Schools in Bradford

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Schooling was provided by the priest of Thomas Horton’s chantry from 1524 and survived the chantry’s dissolution in 1540, however its funds were appropriated from the Crown in 1559 towards funding a school in Salisbury.
St Laurence, The Saxon ChurchRents on some pieces of land were given over by Edward Norton [Horton?] to support the foundation of a Grammar School in Bradford as long ago as 1584, but Bradford’s Free Grammar School was only set up, by Rev John Rogers in an old building near the church, in 1712. This building was recognised as the Saxon Church in 1856 and the school was moved to part of the Church Hall in 1874 when its restoration began. It was performing badly by the end of the 19th century and was wound up in 1903.

.The British and Foreign School Society set up a non-denominational school in 1817 in the building in part of what is now St Margaret’s car park that had formerly been the Quaker Meeting House and had already been used as a school from 1806. This British School was soon teaching up to 200 pupils. A British School for girls was opened in the old Church House, Church Street 1854 to 1874.

Undenominational School, Masons LaneThe condition of the school building in St Margaret’s and its surroundings amid factories become increasingly bad and the British Society did up a former woollen cloth mill on Mason’s Lane that had been burnt down in 1869. This was opened as an Undenominational School for infants and girls in 1874 and, with closure of the old school, the boys were moved there too in 1880. It closed in 1924 after its landlord had given notice to quit and a new non-denominational County School was built.

 

Bradford National School, Church StreetTrinity Church National School, also later known as the Parochial School, was opened by the Church of England’s National Society for the Education of the Poor in a new building in Church Street in 1836. It educated boys downstairs and girls upstairs, under a master and a mistress. The building is now two houses.

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Trinity School, NewtownBy the later 19th century the demand for places after education was made compulsory grew too great for the building and a bigger Trinity School was built just up the hill, on Newtown, in 1896. After the Second World War it became Trinity Secondary Modern School. It moved to new buildings in Ashley Road in 1962.

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Christ Church National SchoolChrist Church National School was opened by the Anglicans at Mount Pleasant, next to the recently built church, in 1847. The original building was paid for by Captain Septimus Palairet, who was instrumental in bringing the rubber industry to Bradford in the following year. An infants school was added to the site in 1878, again privately paid for, this  time by Miss Isabella Poynder of Leigh House. A new school, currently with about 400 pupils, was built nearby in 1956 and the old buildings are now The Mount Pleasant Centre, a social club.

Fitzmaurice Grammar School, Junction RoadThe County Technical School was opened in temporary premises in Frome Road in 1891 and then in a purpose-built building in Junction Road in 1897, designed by Bradford-born architect Thomas Ball Silcock. Its cost of £3,288 was paid for by Lord Fitzmaurice, Erlysman Pinckney, Clothworkers  Company, Department of Science & Arts and Wiltshire County Council. It was renamed Fitzmaurice Grammar School following its benefactor’s death in 1935. It closed in 1980 in a reorganisation which saw it merged with Trinity School as the present St Laurence School.

A piece of land in Poulton Field, next to Trowbridge Road, was purchased in 1919 with the plan that the County Council would build a primary school there. The Council failed to build it until a petition and open meeting of the town demanded it, reinforced by the prospect of the Undenominational School becoming homeless. The County Junior Mixed and Infants’ School was built and opened in 1928. It adopted the name of Fitzmaurice Primary School in 1985, after the Fitzmaurice Grammar School had closed.

In 1948 it was suggested that Trinity Secondary Modern School and Fitzmaurice Grammar School should unite, but it did not happen. Only in 1980 did they join to become St Laurence School, at a green field site between Ashley Road and Churches, that had been newly built for Trinity to move to in 1962.

There were private schools of various sizes which usually had a short life, often closing with the retirement or death of the teacher. The Rev Dr Francis Knight (1767-1838) was running one such in Bradford at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1817 it moved to South Wraxall Manor House and lasted until 1826. His son Rev Joseph Philip Knight (1812-87) composed music of popular songs and hymns, including Rocked in the cradle of the deep.

Kingwell Court School, Frankleigh HouseA private grammar school was operating near Frankleigh House on the Bath Road in 1871. In the 20th century Kingwell Court Preparatory School was set up in the building as a boarding school for boys. In 1959 it merged with a school which had moved from Little Horwood, Buckinghamshire under the name of the Old Ride School. The Old Ride closed in 1990 and was replaced for a few years by a special needs school and by the Rudolf Steiner Orchard School. Frankleigh House has now been divided into flats.

Miss Cockrom and pupilsMiss Mabel Cockrom (who died in 1938) ran a preparatory school for boys and girls at her house, 28 St Margaret’s Street, between 1895 and 1932, at sometime assisted by her brother Percy. She educated several of the prominent families from the southern side of the town, including the Uncles and Gerald and Angela, the children of the chemist Richard Christopher.

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Avon House School, Kingston RoadAvon House High School for Girls was a private venture that was to open in 1897, in the mansion in Kingston Road that was later taken over as offices by the Spencer Moulton rubber company. Miss Julia Blake, headmistress, became a teacher and vice-principal at Fitzmaurice Grammar School and the project was cancelled. The building was sold to the Spencer Moulton rubber company two years later.

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Miss Venton's school advertisement 1887Typical of many small home-based schools for private tuition was the one that was run by Miss Ella Venton at the house of her parents in the 1890s. She also advertised herself as “teacher of the pianoforte, terms moderate”.

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