Chapter XIII

Library, Games, Societies, etc.



IN 1691 Mr. Godfrey Lawson, who was mayor in 1689 and died in 1709, and who lived not far from where Woodhouse Lane joins Upperhead Row, got leave from his colleagues on the Committee to make “some addition of building to the Free School.” Thoresby tells us that he

“added a new Apartment in the Year 1692, in the lower Room whereof is a Conveniency for a Fire for the Scholars in Winter; and in that above a growing Library, wherein are some choice Books of his Gift and other charitably disposed Persons. ... In the Windows are curiously painted the Founders Arms and Ars Grammatica, well performed by Mr. Henry Gyles of York.”

The “apartment” projected from the north end of the School. The upper room is described in 1895 as having a bay window of carved stone, a finely decorated roof, and a marble fireplace. The lower room in 1815 was appropriated to the use of the Committee, As to the windows Whitaker says

“In the year 1784 the glazier was permitted to remove these pieces of painted Glass and sell them to an Antiquary of the Town. Placed in the Windows of a Grammar School it is marvellous that for nearly a Century and a Half they had escaped another Fate.”

The Lawson arms, as given by Thoresby, were

“Quarterly; 1st parted per pale Argent and Sable, a Cheveron counter-changed; the 2d Argent two Bars Azure, with three Hurts [= circles] in Chief; the 3d as 2d and 4th as 1st.”

Over the doorway there was a niche large enough for a good-sized statue, and “in the Angle where the School and Library are conjoined” there was the inscription, by the “Reverend Mr. Edward Clarke, then [1690-1694] chief Master of this School.”

“Condit uterq Scholas hinc Harrisonus et inde
Lawsonus, Major dic uter an melior.
Hic pueris sedes ponit, sed et ille magistris.
Doctior hinc Juvenis prodeat inde Senex.”

This shows that the Library was not for the boys but for adults—the masters, the Committee, and others to whom leave might be given. Many of the old books are still preserved, and though some are of value for their antiquity, their illustrations, or their binding, they are not at all such as even a studious boy would be likely to read.

THE SCHOOL also possesses the original catalogue in which “the Benefactions are faithfully registered in a Parchment Manuscript.” It begins with an elaborate Latin dedication. Then follow some memoranda, also in Latin, telling how certain persons built a wall, planted trees, etc., for the School. After these come the donations of books—and also globes—all entered in Latin, and often with laudatory epithets appended. The first mentioned are 6 given by Godfrey Lawson himself, viz.

Isaacson's Cronologie.
Christian Prudence.
Cumberland's Jewish Weights and Measures.
History of ye Pope's nephew.
Dr. Stamp's Spiritual Infatuation.
Pepys' Memoirs relating to ye state of ye Royall Navy of England to 1688.

The number of books in the list is c.200 and of donors c.50. Of the former the Rev. Joseph Hill (O.L.) of Rotterdam contributed—“suasu Jos. Ibbetson”—about a third, and Ralph Thoresby 20. Among the donors were the Headmaster, Henry Watkinson, the Rev. Bright Dixon, George Lawson, and others. In a later supplement we find some 50 more volumes given by the Rev. Joseph Hill, 10 by Sir William Lowther, 2 by Archbishop Sharp, 4 by Mr. Cyril Arthington, etc. Several donors are described as old pupils of the School, and some as living at Hamburg, Liverpool, Oxford, Sheffield, York and elsewhere. One book—Walker's “Sufferings of the Clergy”—was given by a “coetus subscribentium.”

MONEY ALSO was given, for the Brief History says

“George Lawson Esq. of Farsley in the County of York, and son of the founder of the library room, left by will, dated 1730, the sum of £100 'towards the buying of books for the library belonging to the Free School in Leeds.' This legacy was permitted to accumulate until 1750, when £167.8s.4d. was paid into the hands of the treasurer of the school.” [A resolution however of the Committee in 1734 ordered that £7.7s. be paid out of Mr. Lawson's legacy for the purchase of “Monsieur Montfauron's Antiquitys.”]

There seem also to have been other similar gifts, for in the minutes there are several references to a “Library Fund.” Thus in 1780 £120 of the Library money was to be borrowed at 4 p/c for building the Master's house—an ominous precedent—and out of the accumulated dividends on the Fund £200 stock was to be purchased in 1789, £100 in 1797, and £200 in 1855.

The Fund was clearly of a substantial amount, for the Charities Report of 1896 states that in 1847 there was to its credit £1600 consols besides a balance of £224.16s.11d.; that in 1849 £400 more of consols were purchased; that the interest accruing between 1847 and 1866 amounted to £997.14s.1d.; and that by 1866 £1927.12s.6d. had been borrowed from it by the School Estate.

Some of the money was probably spent on maintenance and repairs. Thus in 1724 order was given to “view” the Library “with respect to the amending and repairing of the same;” in 1755 for it to be put in repair; in 1815 for it to be “daily and sufficiently swept and kept clean;” and in 1841 for the “hot water heating apparatus” to be extended to it. There are numerous entries also of sums voted for books, e.g. £7.7s.0d. in April 1734, £50 in June 1754, £6.12s.0d. in 1765, £20 in 1815. In 1758 it was directed that the books should be rebound; in 1815 that useless books should be got rid of; in 1816 that books should be exchanged for more suitable ones. In 1815 a copper plate with the arms of Leeds—(N.B. not the School arms)—and the words “e libris Scholae Leodiensis” was to be made, and also a small stamp with the words “Leeds School” for marking maps and prints. In 1841 £21 was voted “for glazing bookcases,” and in 1839 £20 to Mr. Milner for preparing a catalogue.

