In 1700, Ossett consisted of a number of scattered hamlets, arranged in a ring with the chapel-of-ease at the centre. The greater part of the district was unenclosed pasture land, on which householders had the right to feed sheep, cattle, and geese. It was on a vacant piece of land near the Church that the Founders built the "Free School" paying a rent of two pence a year to the Lord of the Manor "if and when demanded." The school being variously described as Free School, Charity School and later, Grammar School. 'Charity School' was used of any school controlled by the Charity Commissioners, by Act of Parliament.
School Committee and Public Subscriptions
In the early 1700s, education for all was highly topical and Locke, in 1693, published his famous essay, in which he pleaded for learning to be provided not only for the sons of the landed gentry and of professional men, lawyers, doctors, clergy, civil servants and such, but also for the children of farm labourers and mechanics. Five prominent men in London formed the National Society for Promoting Education of the Poor to arrange for the teaching of children. Committees were organised in various districts throughout the country by this group to start and maintain educational establishments. One such Committee was formed in Ossett before 1727.
About ten years later, by collecting subscriptions and their own gifts, they raised sufficient funds to erect a small classroom on waste land facing the chapel-of-ease in Ossett - the beginning of Ossett Grammar School, which was established specifically "for teaching the poor children within the township of Ossett". Later, this classroom became a small, low kitchen attached to the master's dwelling house. After the building of the first school and school house, the money remaining from the contributions was used to purchase four cottages in Cluntergate, Horbury; rents and profits from these houses was paid to the schoolmaster in half-yearly payments. When the lands in Horbury were divided, the trustees received a quarry and a parcel of waste land at Addington, together with two sittings free of charge in Horbury St. Peters Church. On the enclosure of the common land in Ossett at the beginning of the of the 19th century, the Commissioners awarded to the school, the half of the field at the corner of where Horbury Road and Sowood Lane meet; the other half of the field was given to the school a little later.
In 1795, the schoolmaster was the Reverend T. Whitaker, curate-in-charge of the Chapel of Ease, close to the school Other curates are likely to have acted as schoolmasters. Early in the nineteenth century, the school was still closely associated with the Church and Ossett townsfolk complained that the governors and trustees conducted the school as a Church institution.
In 1836, Ann Haigh bequeathed more land to the school and the school was regarded clearly as an institution associated with the Church. If the schoolmaster ceased to attend and be a member of the Church of England, the trustees themselves were to cease the rents and profits to be used for repairing and improving the school and schoolhouse.
Early in the 1820s, the schoolmaster was Mr. J. Webster. He was a man of exceptional energy and ability. He wrote a "Grammar of English Language" which was held in high repute as a text book. He also compiled an Arithmetic textbook and invented a system of Shorthand. Webster was succeeded by Mr. William Cullingworth who died in 1847. Cullingworth's widow remained in the schoolhouse for a time and kept a school for girls before she moved to Dewsbury.
There was competition from schools founded by religious denominations and the expansion of elementary education in the first-half of the 19th century affected the Ossett school. It seems to have been mainly for primary education, though educational opportunities for older pupils were available. New sectarian schools drew away pupils and the Ossett school had to become an institution of higher education in spite of competition from established schools in Dewsbury and Wakefield.
External difficulties at this time were matched by internal problems. The practice of the headmaster receiving the rents from the school's properties in return for education fifteen poor scholars from Ossett had changed. The trustees had begun to keep the rents and now employed a master to instruct ten poor children with the profits from the fee-paying scholars. The rental income retained by the trustees was used to maintain the property and to keep it in good repair.
In 1805, the the trustees enlarged the school with an extension (in which the Ossett parish hearse was stored during the 1870s.) In 1837, the trustees made a great effort and erected a two-storey building, the last important alteration and this is the building shown below pictured in about 1900. The school building has been described as 'more like a tithe barn or warehouse than a school' and the premises had a single large room with a coke store in the centre and a blackboard at one end. Such playground as the boys had was the market-place outside.
Above: Old Ossett Grammar School in the centre of Ossett, which was demolished to make way for the new Town Hall, opened in 1908.
