Chapter XIV

The Girls' School.


THE PROPOSAL to use part of the endowment of the School for the education of girls seems, as we have seen, to have been first made about 1870, and in 1878 the Committee undertook to consider favourably the question of a grant when their funds should permit it.

Meanwhile at Bradford and at Wakefield Girls' Grammar Schools had been started, partly out of the endowments of the boys' schools, and in 1876—largely through the energy of the Yorkshire Ladies' Council of Education and the Leeds Ladies' Educational Association—“The Leeds Girls' High School Company Ltd.,” with a nominal capital of £10,000 divided into 2,000 shares of £5 each, was formed—“to establish and maintain a High Class Day School for the Girls of Leeds, which shall be to them what the Grammar School is to their brothers.”

THE COUNCIL, of which the Vicar (Dr. Gott) was president, Mrs. Francis Lupton vice-president, and Mrs. Heaton and Mrs. R. W. Eddison secretaries, obtained the lease of S. James' Lodge in Woodhouse Lane, then in the occupation of Mrs. Teale and now the Harewood Barracks.

The accommodation was estimated to be sufficient for 100 girls, and the School, which was formally opened on 2 Sept. 1876 by Lord Hatherley, started with 42 pupils, whose ages ranged from 8 to 16. The children of shareholders had a prior claim to admission, and the fees charged were—for girls under 10 £4.4s. a term, between 10 and 13 £5.5s., over 13 £6.6s. There was an entrance fee of 10s., and instrumental music, dancing, and Greek were extras. Boarders paid in addition to the tuition fees £56.14s. p/a. Dinners were provided for day-pupils at a charge of 1s. each. The hours were 9 to 12-30, and (for special classes and preparation) 2 to 4. Saturday was a whole holiday. The terms were arranged so as to correspond with those of the Grammar School.

Candidates for admission had to be able to read fluently, to write round-hand, to write from dictation, and to work sums in the first two rules of arithmetic.

The curriculum included reading, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping, English, history, geography, French, German, Latin, natural science (including physiology as applied to health), economic science, plain sewing, calisthenics, drawing, class-singing, and harmony, in addition to the extras mentioned above. The religious instruction (subject to a “conscience clause”) consisted of lessons from the Bible, but further instruction according to the schemes of the Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations was provided when desired.

THE COUNCIL were fortunate in securing as their first Head Mistress Miss C. L. Kennedy, who had been both a pupil and a Mistress at the Ladies' College, Cheltenham. At the time of her appointment she was not yet 25 years old, but she soon made her influence felt.

“All who came in contact with her felt her greatness and wisdom, and her singular simplicity and humility. She was a first-rate classical scholar . . . She was also a remarkable teacher of arithmetic and mathematics . . . Specialists in every subject acknowledged her as equally a specialist ... As a ruler she possessed the supreme qualities of insight, sympathy, and justice. She exercised a very strong religious and character-forming influence on girls of the most diverse types.”

At the opening of the School she stated that she did not believe that the ideal of education should be to fill the memory with facts, but that moral training should be the basis, and that the great aim of the teacher should be to develope the mind: hence she laid great stress on the teaching of languages (especially Latin), mathematics, and science. She was also careful to see that too many subjects were not attempted simultaneously, that the hours of study were limited, that they were broken by physical exercises, and that the afternoon classes should not involve serious brain-work.

The rest of the staff consisted of Miss Ludlow (the Second Mistress, who had charge of the boarders), one assistant mistress, and visiting instructors in German, French, music, drawing, dancing, and calisthenics. For science the girls attended lectures at the Yorkshire College.

THE STANDARD of education at first was not high. The 42 girls were divided into 3 classes, and “in the head class few could work any arithmetic of a more advanced nature than the ordinary simple and compound rules. Two, who had some knowledge of fractions and had begun the rudiments of algebra, were obliged to have separate instruction apart from the rest and were looked upon as having a profound knowledge of mathematics.”

Things however soon improved. In January 1877 the numbers rose to 72, and in 1890 the total was 176. In 1877 two pupils won second-class honours in the Cambridge Junior Local Examination, and by 1891 at least 54 first classes had been gained in the Higher Local Examinations, 3 open scholarships had been won at Cambridge, and several of the girls had taken an honours course at the same university.

The buildings too were greatly altered and enlarged.