One of the “Orders” of 1764 was

“that the Master do superintend and take care of the Library and be responsible for all the books therein except such as are lent out to persons of credit inhabiting within the parish who shall subscribe and give notes for the due return of ye same.”

In 1775 it was ordered that the Master

“do keep the Library . . . locked and that he take a Receipt from every person to whom any book ... be lent and that he send for such book at the end of three months . . . and that he do not suffer either of the Globes . . . to be taken thereout.”

He was also to make a catalogue of the books and

“from henceforward ... be accountable for every book that shall be wanting . . . except such as be taken out by order of the committee.”

THE MASTER HOWEVER had other things to attend to, and in 1815 the Library was found to be in a bad condition.

“Many of the most valuable volumes . . . are now lost; several sets of books also have been rendered imperfect, nor does any proper care of the Library appear to have been taken subsequent to the year 1730. . . . Even the manuscripts have not escaped, and the chancery suit whilst it diminished very greatly the revenue of the school has detracted also from its valuable records.”

In the Orders of 1815 then it was directed that

“a catalogue of the books shall be made and printed and the books of the Library shall be annually examined according to this by the appointment of the Committee and in the presence of the Headmaster. No books shall be taken out of the Library but they may be consulted by any member of the Committee upon application made to the Master and also by the Usher with the Master's leave.”

This rule in substance remained in the Orders till 1855. Outsiders thus were entirely excluded, and even members of the Committee had difficulty in borrowing books, for in 1849 and 1850 the Rev. T. Nunns had to make special application for leave to do so, and the date by which they were to be returned was specified in the minutes. On the other hand the Library henceforth began to become of practical use to the boys, for to the rule there was appended an order for

“two small bookcases to be erected in the School, one adjoining the Master's desk and one to that of the Usher. Such books are to be kept in these as are deemed by the Master or Usher necessary for the instruction of his own classes, which books may during school-time (with the Master's and Usher's permission) be consulted by the boys. A list of these books is to be made out from time to time by the Master and Usher which shall then be purchased by the Committee and registered in a Library catalogue as belonging [to] the School.”

Moreover in 1816 £10.10s. was voted “according to the bequest of Lawrence Rawson”—of which I know nothing—to purchase books for poor boys, and in 1820 five copies of Matthiae's Greek Grammar and four of the Port Royal Latin Grammar were bought for the same purpose.

A FURTHER STEP was taken in 1855, when Messrs. John and William Gott gave to Mr. Barry £200 to be laid out on books—“with the view of enabling the Boys to have the advantage of a General Library and Reading Room.” Hence the following notice appeared in the Calendar of 1858.

“A Library has been established for the benefit of the School (in addition to the old Library) containing at present about 700 volumes of general literature. This Library was founded in 1855 by a gift of £200 from two gentlemen, members of the Board of Trustees, and is sustained mainly by an Annual Grant of the Board. It is managed by the VIth Form under the direction of the Head Master and is open to all Boys of the School on subscription of 2s.6d. per half-year.”

In the Calendars of 1865-1870 the subscription is stated to be 6s. per annum: it is not mentioned after 1870. The “Annual Grant” seems to have been first made in 1855 when payment was ordered of “£20 out of Library Fund to be used in purchase of books.” For the use of “the Boys' Library and Reading Room” Mr. T. H. Horsfall (O.L.), who was drowned at sea in 1859, bequeathed a legacy of £200, which was received in 1861. Of this £100 was at once spent, £50 in 1880, and £25 more in 1881.

In 1860 £120 out of the Library Fund was voted “to expenses connected with the Library in the new School,” and in 1863 £47.6s.6d. for a new bookcase. The Fund however was treated in a very drastic way, for in 1860 £1600 stock belonging to the Library was sold and the proceeds lent to the School Estate at 3½ p/c, and by 1886, as we have seen, £1927.12s.6d. was thus borrowed from the Fund. The comment of the Charities Report is that “the Library has not received altogether generous treatment at the hands of the trustees,” for no credit apparently was given for the value of the old building, though “accommodation of a kind” was provided in the new School. Moreover the annual interest should have come to at least £50 or £60, but a practice soon sprang up of paying only £25, though occasionally an extra sum was voted for special purposes, e.g. in 1885 £5 and in 1890 £10.10s.. as an “honorarium” to the Librarian—for the Headmaster had long delegated this office to one of the staff—and in 1895 a sum—£10, I believe—to a boy employed to make a new catalogue. Even the regular grants too have not always been used for strictly Library purposes.

THE LIBRARY in the new School was the room with a balcony facing the Moor, but before long it served also as a class-room, and little use was made of the books except by the boys in Form vi. Much of the space too was occupied by the quartos and folios of the old Library. In 1895 the number of volumes was c.1600, and these were arranged mainly according to size until 1899 when they were classified according to subject, but the work had all to be done over again when in 1905 the books were transferred to the former laboratory.

Here at last the Library had space to expand, and the number of volumes has risen to c.5000. Its usefulness also has greatly increased. Previously, as we have seen, it was little used by the younger boys, and in 1900 a Junior Library was started as a separate institution, and the books were kept in one of the class-rooms. When however the Library was shifted the Junior Library was incorporated with it, and thus boys of every age have learnt to make use of it, and, though fiction still remains the primary attraction, have found by degrees that there are other books of interest and value which they can read. Another bait to attract the youngsters, as well as to make them take interest in the affairs of the day, is the provision of a number of illustrated papers and magazines—a revival indeed of the old Reading Room plan.