In 1828, a Commission of Enquiry was conducted and the school was placed again on its formal footing for internal administration. Unfortunately, the school was not as prosperous as it was, and the number of boys in the school fell to 35, though in 1867, at the inspection by the Endowed School Commissioners, the number had risen to 67. The headmaster at this time was Mr. S.H. Kendall. The additional numbers proved too much for the limited space available in the school premises and the Wesley Street school premises (next to the Wesleyan Chapel) had to be rented for the extra pupils. The curriculum seems to have been typical of 19th century Grammar Schools with mathematics and Latin included, but no science or modern languages - these were to be added later.
In Mr. Kendall's time as headmaster, with the growth in secondary education, the building in the town centre proved too small altogether, but the endowments were not sufficient to fund extensions. Various suggestions were rejected, for example, to provide places with the endowment for Ossett children at Dewsbury or Wakefield schools; to join the Ossett and Dewsbury endowments to build one school, or to make one school for Ossett, Horbury and Thornhill.
The population of Ossett had begun to increase rapidly after 1837 and in 1845, an elementary school was erected in South Ossett at which point the "Free Grammar School" changed its character. Like the grammar schools of Dewsbury and Batley, Ossett Grammar School, was at first a "Free School", that is an endowment was created to enable a certain number of scholars to be taught without the payment of fees. Gradually the names were changed to "Free Grammar Schools" and then to just "Grammar Schools". It was deemed by the trust-deed that scholars must be taught "reading, writing and accounts" and legally, a charge could have been made for additional subjects, but this was never done at Ossett Grammar School. The trust-deed also required the master to attend divine service regularly every Sunday at church.
In June 1881, the number of Trustees, which had fallen to three was increased to seven. Their first act was to raise funds to improve the school and the master's dwelling house. They appointed Mr. Michael Frankland of York (from 90 applicants) to the headmastership in December 1881 and he held the appointment for 31 years.
At about the time that Frankland was appointed as headmaster, attempts were made to claim a share from the distribution of Wheelwright Charities in Dewsbury. The Ossett trustees wanted £3,000. They would then sell the existing school site and building, but with the £3,000, they would build a new secondary school. The Commissioners ruled instead that Ossett children should find scholarship places at the Dewsbury Wheelwright Grammar School. Another 25 years was to pass before further progress was made to re-site the Grammar School.
Attempts were made to bring the curriculum up to standard. French was introduced and so was Greek. Fees varied; £3 per year for under-12s; £8 per year for over-15s. Latin brought an increased fee; and £1 was added if algebra went beyond simple equations, or if Euclid went beyond Book One. Seven free places were decided by examination - usually from between ten and twelve candidates. These free-place scholars had to carry out menial duties in the school, such as sweeping rooms and lighting fires.
The school now began to prepare pupils for entrance to Universities as well as for business life, and scholars from the school gained notable distinctions at various well-established Universities. The Trustees increased the annual value of the endowment from £26 to £54 and in 1892, Miss Hannah Pickard of Green Mount, Ossett bequeathed £2,100 for the purpose of founding two scholarships open to pupils who had been born in Ossett.
When Ossett became a borough, the Grammar School site was coveted by the new Town Council for its proposed new civic hall. The 1902 Education Act and the subsequent establishment of the West Riding County Council as the local education authority paved the way for the trustees of, what was still at the time, a charitable foundation to transfer the trust property, money and endowments to the Education Committee of Ossett Town Council. Representatives from Horbury Urban District Council were added to the Education Committee later.
A new scheme was approved by the trustees at their last meeting at 1, Sunnydale Terrace, Ossett on the 13th July 1906. Councillor Westwood chaired the meeting, attended by Messrs. Glover, Marsden and Smith and in September 1907 a new era began with the co-educational Ossett Grammar School opening at its new location at Park House, off Storrs Hill Road.
Above: Park House as it was before the red-brick extensions, on the left of the building, were added in the 1920s and 1930s to cater for an increase in pupils at the school.
In 1904, the old Grammar School had to move from the centre of Ossett, to make way for the construction of the new Town Hall. For a while, the school was housed in the Central Baptist schoolroom in old Church Street. When the Town Council took over the management of Ossett Grammar School in 1905, it was decided that the School should be a dual School with mixed-sex classes, the first of its type in the West Riding. The trustees were replaced by a Board of Governors, composed of representatives from Ossett Town Council, Horbury UDC, the West Riding County Council and a representative from Leeds University. Two ladies were co-opted since the school was co-educational.