At the end of 1891 Miss Kennedy resigned, owing to her father's death. From 1894 to 1896 she was an assistant commissioner under the Royal Commission on Secondary Education. Afterwards she was Head Mistress of the Clergy Daughters' School at Warrington and later at Darley Dale, and died in 1910. She was succeeded at Leeds in January 1892 by Miss H. L. Powell, who as a student of Newnham College had obtained a first class in the history tripos at Cambridge and for some years had been Second Mistress at the Oxford High School.

IN MISS POWELL'S time some important changes were made.

In 1895 a preparatory department, for boys as well as girls, was started on Kindergarten lines. In 1900 the boarders—now under the charge of Miss E. G. Powell, for Miss Ludlow left with Miss Kennedy—were removed to 1 Moorland Terrace. In 1901 a branch school for boys and girls aged from 4 to 12 was opened at Normandy Villas, Chapel Allerton, under the charge of Miss K. Scotson Clark.

Above all it was during this period that the School was brought into close connexion with the Grammar School, for in 1898, when a scheme was at last agreed upon for the management of the latter, it was provided that £12,000 should be used for the education of girls, and after some negotiations an arrangement was come to between the Governors of the Grammar School and the Council of the High School, and embodied in a scheme of the Charity Commissioners which was finally approved on 13 May 1901.

THE £12,000, with the interest that had accrued and such further sum as might be required, was to be used by the Governors for the purchase of “the whole undertaking and property of the Leeds Girls' High School Company Limited.” The High School was to be called the Leeds Grammar School for Girls, and the management vested in a Committee consisting originally of 18 members, of whom 9 were to be appointed by the Governors out of their own body, and 9 (of whom 7 were to be women) by the Council of the High School. The latter however were gradually to give place to 8, appointed 2 (women) by the City Council, 1 (a woman) by the School Board, 1 (a woman) by the Yorkshire College, 2 (women) by the Yorkshire Ladies' Council of Education, and 2 (of whom 1 was to be a woman) by the Committee.

The Governors were to pay to this Committee at least £250 p/a, and the Committee were to provide buildings to hold not fewer than 300 scholars.

Of the other provisions all that need be said is that the Head Mistress was to receive £150 p/a and a capitation fee of from £1 to £4; that the ages of the pupils were to be from 8 to 19; that the fees were to be between £13 and £20 and no difference was to be made on account of place of birth or residence; that candidates for admission must be able to read, to write from dictation, to know the multiplication table, and to do sums in the first four rules of arithmetic; that the religious instruction was to be “in accordance with the principles of the Christian Faith . . . under regulations to be made ... by the Committee;” and that the curriculum was to include reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history, English, French, German, Latin, Greek, natural science, algebra, geometry, domestic economy, laws of health, drawing, vocal music, and physical exercises.

The Committee had also power to establish

(a) a Preparatory Department for boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 8, and a Transition Class for those aged 8 to 10, with a fee in each case of not less than £6 p/a;

(b) 18 scholarships, of which half should be confined to girls from elementary schools;

(c) exhibitions to a total annual value of not more than £200 to “any university or any institution of professional instruction approved by the Committee.”

AS IN THE case of the boys' school the scheme was amended in certain respects in 1909.

The Committee henceforth was to consist of 18 members sitting for 3 years and appointed—9 by the Governors of the Grammar School (7 out of their own number and 3 women), 6 by the City Council (at least 2 to be women), 1 (woman) by the West Riding County Council, 1 by Leeds University, and 1 by the Yorkshire Ladies' Council of Education. The remuneration of the Head Mistress it was left to the Committee to fix. The tenure of the assistant mistresses was modified as in the boys' school, and the Committee were empowered to contribute to a pension fund for the staff. They were also permitted to grant free admissions and allowances for maintenance.

The scholarships and exhibitions were (if founded) to be confined to natives of or residents in Leeds. The curriculum was no longer defined. Girls were under special conditions allowed to stay at the School until the age of 20. The maximum fee for boarders was fixed at £60 p/a.

Owing to past associations the change in the name of the School had been regretted by many, and since 1906 it had been known as the “Leeds Girls' High School (Grammar School Foundation)”: this title was now formally recognized in the scheme.

THE CONNEXION with the Grammar School has been attended with the happiest results, but it was not till the new buildings were opened that the full effects could be felt. Before that was done two important changes had taken place in the management of the School.

At the end of 1902 Miss Powell left—to become Principal first of the Cambridge Training College and later of S. Mary's College at Paddington—and was succeeded by Miss E. T. Joseph, who had been Gilchrist scholar and assistant tutor at Somerville College, Oxford (where she obtained a second class in modern history), and subsequently lecturer at Derby Diocesan Training College, and history mistress at Wycombe Abbey School. During her short tenure of office—for owing to her marriage she held the post for little more than 2 years—the Committee (at Christmas 1904) severed their connection with the branch school at Chapel Allerton.

