down every Saturday night, to make room for the scholars on the succeeding day; and as there were more children than the benches could accommodate, the younger part had to sit on the floor. This school rapidly increased in numbers, so that shortly after, as we are informed, John Sugden sold one of his looms, in order that he might make provision for the Sunday School.
The next Sunday School commenced in Pudsey was the Moravian School, Fulneck, which was established in 1813, and has been continued without interruption to the present time. One of the most active persons in connection with this school in its early years was the late Joshua Sutcliffe, sen.
Zion School (Methodist New Connexion) was begun about the year 1819, in a chamber at the lower part of Fartown. When the chapel was erected in 1825, the school was removed also, and continued to be held in the chapel until the year 1840, when it was removed to a large chamber behind the chapel. It was held in that room until the erection of the present school-room, in the year 1853.
The next Sunday School formed in Pudsey was the Upper School, Lowtown, in the year 1826, and was carried on in this upper room for twenty-six years, until the present new school was built in the year 1853. This large and commodious edifice was erected for two-fold purpose of a Sunday School and to accommodate public meetings on subjects of general importance.
The Littlemoor Wesleyan was formed more than 40 years ago, and after a successful career in that locality has been removed into a new school underneath their handsome hew chapel.
The Gibraltar Wesleyan School was also formed nearly 40 years ago, and was first held in an old chamber belonging to the Gibraltar Mill, and was afterwards removed to the chapel, erected in the years 1840, at Waterloo.
The Primitive Methodist School, Lowtown, Pudsey, was commenced in the year 1839, the year when their chapel was opened, and is now held in the commodious school adjoining the chapel.
The Wesleyan Association commenced a school in Lowtown in the year 1850, which has been continued up to the present time, and is now a part of the Sunday School Union, under the name of the United Methodist Free Church.
Sixty years ago there were five Sunday Schools in Pudsey, and at the present time the number has increased to 22. A Sunday School Union was established in 1868, and is still in existence as the "Pudsey and District Sunday School Union." It comprises 17 schools, with 360 male and 280 female teachers - total 640. Scholars: males, 1,355; females, 1,779; total, 3.364. Teachers who have been scholars, 633; number of classes in the schools, 244; scholars in select classes, 827; in infant classes, 610. Number of volumes in the libraries, 4,000.
In addition to the Day and Sunday Schools, other agencies for the spread of education have been in existence in the township, and some of these have exerted a very marked influence for good on the inhabitants generally.
THE PUDSEY MECHANICS' INSTITUTION was founded in the year 1847, by a few young men who were desirous of improving their leisure time. One or two rooms were first taken at Greenside, the members then numbering less than twenty. In a very short period the Institute was removed to a room opposite the New Inn, Church Lane, occupied for some time, we believe, in the day time by the late Mr. Colfax, as a day-school. While located here rules and regulations were formed, and the number of members increased to thirty, but yet the place met with little public recognition and support, until in December, 1847, a determined effort was made by the members to bring their Institution more prominently before the notice of the public. Accordingly an exhibition was got up, which remained open for a month, at a low charge for admission, and this had the effect of attracting a fair degree of notice and patronage. As the result of the "exhibition" a small surplus of money was left, and the number of members increased to 120, so that the "exhibition" may be said to have been a really happy thought on the part of its promoters. But on the occasion of the first public soiree, in June, 1848, held in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, the number of members had gone down to 70. Yet the Institute prospered, and the membership again slowly increased, until in November, 1849, it was found necessary to move to larger premises, a little lower down Church Lane, now known as the "Butchers' Arms." For fourteen or fifteen years the work of the Institute was carried on here with varying success, the number of members increasing to 200. Much good was done here in the classes for imparting elementary and secondary knowledge, many youths receiving in these classes the larger part of their education. For some reason or other, however, the interest in the Institution appeared eventually to flag, when it was known that the property had changed hands, and the committee had received "notice to quit." A meeting of the committee was held under these unpromising circumstances, and the dissolution of the Institution was freely discussed, and all but decided upon. At this critical moment a gentleman connected with the place-Mr. George Hinings-came into the meeting, and learning what was about to be done, raised his voice against the proposition, and eventually sought out other premises in Hammerton Field, and took the responsibility of the tenancy upon himself. But the affairs of the Institution did not thrive in Hammerton Field; it was too much "out of sight and out of mind," and the membership again dwindled down rapidly.
