A short history of Allerton School

Our School opened on 19 November 1894, a proud day for Allerton village and for the Bradford School Board chaired by James Hanson, Esq. He and a number of local dignitaries performed the opening ceremony at 9.30am for 329 pupils and their teachers. 

The Headmaster was Mr Richard Hicks, whose work and service is to this day commemorated in a stained glass window at St Peter’s Church.

 The total cost was £12,743 – a huge sum in those days – and was considered by some to be rather extravagant for the provision of an elementary education based on the 3 s for the children of mill workers. The older children in the school were themselves ‘half-timers’ ie spent half a day at school and half at the mill. No wonder they were tired out. 

The staff consisted of Mr Hicks and seven teachers, one pupil teacher and one monitor. At that time, a teacher with a 1st class certificate was paid £120 per year, an uncertificated teacher £30 per year and a student teacher £18 pounds a year.

 Even then Attendance was extremely important but that was because the amount of money a school received was linked to it. Registers were meticulously kept and examined. The children were examined regularly too, in all subjects, including the upkeep of the gardens.

 Apart from the 3Rs the children had scripture, Physical Exercise, Drawing, Modelling, Geography, History, Nature Study and Home Reading.

 An interesting entry in the Log Book dated 15.6.1899 tell us:

 “Mr Priestman distributed the prizes gained at the Scripture examination to the successful competitors. A very nice address was given to the scholars. They were strongly advised to pay particular attention to the moral teaching of the pieces selected from the Bible, thus they would become good boys and girls and dutiful citizens when they grew up.”

Clearly that was what school was all about in those days. However, children will be children and the Log Books give many insights into behaviour which has changed little over the years.

 

21 January 1897

Cautioned the boys over rough play in the yard.

22 October 1897

Spoke to children about chalking upon the walls.

Punished one boy severely for indecent language.

28 October 1897

Investigated some charges of theft laid against some of the 
pupils attending the school.

9 November 1897

Severely reprimanded some boys for smoking.

4 April 1905

Harry Popham has gained the scripture prize in Standard VI. 
He came to the school with a very bad reputation and was about to be sent to a Reformatory Ship.

8 October 1908

Spoke to the children about fighting in the streets and unruly behaviour.

15 February 1910

To prevent future accidents I have advised boys to leave their roller skates at home.

14 January 1915

Spoke to the children about the danger of throwing orange peel on the pavement.

8 October 1919

Punished boys for playing truant yesterday.

 

 One area in which considerable advances have been made over the years has been in health and hygiene. In 1894 a soup kitchen provided for 50 children (prior to the days of free meals). 

The first vision test was recorded in 1895, the first dental inspection in 1913. 

In December 1896 the school was closed for a month due to an outbreak of measles – there were 100 cases and 3 deaths. 

Typhoid fever was also reported; the school was subsequently closed for epidemics of mumps and influenza. Scarlet fever and ring worm were also reported, and a child’s death from diphtheria recorded.

During the First World War the children were moved over the road to the Congregation Church. The children worked hard for the war effort, converting sacks of bed covers, knitting mittens for the soldiers, making sandbags and hand-grenade bags. 

At the time of World War I the children were evacuated and the school closed, reopening in January 1940 on a three days per week shift basis. Many air raid practices and examinations of gas masks were held – but only one ‘real’ warning came on 25.9.1940: 

‘Air Raid Warning at 1.40pom. Children got into shelters where Shelter Activities were carried on such as singing and guessing games. The All Clear went at 1.52pm and the children returned to their classes.’

 The air raid shelter (sited where the skip and climbing wall now stand) became a regular ‘Dig for Victory’ hive of activity. 

In August 1928 the school became Allerton Primary and Modern School, with 89 juniors and 133 seniors. Numbers soon increased to 340. 

In 1951 the school finally got rid of its gas lamps and changed to electric lighting.

 In 1960 the school became Allerton Junior & Infant School but it wasn’t until 1965 that indoor toilets were installed. The outdoor toilets were not demolished until 1970, the air raid shelter in 1972. In 1984 the new Dining Room was completed. 

In 1965 saw the first French lessons at Allerton and in 1974 a part of 35 children left for St Malo – the first ever visit to France.

 In 1972 the Local Education Authority reorganised and the building became Allerton First School and Allerton Middle School.

 In 2000 the Local Education Authority reorganised their school system again and closed all the middle Schools in the Bradford Authority and reintroduced a 2-tier system of Primary and Secondary Schools. Hey presto! Allerton Primary School was reborn. 

In 2003 we demolished our old Nursery and built a superb new one on the main school site.

In 2005 we were successful in a Lottery bid and had a excellent Multi Use Games Area built on the site of the old nursery.

In 2006 we created a Wildlife Garden on spare ground where a building has been demolished. We have a photograph to show that it was a garden back in 1946!

 

So What of School Today…….

 

School today is a very different place and we feel sure that our Victorian counterparts would be amazed to see its £2M transformation in 2012 and hope they would appreciate the sense on community and continuity. We are very proud of our village roots and that so many generations of the same families have been educated here.

 Here are a few of the many comments regarding the transformation:

 

“A much needed upgrade of a Victorian building which is now fit for learning in the 21st century”

  

“Amazing learning spaces”

  

“A fantastic blend / fusion of historic and contemporary design”

 

 “WOW – What a transformation!”