In the autumn of 1905 Miss Joseph was succeeded as Head Mistress by Miss Lucy A. Lowe, M.A., who as scholar of Girton College had obtained a first class in the medieval and modern languages tripos at Cambridge and since 1896 had been head of the modern language department and subsequently Sixth Form mistress and Second Mistress of Blackheath High School.

A year later the new School was opened.

THE COMMITTEE had purchased the Morley House estate in Headingley Lane, and the present buildings were erected according to the plans of Mr. H. S. Chorley (O.L.). The foundation stone was laid in July 1905 by Robert Armitage, Esq., Lord Mayor of Leeds, and the School was formally opened by H.R.H. Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, in September 1906. The cost of the building was £16,908 and the purchase of the estate with other charges came to £7356. The old School was sold for £10,000.

THE NEW SCHOOL was an immense improvement on its predecessor. Besides numerous classrooms it contained a gymnasium, a library, laboratories for chemistry, physics and biology, a kitchen laboratory for cooking and laundry work, 2 studios, several music rooms, 2 dining rooms, a dark room, and an excellent assembly hall. In the hall was set up the organ presented by Mr. T. H. Walker in 1894, containing a stop which was formerly part of the instrument played on by Handel at Oxford. Here too are some of the many gifts which have been presented to the School from time to time, e.g. casts of the Venus of Milo (presented by the first three Head Mistresses), and of part of the frieze of the Parthenon (presented by past and present members of the staff), and a clock (presented by Miss Barber).

In the grounds, which covered nearly 4 acres, the trees were as far as possible preserved, but tennis courts were constructed, and a portion set apart for girls to learn gardening. A playing field also was rented close to the School.

Fresh additions have since been made. In 1911 two new rooms were provided for the Kindergarten at a cost of £522, and in 1912 the adjoining estate of Rose Court, with about 2 acres of ground, was purchased for £4000.

When Miss Powell left boarders had ceased to be taken, but in 1906 accommodation was again provided for them at Ashleigh, Victoria Road, under the charge of Miss Barford. In 1909 the Committee for the first time undertook the financial responsibility for a boarding house, and opened one at Fir Dene, Bainbrigge Road, under the control of Mrs. Bean, and this was transferred to Rose Court in 1912. The boarding fee is now (1915) £16.16s. a term, but weekly boarders pay £14.14s., and a reduction is made in the case of sisters.

WITH THE improved accommodation the work of the School has developed greatly. The number of pupils in 1894 was 132, in 1901 203, in 1906 157, in 1907 226, in 1908 271, in 1909 315, in 1914 350. The children in the Kindergarten have increased from 5 in 1906 to 49 in 1914, and the Preparatory Department now consists of 3 divisions. The object of this Department is to prepare the children for their school life by means of an all-round development, and the curriculum comprises reading, writing, arithmetic, Scripture, history, geography, nature study, French (taught orally by the help of songs and pictures), recitation, and gymnastics. Handwork forms a part of every day's work, and a portion of the grounds is set apart so that the children in their playtime may learn to take care of a garden.

In the School proper the curriculum is much the same as that laid down in the scheme of 1901, with the addition of needlework. Special attention is paid to the study of music and art, and in addition to the ordinary course lessons are given for an extra fee in instrumental music, solo singing, elocution, dancing, swimming, etc. The standard of the work may be estimated from the fact that in the lowest division of Form vi the girls are prepared for the higher certificates of the Oxford and Cambridge Board, and in the two upper divisions for the Cambridge Higher Local Examinations and for scholarships.

Between 1906 and 1914 girls from the School won 7 Leeds City (senior) scholarships, 2 West Riding County (major) scholarships, 1 studentship at Leeds University, 1 at Holloway College, 1 King's scholarship, and numerous successes at the universities, including 1 first class in the classical tripos at Cambridge. In 1905 and 1910 the School was inspected by the Board of Education and formally “recognized” as efficient. The concluding paragraphs of the report in 1910 may be quoted:

“The School is alike fortunate in its administration and staffing, and in its buildings and general equipment. The girls are bright and full of spirit; and the tone and discipline are excellent. While securing to a fair proportion of its senior girls a high standard of positive acquirement, it attaches less weight to the acquisition of mere knowledge than to the arousing and stimulating of intelligent and many-sided interests.