In the selection of books great care has been taken. In fiction, which has not been allowed to dominate the Library, only works of recognized merit have been admitted, for what is hoped is not merely to encourage a taste for reading but to educate that taste by the exclusion of books that are not of the first rank. In other departments the aim has been to help the student by providing the best books bearing on his studies, and these are by no means confined to subjects included in the curriculum of the School.

THE LIBRARY is open during the mid-day recess on full school-days. The management is in the hands of certain boys selected from Form vi, under a master as Librarian. Mr. Boys succeeded Mr. Powys as Librarian in 1883, and was himself succeeded by the present writer c.1897. The rules are few and simple.

1. No book may be taken out of the Library unless properly entered in the book provided for that purpose.
2. Only masters and present members of the School may borrow books, except by special leave.
3. No boy below Form vi may borrow more than one book at a time.
4. All books must be returned by the end of term.
5. Damages and losses must be paid for.


OF THE OLD SCHOOL the playground was small, and, though extended in 1820 and 1844 was merely “a sort of barren sandy desert” about half an acre in extent, “with a straggling oasis of sooty grass in one corner.”

No proper cricket or football was practicable, and the chief pastimes of which we hear are pea-shooting and snowballing, marbles and tops, “piggy” and “blackthorn.” Football indeed, we are told, was not much thought of then, and though cricket was a favourite game it was played elsewhere.

“Our club played cricket on Woodhouse Moor, wickets and bats being deposited in some disused kennels in the garden of a whitewashed cottage then standing in the middle of the Moor, where a pack of foxhounds or harriers were kept in former years. Permission was afterwards obtained to play in the field on which the present School stands, and the actual site of this was our favourite pitch. A milk farm stood at one end of this field, and a sod wall and furze bush fence . . . surrounded it, and at the time of the opening [of the new building] scarcely a house existed between the School and Burley Church.”

Attached to the new School there was a large field, but much had to be done to it before it was fit for use, for it was little more than a roughish hill side. The cricket ground was made first, and it was not till 1890 that the football portion was in regular use: in 1884 football was played in a field at the junction of Cardigan and Brudenell Roads. Even when the ground was completed much money had from time to time to be spent upon it, for no grass would stand the constant wear. Thus in 1885 a fund for improving the playground produced £38.9s.1d.; in 1887 £478.11s.1d. was raised by a bazaar, and in 1888 the cricket ground was relaid. In 1907 a subscription for relaying the football ground produced £356.4s.6d.

The pavilion, designed by Mr. J. Tweedale (O.L.), was erected in 1879. The cost, I believe, was partly defrayed by subscriptions, but in July the Governors, who had already granted £200 towards its erection, voted £50.16s.6d. to complete it on condition that it should become their property. New lockers were added in 1897 with the money left over after fitting up the gymnasium. In 1875 there was some talk of a skating rink, but the project was dropped, and in 1876 the Governors decided to erect the Fives Courts.

BESIDES THESE charges there were of course the regular expenses incidental to the games—about £225 a year at present-—and the School owes much to the masters who have filled the onerous post of treasurer for the wise control which they have exercised over the finances. Money for a long time indeed was very short and had to be raised in different ways e.g.

(a) The Governors made an annual grant of £20, raised in 1890 to £30.

(b) Boys who used the ground had to pay a subscription. At first the cricket and football clubs were kept distinct but in 1875 the Calendar states

“Instead of the different Subscriptions to the Cricket and Football Clubs Five Shillings a year (commencing at any date) is charged on all alike who wish to use the Playground beyond the platform on which the School stands.”

This was before long changed to 2s. a term, and in 1902 was raised to 3s.6d. a term.

(c) Subscriptions were got from masters, “old boys,” and other friends of the School.

(d) Money was received from the Clergy School and the “old boys'” cricket club for the use of the ground at certain times, and cattle and sheep were admitted to graze for a fixed charge.

(e) Gate money also was a source of revenue. So far as matches were concerned the admission fee (1d.) was only demanded from undesirable visitors, and gradually fell into disuse, but for the Athletic Sports the charges—6d. for the first day and 1s. for the second—continued till 1903.

(f) The entertainment from which the concert ultimately developed was started for the benefit of the Games Fund.

SO LONG as the subscription was optional the physical development of the boys was hampered, the esprit de corps of the School impaired, and the Games Fund constantly in a state of financial embarrassment; but in 1904 physical exercise was made compulsory for all boys, and this at once relieved the monetary difficulty, for the treasurer henceforth received 10s.6d. a year for each boy except the holders of scholarships and free places. A variable sum too has been voted for “ground maintenance,” e.g. in 1906 £168.13s.9d., in 1907 £54.18s.0d, in 1914 £44.4s.0d.

There is therefore now no need to have recourse to the old irregular sources of revenue. The ground however was not large enough for all the boys to play at the same time, and so the School was divided into 4 “houses,” named after persons famous in its history—Sheafield, Harrison, Lawson, Barry—and definite hours were allotted to each.

This was not entirely a novelty. In former days many of the matches were with men's clubs, and for these the team was largely composed of masters and “old boys.” The result was that interest waned and many boys preferred to play regularly with outside clubs rather than occasionally for the School. It would be hard however to get Sufficient matches if those against clubs were dropped, and so at the end of 1884 a scheme was adopted for dividing the subscribers to the Games Fund—there were then about 120 of them—into 3 “wards,” viz.

(a) the School ward, consisting roughly of boys living south of Woodhouse Moor and College Road;
(b) the Town Ward, i.e. those north of the same line;
(c) the Nomads ward, including all the rest.

It is interesting to note that there was a proposal to call the wards by the names of Harrison, Barry and Henderson. The wards did not last long, for the rivalry was great, and the games got marked by an undesirable keenness to win. The main end however was attained, for before long the teams became composed entirely of boys. The change caused considerable opposition at first, but no one now would dream of reverting to the old system.