After a short stay here, that had nearly proved fatal to its existence, despite the efforts and support of several of its original and warmest friends, the committee took a house in Manor House street, and made another effort to rouse the dormant interest in the welfare of the Mechanics' Institute, and with such success that in about a year and a half another change had to be made, in order to find accommodation for the rapidly increasing number of members. The committee rented a house near the present Institute, and ultimately purchased the building, together with some adjoining property, and notwithstanding the increased accommodation, it was found necessary in 1877 to take steps to obtain a new building, and in 1878, the most successful bazaar ever held in Pudsey, contributed over £1,200 towards a new Institute. The site was purchased for £1,600, and the memorial stone was laid on October 6th, 1879, by Mr. W.D. Scales, of Grove House. The following is a description of the building, which occupies a most central position at the top of Lowtown, having a south westerly front to Waver Green, and a north front to Lowtown road and forms with the adjoining Co-operative stores, a handsome and imposing block of buildings. The Gothic style of architecture has been adopted, and one of the principal features of the building is a square tower at the angle of the two streets above mentioned, having a slated spire, which rises to a height of 110 feet, and is surmounted by an ornamental iron finial and vane. In the base of this tower, at the side next Lowtown road, is the principal entrance to the building, the doorway being deeply recessed, and having an arched and moulded head. From the level of the principal entrance short flights of steps lead upwards on to the ground floor (which is raised about 6 feet above the street line), and downwards to the basement, and the steps are so arranged that the rooms on the basement may be let off, or used without interfering in any way with the upper floors. The accommodation on the basement floor is as follows: --a large room, intended to be used for tea-parties or similar gatherings, with kitchen, scullery and store-room adjoining; and also four class-rooms, and a lavatory, etc. These rooms are all of ample size and well-lighted. On the ground floor are a news-room, 34 feet by 24 feet, a committee room, two class-rooms, a lavatory and a secretary's room. A handsome stone staircase, the steps of which are 5 feet wide, leads upward to the first floor, upon which is situated the public hall, 56 feet by 40 feet. It is 32 feet high from floor to ceiling, and has galleries round three sides, which are entered from the second floor level. It will accommodate an audience of 600 persons. Adjoining the public hall are two ante-rooms, with lavatories, etc., for the use of those engaging the hall. There is also upon this floor a science lecture theatre, seated in raised stages, and capable of accommodating 120 students. Upon the second floor, over the science lecture theatre, are spacious rooms, lighted form both roof and sides, to be used by the art classes connected with the Institute. The building is heated throughout by means of hot-water pipes, and special attention has been paid to the lighting and ventilating arrangements. The two principal fronts have been faced with "pitch-faced" wall stones of excellent quality, obtained from quarries in the immediate neighbourhood, and all the windows have ashlar dressings. Most of the windows are of tinted cathedral glass, except those to the upper storey. The works were carried out under the superintendence of the architects, Messrs. Hope and Jardine of Bradford, whose plans were selected in open competition. The total cost of the structure, with fittings, was £6,305, of which 3,000 remains to be paid. The opening ceremony took place on November 10th, 1880, and was performed by Herbert J. Gladstone, Esq., M.P. In 1885, the number of members was 596; volumes in the library, 1,300.
A Literary Union was established in 1854, at Fulneck, the number of members being limited to 24, and monthly meetings are held, at which papers are read by the members on historical, scientific, or literary subjects. Other societies exist in connection with the various religious and political organizations, at which questions of public importance are discussed, essays are read, and lectures are occasionally delivered. We may mention, the Church Institute, the Congregational Young Men's Improvement Society, the Wesleyan Young Men's Improvement Society, and the Unitarian Young Men's Improvement Society. The classes, libraries, lectures, etc., have an important influence in forming the habits and characters of the young persons who are members.
Amongst other educational agencies, Pudsey has its local newspapers; the Pudsey News and the Pudsey and District Advertiser. The News was established in 1872 by Mr. T. Stillings, and is published by him, with Mr. John Middlebrook as its able editor. The paper is issued weekly, on the Friday, and contains accurate and well digested reports of all local matters, notes and correspondence on affairs of interest to the public of the neighbourhood; also, a large amount of varied news, and a serial story of general interest. The price is one half-penny. The Pudsey and District Advertiser was established in 1875, by Mr. J.W. Birdsall, Stanningley. It is published on the Friday, at one half-penny. It gives reports of all matters of interest connected with the town and district, together with serial tales of domestic interest, and original articles and notes on imperial and local subjects, railway time tables, etc.