The instruction given in the classrooms, the varied out-of-school activities, and the manifold aspects of a healthy corporate life, combine to supply an all-round training, well calculated to promote that harmonious and concurrent development of the moral, physical and intellectual faculties which constitutes a real general education of the best kind.”

In addition to the ordinary work of the School special facilities are afforded for after-school training, viz.:—

1. The Kindergarten Training Department, started in 1905 to give the complete training required by the Froebel Union of teachers in Kindergarten and preparatory schools.

2. The Home Arts Training Department, started in 1906 and considerably developed in 1912. The course of instruction includes cookery, household management, needlework, dress-making, millinery, laundry work, hygiene (including First Aid and Home Nursing together with the care and management of children), art.

3. The Secretarial Training Department, designed not only to train secretaries, but to fit women to take a responsible part in managing their own business affairs. Lessons are given in type-writing, duplicating, shorthand, précis writing, book-keeping, business correspondence, civics, the work of a secretary, librarian, etc.

4. A Department for the training of nurses for young children, opened in 1915.

These classes are intended primarily for girls who have gone through the regular course, but both to these and to occasional lessons in other subjects girls are admitted who have not been pupils at the School.

THE INCREASE in numbers and in subjects has naturally involved an increased staff.

In 1915 it consisted of the Head Mistress, 19 assistant mistresses, 11 visiting teachers, and 2 secretaries. In the terms and hours there has been little change, but a week's holiday has been for some time given at Whitsuntide and the morning work has been slightly lengthened and that in the afternoon (still consisting of special classes and the preparation of lessons under supervision) proportionately decreased. The fees for the ordinary course remain much as before: in some cases indeed reductions have been made, and some subjects which were once extras are now included in the course.

Of scholarships there are not as yet many. Assistance was given to girls from elementary schools by the Leeds Educational Council and also by the trustees of the Lancasterian fund, who in 1895 handed over to the Council £944 the interest on which helps to maintain 2 scholars at the School. The interest on £1000 left in 1847 by Mrs. Jane Marshall of Leeds for the education of girls of the working classes was for some time used to pay the fees of 2 girls from elementary schools, but by a scheme approved in 1901 is now used for giving further aid to the holders of other similar scholarships.

Of late years a small number of Leeds City (junior) scholars and West Riding (minor) scholars have been admitted. Through the generosity of some of the shareholders of the original Company the Committee own £300 stock, the interest on which can be used for helping girls already in the School, and since 1906 a scholarship of £18 for 2 years has been annually awarded on the results of the summer examination and the reports of general work and conduct: for this—the “blue ribbon” of the School—candidates must be under 17 and have been at the School for at least 2 years.

The only exhibition to the universities is one of £40 a year founded by Miss Lucy Stables—now Mrs. J. P. Boyd Carpenter—in 1907: it is tenable for 3 years at Oxford or Cambridge and is open to girls who have been 3 years at the School.

ON PHYSICAL training stress has always been laid, but it was not till the removal to Headingley that the games could be properly developed.

The chief games are hockey, net-ball, cricket, and tennis. For in-school competitions the girls since 1906 have been divided into 4 “houses,” named after S. George, S. Andrew, S. Patrick, and S. David. The most important outside events are those connected with the West Riding Games Association, i.e. the Hockey League matches in the winter and the Tennis League tournament in the summer. The hockey shield was won in 1911 and the tennis shield in 1901, 1906, 1911, and 1914. There are annual athletic sports and annual competitions in morris dancing and marching. Gymnastics form part of the ordinary instruction, and swimming and dancing are optional subjects.

OF THE SOCIAL life and activities of the School only a few words can be said. In addition to the usual “functions” two parties are given annually to which all members of the School are invited—one at Christmas, the other in the summer. A magazine was started in 1898, and plays are regularly performed by the Dramatic Society which was founded c.1888 and consists of past as well as present pupils.

To the continued connexion of the former with the School great importance is attached, and there is a flourishing Old Girls' Association, founded in 1892 and now numbering over 450 members. Old girls are allowed full use of the School library, and a room in the new buildings has been set apart for them for social purposes, and this has helped greatly to make those whose school days were passed in Woodhouse Lane feel that they have a pied-à-terre in the new surroundings.

Much has been done too to interest the girls in charitable movements, and special mention should be made of the Guild of Charity, formed in 1892, which does a good deal of work of different kinds for the welfare especially of children, girls, and women in Leeds.


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