COMPULSORY GAMES soon proved more than the grass could stand, and to give it a rest the field below the Ridge was rented in 1907, and football was confined to the Michaelmas term. For the Lent term hockey had been tried as early as 1893, but it was found that unless played upon the cricket pitch it was dangerous, and so in 1908 lacrosse was introduced.

About the individual games it is unnecessary to say much as full details (since 1882) are to be found in the “Leodiensian.”

Historically, the oldest were probably those that needed no appliances e.g. running and jumping, and paper chases are mentioned as one of the pastimes of the old School.

For these the Lent term is the traditional season, and for many years they have started from Meanwood. The record run may be regarded as that on 1 October 1884, when T. H. Davies led the pack down Pool Bank into Wharfedale and thence by way of Harewood Park home, with the result that half the boys were lame for more than a week afterwards. Those however were heroic days when overstrain was unthought of. Now seniors are distinguished from juniors, and the runs are rarely more than 5 miles in length, while the small boys have an even shorter course. Considerable stimulus has been added to the sport by

(1) the gift in 1885 by Mr. R. Webb, a master at the School, of a Challenge Cup for an annual steeplechase. The rules can be found in the “Leodiensian” of that year. The course is near Adel Crag, and the competitors, who have numbered at times nearly 100, are handicapped:

(2) the establishment in 1905 of a competition between the “houses.”

THE ATHLETIC Sports are said to have started in Mr. Barry's time. For many years-they have been held. in the spring, but it might be worth considering whether it would not be wiser to shift them to the autumn, when the weather is often too hot for football and might be more favourable for an outdoor function, for they have always been regarded not only as exercise for the boys but as a pleasant meeting of friends. To the treasurer indeed, till gate-money was abolished, the weather was a source of some anxiety, for a bad day meant a loss of income, and, though the competitors paid entrance fees and many of the prizes were presented, the expenses were heavy.

In 1912 however and 1915-18 no prizes were given but the interest was quite as keen as in other years, and the introduction in 1905 of a competition between the “houses” has done much to teach the boys that it is not for the individual but for the community that they ought to strive. It is to be hoped that before long entrance fees will be abolished and the sole prizes will be Challenge Cups to be held only for a year. At present the only cup of this kind is that given by the Governors for the best competitor. The original one, presented in 1861, was carried off in 1869 by C. C. Lapage. The present cup, given in 1870 by the Governors, Dr. Henderson, Mr. T. T. Dibb (clerk) and Mr. S. Smallpage (steward), cannot be won outright.

OF GAMES for which appliances are needed probably fives is the oldest, for it requires nothing but a ball and a wall. It was not however till 1876 that the Governors decided to erect 4 Fives Courts, but these were for bat-fives, and the plaster was so rough that balls soon wore out. Hand-fives was introduced by Mr. Matthews in 1885, and little by little the old courts have given place to 3 covered and 3 open courts for the hand game, modelled on those at Wellington, i.e. with a buttress and a high back line but no step or ledge. There has been an annual tournament since 1886, and a house competition since 1905. Occasional matches have also been played, but fives from the beginning has been treated as a recreation, and matches have not been encouraged.

Cricket and football however have long been the chief games of the School. To each of them a term is devoted—to football indeed till 1907 even more—and matches are played with all the chief schools in the county, except distant Sedbergh. There are also still a fair number of games with club teams, and a house competition since 1904. There is therefore now no difficulty in filling the card.

Football for a time however was not an easy game to run. Parents were not keen upon it. Boys were slack. “No one who has not tried,” says a writer in 1882, “would ever dream of the amount of persuasion and patience which one must use to get up a team at all.” There was a difficulty about getting a ground. There was still greater difficulty in getting matches, for few schools in the neighbourhood played the Rugby game, and the institution of a Schools Challenge Cup in 1888, was found to lead to roughness so long as a school was in the running and to slackness as soon as it lost all chance of winning, so that in 1895 Leeds withdrew from the competition. After the formation too of the Northern Union Leeds boys had for some time few opportunities of seeing good play under Rugby rules.

All these obstacles have now been removed, and it is in football especially that our “old boys” have most distinguished themselves. Probably the most famous player whom the School has produced is P. Munro, who won his “blue” for Oxford in 1904 and subsequently captained both the Oxford and the Scotch Fifteens; he also won the high jump at Oxford in 1906. F. Hutchinson (also a half-back) played for England in 1909, and A. E. N. Yeadon for “The Rest” v. England in 1903. Both of these have also played for the North, as also have T. P. Peacock and two other halves—J. H. Potter and A. King—while at least a dozen Leeds boys have represented their county.

OF OTHER games played at the School lacrosse is as yet too young to have any history, except perhaps that a house competition was started in 1913 and that several boys have already played in the Yorkshire team. The lawn tennis club, founded in 1884, only lasted for a couple of years and was not open to all the boys.

For swimming—of which, though hardly a game, a few words may be said here—the School has never yet possessed a bath. Arrangements however are made for the use of one of the public baths at certain hours and for lessons to be given. Classes too for instruction in life-saving have been held from time to time. Annual swimming races are recorded since 1882, and a Challenge Cup, presented in 1913 by Mr. T. E. Harvey, M.P., is held by the boy who wins most marks in the open events. A house competition also was instituted in 1913.


A WRITER in the “Leodiensian” of 1883 states that there was a School magazine in 1801, but of this I have not been able to find a copy.

