Monday, 22 August 2016

Education in Victorian Leeds

Placement student Kaya Firth researched Victorian schools around Leeds

Playtime at Meanwood Road Board School in 1910.

The 1870s-1890s appears to have been a very popular time for schools to be built around Leeds. This relates to the Elementary Education Act of 1870, which enabled all children to have access to education between the ages of 5 and 13. It was also a way of ensuring that local councils had a School Board of Education in order to build and manage schools in areas where they were needed. Leeds School Board was set up in 1870.

Green Lane schoolchildren, pictured in 1906.

One of the schools I managed to find out about was Green Lane School. Using the Triennial Reports of Leeds School Board 1891-1900 I found that it had opened on the 11th November 1874.

The school was enlarged in 1894 for an additional 630 pupils, plus a workshop and cookery room, at a total cost of £11,300 (over £670,000 in modern day currency). Sadly the school closed in 1982 and the building was later demolished.

A great source of information about historic Leeds schools was Leodis, then an online photographic archive run by Leeds Libraries. Users can share memories and information about the images and there are some brilliant reminiscence stories of old school teachers, which helped to shape my own ideas of how many of the schools were run in the mid-20th century in particular.

By Kaya Firth, Placement Student at Abbey House Museum, History Student at Leeds Trinity University

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