Above: Park House pictured in 1907 after it became Ossett Grammar School.
Eventually, Ossett Corporation purchased Park House for £2,500, the value no doubt reduced because it had been used for the convalescence of victims of a smallpox epidemic. Meantime, the school continued at the Central Baptist schoolroom with 60 scholars until the end of the school year 1906-1907, whilst alterations at Park House were completed.
Park House, set in three acres of land (and nearby Rock House, which is virtually identical) was built in 1867 at a cost of £20,000 for Philip Ellis, a partner in Ellis Brothers, cloth manufacturers, then the owners of the adjacent Victoria Mills (Burmatex). The Ellis brothers made their fortune by selling cloth for uniforms to both sides during the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871) and the company occupied an unrivalled position in the West Riding as the manufacturers of army clothes. Philip Ellis died in 1877 and then there was a major slump in the cloth weaving trade in 1880 caused by tariffs on British goods by Continental countries. Many Ossett mill owners were unable to adapt and the Ellis family had to put Park House up for sale. By 1893, the business failed completely, following the death of Mr. W. Gartside, a local dyer, who lived at Wesley House, and whose executors called upon Eli Ellis, the surviving partner of Ellis Brothers, to pay them outstanding debts of £40,000 in cash.
Above: Late 19th or very early 20th century map of Park House as it was prior to the relocation of Ossett Grammar School from the Market Place. Nearby Victoria Mill was disused at the time this map was surveyed.
With its ornate staircase and beautiful stained-glass windows with representative designs of Art, Science, Literature and Music, Park House was formally opened by Alderman T.W. Bentley, Chairman of the Education Committee and of the newly-constituted Governors, for the commencement of the Autumn term, on the 24th September 1906, with a largely increased roll of 95 scholars and an augmented staff of 7. The new premises provided accommodation for 135 scholars, with Headmaster's and Governors' room, common rooms for male and female staff, six classrooms, and art room, dining room, chemistry laboratory, which was also arranged for tuition in physics, and a manual instruction and cookery room. All this enabled the Governors to widen the scope of instruction at the school.
In 1913, Mr. Frankland vacated the headship, and Mr. H.G. Mayo of Norwich School was appointed. Ossett and district shared with the remainder of the country the desire that their youth should have the benefits of a good secondary education, and the number of scholars at Ossett Grammar School gradually increased. In January 1918, Mr. Mayo took up a position at Bristol Grammar School and the headship was filled by Mr. G. Clark who had previously held the position of second master at the Lowestoft Secondary School. Mr Clark died in 1924 and his successor, Dr. H.G. Chapman was appointed on the 1st October 1924.
In 1921, the Governors erected three temporary wooden classrooms for the purpose of establishing a Preparatory Department, for which there had been a demand for a good many years. It is possible that this wooden building was still in use up to 1962 complete with gas lighting.
Above: Park House, Ossett, which became Ossett Grammar School in September 1907. More modern extensions can be seen on the left, which date from the 1920s. Park House is typical of the Gothic style of the day, with many gables, semi-ecclesiastical windows, arched doorways and a great deal of heavily ornate carved stonework.
Inside, despite a 100 years' use as a school, Park House retains much of its original character. The highly decorative tiled floor of the main hallway, its pattern echoed in the tiles of the fireplace, still looks remarkably fresh and has worn far better than later tiling in some of the doorways. The fireplace retains its lavishly carved canopy mantelpiece. Elsewhere, there is carved wood in abundance. Pulpit-like carvings support the half arch at the foot of the stairs. The newel posts at each turn of the stairs are similarly ornate.
In 1919, the Governors in consultation with the local Education Authority and the West Riding County Council considered adding permanent extensions to the Park House building to provide additional accommodation for 300 scholars. Plans were prepared by the West Riding Education Architect for an additional assembly hall, gymnasium, baths, domestic science rooms, chemical and physics laboratory with lecture room, elementary and advanced art rooms, manual instruction and metal-working rooms, commercial and music rooms and a library. This work was finally completed in the late 1920s and the Rt. Hon. Lord Eustace Percy, President of the Board of Education opened the new permanent extensions on the 30th October 1928. By now, there were about 230 pupils at the school, with a staff consisting of the headmaster, second master, two assistant masters, senior assistant mistress, seven assistant mistresses, art master and visiting staff for domestic subjects, manual instruction and commercial subjects.