The earliest issue which the Library possesses is dated 1819, and entitled “The Juvenile Magazine or Free-School Review.” It was printed by Headley and Mudie, Independent Office, Leeds, “for Bubulcus Montanus and Co., Schooltown, Leeds.” It is a small volume of 192 pages in smallish type. No names are given either of contributors or of editors. It contains translations into verse from classical authors, articles on points of classical grammar, Latin and other poems, essays, letters, reviews, criticisms, articles (somewhat inaccurate) on the history of the School, biographies of some of its bygone worthies, etc. The preface tells us that there had been in the School other magazines “entitled the Hermes and Eclipse.” These “might have been (and indeed in some respects were) calculated to improve both the Editors and Readers in argument, in elegance of sentiment, in fluency of language, and variety of expression,” but had been “the means of introducing and promoting a spirit of hatred and envy.”

These papers however were now amalgamating in one, called “Union,” and Bubulcus & Co. trusted that “all that malignant envy, that scornful indignation and that contemptible spitefulness which have lately been too generally evinced between the two parties will now be checked and laid aside.” Still, they urged that the “Union” could not afford “so extensive an advantage as this larger publication” the object of which, as stated later, was “to show the town that our education has not been bestowed in vain . . . to show our friends that we are not those senseless beings who are satisfied with merely not leaving their impositions unexecuted, that we though young are not insensible to glory.”

IT MUST BE confessed however that the editors in 1845 were not far wrong when they described the “Juvenile Magazine” as “on the whole a prosy sedate performance, and might very well pass for a publication of a century earlier, and would make it appear that boys of that day were much more sensible than now, though it is generally believed that boys are always much the same.”

The volume shows however that Mr. Richards' pupils had a good deal of original sin in them, for we find them using glass to reflect the sun into other boys' eyes, pea-shooting, drawing pictures in books, chalking nick-names on their neighbours' backs, putting slips of paper under other boys' collars, making the lives of the industrious a burden to them, cutting their fingers to escape writing, taking physic to avoid coming to School, and alas! sitting on the school-wall and jeering at passers-by. We hear of cribs, tarts, “potatoe guns,” syringes, “pop.” We learn that several boys had a taste for botany, and that one botanist detested Latin verses but could play 5 musical instruments. An early study of chemistry may perhaps be inferred from a trick of daubing studious boys with nitric acid.

FROM AUGUST 1827 to September 1828 another magazine was issued. This was “The Leodiensian or Leeds Grammar School Magazine,” printed by Robinson and Hernaman, Commercial Street, Leeds.

It forms a volume of 280 pages. Again no names are given, but the editor who calls himself “Jaques,” is traditionally identified with W. H. Brookfield, who left the School in 1826. He confesses that “the Cacoethes Scribendi is an incentive of no inconsiderable force to the step we have ventured to take,” and says “nothing is further from our intention than to confine our publication to the productions of those now within the pale of the School in which this originates—were it so we could have but little hope of success; but we confidently look to several individuals more remotely connected with the Institution for literary support.”

This magazine contained essays, poems, narratives, etc., and nothing about the School except an elegy on the ancient sycamore

“against whose ample side
Cadets for freedom had their honour tried.”

Its cessation is ascribed to “nagging in the efforts of some of its literary contributors” and to “the sparing hand with which approval has been accorded.”

THE NEXT MAGAZINE of which we have record is “The Leodiensian or Grammar School Miscellany,” printed by Bolland and Kemplay, Intelligencer Office, Leeds. It has on its title page the town arms with the motto “Hic et ubique.”

It began in September 1845, and 12 numbers appeared, forming a volume of 284 pages. It stopped because “to edit, to write articles, and at the same time to attend to our necessary school occupations is no very easy matter to perform monthly.” It is clear then that this magazine was run by boys still at the School, but though initials are often affixed it seems impossible to identify the writers. The editors hoped that the magazine might give an impulse to the genius of youth “without teaching them always to inflict their effusions on the public,” and promised variety, avoidance of religious subjects, and freedom from scurrility. They described their predecessor as the object of their “respectful imitation,” and the magazine therefore was again of the literary type and as a school record is valueless, except that there is an allusion to a projected rival run by a seceder from its staff.

The contents as before are stories, essays, notes and criticisms, and poems (mainly however translations). There are also some instructive articles on Gothic architecture.

IN APRIL 1856 appeared the first number of “The Leodiensian or Grammar School Miscellany,” printed by C. Kemplay, Intelligencer Office, Leeds. It had as its motto “Scribimus indocti doctique,” and was sold at 6d.

I have only been able to see a few isolated numbers, the last of which—“No. 9”—bears the date 1857.* [*NOTE—it ended in June 1857 owing to lack of contributors and subscribers.] These however are sufficient to show its character. It contained poems, travelling sketches, articles on Yorkshire battles, an abridgment of a lecture by Mr. Barry, a history of the navy, an account of the crusades, a note on the election of Mr. Hall (O.L.) as M.P. for Leeds, etc.

There is an introductory letter by Mr. Barry, hoping that it may promote corporate feeling and give “some scope for thought and invention and some incentive to kinds of reading extraneous to our system of school work.” He very wisely urges the writers “to be real ... to write and act as we think, not as we fancy we ought to think, and therefore to attempt rather what we know than what it may be thought intellectual or learned to seem to know,” and he strongly advises them to describe their own experiences and their own feelings. All the articles are anonymous, and the names of the editors are not mentioned.

THE PRESENT MAGAZINE“The Leodiensian, the Leeds Grammar School Magazine”—began in January 1882. It bore the School arms and motto on its title page, and was originally published by Richard Crosland, 69 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds.

