South End Schools

New Year 1878 – These schools are now quite ready for the reception of scholars. The building consists of three departments – boys, girls and infants. The boys’ school will accommodate 150 children, with a space of ten cubic feet per child.  It is forty feet long by twenty feet wide and there are also two classrooms, lavatories and cloakrooms. The infants’ school will accommodate 200 scholars and the girls’ school 150 children. More classrooms etc for girls and infants. The public are invited to view the schools. The caretaker, Mr Albert Crowther, has the difficult task of ensuring the schools will be ready for the opening date. Mr Worton, late of the British School at Holywell Green, is headmaster of the boys’ school, his wife the headmistress of he infants whilst Miss Neave, late of Folkestone,  is headmistress of the girls. The caretaker’s and headmaster’s houses are attached to the school.

Within the first week the rolls contained 100 boys, 90 girls and 150 infants. All agreed that Elland should be proud of its new school buildings.

Fast forward seventy years and after another raising of the school leaving age (now 15)…there are 750 children on the South End roll! The school is packed ‘to the gunnels’. Temporary classes have been installed in Dewsbury Road (they are still standing) and huts in the playground house some infants. Money was tight after the war and although there was talk of new built classrooms (possibly in Eastgate) or a new infants’ school a solution to the overcrowding had to be found. Thankfully suitable rooms at the Labour Club (Catherine Street) and All Saints’ Sunday school were identified and rented for the senior boys and girls.

Still with South End, in February 1945 there was a rather serious accusation that the school was squandering its supply of custard and suet. Albert Kemp, headmaster of the boys’ school, was having none of this and wrote a ferocious reply to the Courier. He advised that the school was allowed 98lb of starch powder every eight weeks for serving 500 meals per day. ‘In order to eke out our allowance, we are obliged to make custard for the children’s puddings from semolina thinned down and flavoured’. Nor was suet squandered. No food was wasted. The matter was closed!