Eleven numbers were issued in 1882, nine in 1883, 1884, and 1885, and the price was 4d. a number. In 1886 the custom of issuing six numbers in the year began, and the price was raised to 6d. The size, originally octavo, was changed to quarto in 1896, and the cover and the arrangement of contents were altered in 1903. The first editor was W. C. B. Cowen, assisted by a committee consisting of G. H. Wilson, F. Walker, A. Kelk, and R. E. Scholefield. At first it was managed entirely by the boys, but in later years a master has exercised a kind of general control over it. For some time it barely paid its way, but now it seems on a safe footing.

Its character was quite different from that of its predecessors. It appealed not to the general public but to the School, and its object was not to gratify the literary aspirations of the writers, but to weld together the boys by interesting them in the life—and especially the athletic life—of the community. In this respect the magazine has amply justified the anticipations of its founders, though personally I could have wished that the editors had sometimes had a keener sense of the requirements of a future historian of the School.


OF SCHOOL SOCIETIES I can find no mention before 1881, though it is almost inconceivable that they did not exist, and all I can do is to mention a few which have waxed and waned during the last 40 years.

OF THESE by far the most permanent has been the Debating Society, the pedigree of which can be traced back to 1881, when, we are told, it started owing to “an idea . . . derived from a late member of the School who was himself a great debater.” Who this was I do not know, but I am pretty sure that the new institution, like many other things at that period, owed much to the energy of the Rev. H. H. H. Boys. The meetings—the first one was on 7 Nov. 1881—used to be held at night in the lower schoolroom under the presidency of a master. The members paid a small subscription, and the membership was confined to boys and masters. The attendance at first was good, sometimes rising to 40, but interest in the Society gradually flagged, and in 1889 it was reconstituted as the Sixth Form Literary Society, with power however to co-opt boys from other Forms—“the only conditions being that every member should in his turn read a paper . . . and should conduct himself with due sobriety.”

The first meeting under the new system was held on 26 Nov. 1889 in the Library at 4 p.m., and much of its initial success was due to the Rev. G. M. Hutton. It was at first simply an essay club, but the papers were followed by discussions, and in 1891 the reports in the “Leodiensian” are headed “Literary and Debating Society.” In 1905 the custom started of holding annually a combined debate with Wakefield Grammar School. It may be mentioned that the School has produced three presidents of the Cambridge Union (W. H. Brookfield, J. P. Thompson, and J. K. Mozley), and one president (B. R. Wise) and one secretary (R. S. Blakelock) of the Oxford Union.

There have also been junior debating societies at different times, and in 1909 a French debate was started, confined mainly to the boys in the highest French class. Every member is bound to speak at each meeting. The meetings are held usually during school hours but at least once in every year in the evening. Mention may be made here too of the Shakespeare readings held since 1905 at the Headmaster's house and attended by boys in the Sixth Forms and by some of the masters and members of their families.

ONE SOCIETY which flourished greatly for a time was the Natural History Society, started in 1892. Among its objects was the formation of a museum, and some cases were bought and specimens collected, but the project has never yet been carried into effect. Meetings however were held regularly for some years, and much useful work was done under the inspiration of Messrs. Stockdale and Webb.

Bug-hunting excursions were organized in which other boys were also allowed to take part. The first was to Fewston on Shrove Tuesday 1892, and the antique appearance of Swinsty Hall caused archaeology to be included among the objects of the society. The second was to Bolton on Ascension Day in the same year, and from this originated the custom of annually visiting the priory on that day. This indeed is now the only relic left of the society, for c.1897 the energy of its members began to wane and, in spite of a temporary revival some 3 years later, it can now only be described as dormant; though ornithological and other records continued to be kept by a few boys and in connection with the botany prizes there have been a good many informal rambles to places in the neighbourhood. A scientific society for boys in Form vi was instituted in 1917.

CHESS CLUBS have been started more than once but have never lasted long: there was one in 1900 which played a match with Bradford Grammar School. In the same year a branch of the Navy League was established in the School but it only continued for a few years: traces of it remain in the pictures of ships in the corridors.

ATTEMPTS TOO have been made, from time to time to interest the boys in charitable objects. For many years a collection was made for the Lifeboat Fund, and on more than one occasion money has been collected for Dr. Barnardo's Homes. Missionary addresses have been frequently delivered, and in 1896 a contribution was made by the School to the College at Amritsar with which the Rev. A. C. Clarke—a master from 1893 to 1896—was connected, and this was regularly sent for a considerable time. Some years ago a subscription was raised to help the sufferers through the floods at Paris.

In 1912 the money that would have been spent on prizes at the Athletic Sports was used in relief of the distress caused by the coal strike, and during the war a house for Belgian refugees was maintained by the School, and a monthly contribution made to the Red Cross Society. The object throughout has been to train the boys in habits of sympathy and self-sacrifice, so that out of their own pockets they should give willingly that which costs them something.

Everything then that savours of compulsion has been steadily discouraged, and great care has been taken in selecting the objects to which they are asked to contribute.


IN THE Grammar Schools of old acting was practised, partly as a training in elocution but still more to vitalize the study of the classics, and at a later time English plays too were represented.

At Leeds we hear of a performance of the “Andria” of Terence in 1766 and of the “Eunuchus” in 1768. From such performances probably sprang the custom of acting scenes from ancient and modern dramas on Speech Days. At Leeds “recitations” are said to have been introduced in 1856, and in 1884 the “speeches” at Leeds were 4 or 5 in number, each taking from 5 to 10 minutes to perform. Few however of the audience could hear and fewer still understood what was said. The labour of preparation was great, and it was hard to get time for the necessary rehearsals. Hence in 1895 there was only one speech and in 1896 and 1897 two, and in 1902 they were dropped entirely.

IT WAS NOT however only on Speech Days that acting took place. There was a performance of “The Rivals” in Mr. Barry's time, and from 1864 to 1884 there were annual “Theatricals,” at which complete plays were performed.

It has been difficult to obtain much information about them, but it seems clear that, whatever they may have been at first, they got to be regarded as a recreation and not as a branch of education. Till 1871 too the plays were usually selected from masterpieces of literature, but those of a later date were for the most part of an inferior type. The performances undoubtedly gave much pleasure to both actors and audience, but c.1882 troubles began to arise. A room—e.g. the Albert Hall or the Grand Assembly Rooms—had to be hired, and the expenses were heavy. There seems also to have been a lack of talent, and a difficulty in obtaining a competent “coach.”

Moreover the boys did not like the way in which the management had fallen into the hands of “old boys.” This last difficulty was got over, and in 1884 most of the performers were boys then at the School. The receipts however barely covered the expenses, and Mr. Matthews for more than one reason thought it best that the performances should cease.

Since 1884 the only acting (except on the Speech Days till 1902) has been of a scene or two at the entertainments from 1884 to 1888, and this custom was revived at the concert of 1912.


IN 1871 the Chapel Choir, under the name of the “St. Caecilia Musical Society,” gave a concert in the Queen's Assembly Rooms.

Whether this was the first concert connected with the School I do not know, nor whether it was followed by others, but the “Leodiensian” of 1882 mentions that on 13 Dec. 1881 there was a concert in the Albert Hall given by the Choir, “assisted by several ladies and gentlemen of the Leeds Philharmonic Society;” that it was for the benefit of the Chapel Fund, that the schoolboys were conspicuous for their absence, and that it was hoped to make it an annual performance, but to the best of my knowledge the experiment was not repeated.

IT WAS NOT however from the Choir that the present concerts sprang but from the needs of the Games Fund, and the credit for their foundation ought, I think, to be assigned to the Rev. H. H. H. Boys, the treasurer of that fund, and for their development mainly to Mr. Bernard Johnson, who was music master from 1892 to 1904.

When the games were optional the treasurer was constantly in want of money, and for the purpose of raising it recourse was had to an entertainment.

The first of which I can find a record took place on 8 Dec. 1883. It consisted of songs, instrumental music, and readings, and the performers included boys, masters, “old boys,” members of the Clergy School, and other friends. From 1884 to 1888 the programme comprised also the performance of a scene from some play. For several years the entertainment was given in the present gymnasium, but in 1893 it was shifted to the Upper Schoolroom. In this year the main feature was the Toy Symphony arranged by Mr. Johnson, and now for the first time the “Leodiensian” called the entertainment “The Concert,” and henceforth music became the main feature, though readings continued till at any rate 1898.

The concert in 1900 was marked by the performance of a comic cantata, “Love the Logician” (written by Mr. H. L. Johnson (O.L.) and composed by Mr. Bernard Johnson), in which a number of leading musicians in the town playing weird and strident instruments took part, and this was repeated in that of 1901, which was held in the Albert Hall.

In 1902 the charge for admission was dropped, and in 1903 the concert was shifted to the hall of the University, where it has since been held. In 1912 an old custom was revived by the introduction of a scene from Shakespeare acted by the boys.


IN MR. BARRY'S time there was a Cadet Corps at the School. I am indebted to an “old boy” for the following description of it.

“The uniform was a light grey tunic with narrow red—or black and red—facings, light grey trousers, and a shako showing in front a bronze medallion of the School arms. Buff belts and disused army carbines completed the equipment. The officers were a lieutenant (W. G. Nicholson), an ensign (C. H. Kemplay), a colour-sergeant (A. L. Jukes), and, I think, a corporal. Sergeant Neville was the instructor —always punctual, painstaking, and good-humoured.

Two or three times a week—perhaps on Wednesdays. and Saturdays only—the members came to School in uniform and had an hour's drill after twelve. On one occasion some of the Sixth Form were let off from mathematics and spent the afternoon in making cartridges in the Boarders' Study. A march to Farsley followed on the next half-holiday, when for the first and last time, to the best of my recollection, the carbines were actually fired off at the butts. The corps came into existence about 1860 and may have reached a total strength of 25 or so in its most flourishing state. Then attendances fell off until half-a-dozen was the usual muster, and it had probably died a natural death several months before Midsummer 1862, when the C.O. left School for Woolwich.

Ours was quite an independent corps though I think the Leeds Rifles paid us a little friendly attention once or twice, such as letting us march out with them. I never heard that any one sanctioned the formation of the corps except the Headmaster who permitted it without interesting himself in it further.”

Another “old boy” describes the belts as brown, and calls the head-dress “a light grey kepi with a silver badge.” Perhaps the officers had a silver badge and the privates a bronze one.

IN 1863 drill was introduced by Dr. Henderson, and lasted apparently till 1872: in 1898 it was revived as part of the regular curriculum.

In 1909 a Rifle Club was started, a range having been constructed below the new wing* [*NOTE—the outdoor range by the Fives Courts was made in 1915.] and in September of the same year this was merged in a contingent of the Officers' Training Corps.

The Corps—of which the Headmaster has from the first been Commanding Officer—started with a membership of 83 but in 1914 its numbers rose to 177. A good deal of time is of course given to drill, but besides this there is training in musketry, lectures and practical work in various military subjects, and field operations, sometimes in concert with other corps. The force is regularly inspected by the military authorities, and many of the senior boys have obtained “Certificate A” in which both theoretical and practical knowledge is required.

At the end of the summer term a detachment goes to some military centre for about 10 days' practical training in camp.

The expenses at the start were considerable. The uniforms for instance cost £227.5s.0d. and the armoury £21.0s.8d. The Governors however voted £200, and the members pay 5s. a term, while the War Office grants £1 for every efficient cadet over the age of 16. The ammunition and rifles are provided by Government, but the carbines are the property of the Corps.

As to the effect of military training in schools different views are held, but I do not think there can be any doubt that it has made Leeds boys realize that they have a duty to their country, that it has taught them to endure hard and often unpleasant work for a high ideal, and that it has fitted them to be of practical service when such service was urgently needed.

UNDER NORMAL circumstances the School sends few boys into the Army, though some—e.g. Field Marshal Lord Nicholson, Colonel G. F. R. Henderson, Major General W. Daunt, Major General C. J. C. Sillery, Major General F. M. Kenyon Stow, etc. attained considerable distinction in it, while others, such as Colonel Wilson and Colonel Harding, took a prominent part in the Volunteer movement.

In the Boer War (1900-1901) however a fair number fought, while the number of those serving in the present war amounted to over 500 before compulsion was introduced, and of these more than 300 held commissions, and over 120 have died for their country.


THIS WAS FIRST held in 1909. The object was to give the boys a week's recreation in healthy surroundings combined with a certain amount of knowledge as to botany, geology, and the ways of birds and other animals, and to show them that they could perform such ordinary duties of life as cooking, bedmaking, etc.

The place selected was Crina Bottom Farm near Ingleborough, and there the camp has been held every year except in 1913 when it had to be dropped owing to an epidemic of measles, in 1916 when by the desire of Government no holidays were given at Whitsuntide, and in 1918 when it was held at Harewood. The average attendance has been between 70 and 80, and the necessary expenses came to about 25s. a head.

The experiment has been a success. The ties between masters and boys have been drawn closer; their eyes have been opened to some of the marvels and beauties of nature, and the simple open-air life, attended as it is with a useful element of hardship, has improved their health and been thoroughly enjoyed by all.


THE “CARMEN LEODENSE” was originally an experiment in the metre of the celebrated Latin ballad of Henry iii's reign.

“O comes Gloverniae comple quod coepisti, Nisi claudas congrue muttos decepisti.”

It was contributed to the “Leodiensian” of April 1897, and Mr. Matthews asked Mr. Bernard Johnson to set it to music. For this purpose it was slightly re-arranged. A few lines were omitted, the last 4 lines were treated as a chorus, and the others were divided into 3 stanzas. The air is given here: the full score is in the “Leodiensian” of July 1897.


Victi nunquam cedimus, turpe hoc putamus.
Acriores ad pugnam semper redeamus.
Vulnera pro patria grata sunt et digna;
Vulnerato puero fama sit benigna.
Floreat, etc.


Cuique Scholae est honor maxime servandus.
Per quem crescit Scholae laus, ille est laudandus.
Si quis autem otium cupiat imbellis,
Extrudatur patria, vivat cum puellis.
Floreat, etc.

The word “Leodense,” used for metrical reasons, is defensible in itself; but if I were writing the Carmen now I should use the form “Loidense,” which has been adopted by the University of Leeds.

The phrase “vulnera pro patria” referred originally to bruises in games: at the present time (1917) the words may have a wider significance.


MUCH OF THE strength and prosperity of a school depends upon its “old boys.” They are the preservers of its traditions, and the outward and visible sign of its efficiency. Upon their conduct its reputation largely depends. Their words have an enormous influence for weal or woe upon its fortunes.

Of the honours won by her distinguished sons their alma mater has good reason to be proud, but she is equally proud of those who in countless numbers though in humbler spheres have testified by honest, industrious, useful lives to the value of the training received within her walls. Success, as the world counts it, is not within the reach of all, but to do his duty to the best of his ability is in every man's power.

To attempt then to differentiate between careers by laying stress on particular successes would be invidious. Nor is it indeed necessary. Of many the achievements have been already mentioned in this book. Others are recorded on the boards in the Upper Schoolroom—some of these, by the way, are now hard to decipher, and why is there not one to commemorate civic honours? More still will be found in the “Leodiensian” and in the Registers edited with such loving toil by Mr. Matthews and Mr. V. Thompson in 1897 and by Colonel Wilson in 1906.

A WORD OR TWO however ought, I think, to be said about the way in which Old Leodiensians have maintained their connection with the School and with one another.

To her “old boys” indeed the School has much reason to be grateful. When money has been needed their subscriptions have been liberal. They have provided prizes at the Sports. They have helped in the Concerts and Theatricals. Their assistance and advice have been invaluable in the games. In the past—I trust it will be so also in the future—there have always, I believe, been “old boys” among the Governors, and for well-nigh a century they have been almost continuously represented on the staff.

Occasional “old boys'” dinners have been held with considerable success. Mr. W. N. Price presided over one in 1885, Colonel Harding in 1891 and 1910, and Colonel Wilson in 1894. There have also been cricket clubs and football clubs of Old Leodiensians at different periods, but an “old boys'” club in the widest sense of the word does not exist. Many of the boys have found their careers elsewhere, and of those who have remained in Leeds the interests are too diverse to render such a project feasible. Something however might perhaps be done in the way not so much of a club as of an association to register names and addresses and issue possibly an annual bulletin so as to keep the “old boys” in touch with one another and with their School. A small subscription would suffice, but an enthusiastic secretary would be essential. It would not be a mere matter of sentiment but often of great practical use, for no one who has not tried would believe how very difficult it is to find out what has become of a boy after he has once left.


Quick Links -
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7
Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Postscript Assistant Masters since 1854

Back to
A C PRICE - opening page

Back to
Home Page