In 1927, the Governors had set aside and annual sum of £30 from the school endowment to provide a "Leaving Scholarship" to enable one student to proceed to University. There were also six Entrance Scholarships, known as the "Pickard Scholarships", which were competed for annually by the children attending primary schools in Ossett.
The Hepworth Trust was created by Hepworth Bros. Ltd. In 1943, to provide scholarships to Ossett Grammar School. When fees were abolished as a result of the 1944 Education Act, the deed was amended so that the funds might be used for other educational purposes. In 1950, it was decided that these funds could most suitably be used for the refurnishing of the school library, and a sum of money from the Trust Funds was allocated for the purchase of new books
During WW2, it was decided that Ossett Grammar School should be protected against bombing and fire by having a team of firewatchers on duty each night. In the event, the precautions proved to be unnecessary but every night a team consisting one master and several of the senior boys did their bit for King and country. Among the boys, it was a popular activity and the nightly payment of 9d (3.75p) ostensibly to provide a supper was generally regarded as a useful supplement to pocket-money.
Above: Boys at play circa 1961 at Ossett Grammar School. I don't know the origin of this picture but judging from the foot in the foreground, it was by one of the boys. The playing field was to the right of the road which led to the Chemistry Room, which I think was part of the old Park House stable block. The field is on a steep slope, but I recall playing cricket there at break times in summer. The old Victoria Mill chimney is very prominent in the background of the picture.
Above: Ossett Grammar School Rugby Union XV 1964/65.
Back Row from L-R: John Hemingway, Stephen Wilson, Ian Froggatt, Nigel White, Stephen Biltcliffe, Robert Burns, Not sure who, David Watson, Geoffrey Holderness.
Front Row from L-R: Gary Proctor, Stephen Robinson, David Hopkin, Colin MacKenzie, Kenneth Churchill, Kevan Woolley, Stephen Shillitoe, Roy Cooper and Mr Donald "Alf" Stratton.
Below are some more Ossett Grammar School class photographs from 1963. However, thanks to the kindness of several people that have sent me pictures of Ossett Grammar School pupils from other years, I have now added an OSSETT GRAMMAR SCHOOL CLASS PHOTOGRAPHS page that will open up in a new window. Please take a look and if you have a class photograph that you would like adding, please contact me.
Above: Ossett Grammar School Sixth Form (Arts) in 1963 - this picture courtesy of Dr. Jan Graydon (Janet Kirby in the picture). If anyone can identify the pupils not named, please contact me.
Back Row from L-R: Pamela Spencer, ?, ?, Pauline Miller, Ann Williamson, Valerie Hurst, ?, Sylvia Cave, ?, Kathryn Taylor.
Middle Row from L-R: Janet White, Barbara Whitehead, ?, Gordon Dey, ?,?, Denise Meakin, Marilyn Greenwood.
Front Row from L-R: Lynda Perkin, Rosemary Brown, Christine Binks, Janet Kirby, Mr. Banks, ?, Ann Teasdale, Eileen Parsons, Wendy Shires.
Above: Ossett Grammar School staff in 1963 - picture courtesy of Dr. Jan Graydon with some long forgotten names supplied by Stephen Gardner.
Back Row from L-R: Mr. Sidgreaves (Music), Mr. Orrell (Geography), Mr. Davies (French), Mr. Hughes (French), Mr. Ritchies (Physics), Mr. Maude (English), Mr. McClusky (Biology).
Middle Row from L-R: Mrs. Gallon (English), Miss Eves (R.I.), Mr. Moore (Physics), Mr. Garton (Maths), Mr. Foster (Physics), Mr. Beaumont (Woodwork and P.E.), Mr. Don Stratton (P.E.), Mrs. Blenkinsop (History), Miss Reeve (P.E.)
Front Row from L-R: Dr. Dudley Taylor (Chemistry), Mr. Gallon (English), Mr. Banks (Latin), Mr. Dyson (History and Deputy head), Mr. Ernest Axford (Headmaster), Miss Jessie Deacon (French and Senior Mistress), Miss Linley (Domestic Science), Mr. Atkinson (Maths), Mr. Lucas (French and German).
Above: Ossett Grammar School Girls Hockey Team 1963 - picture courtesy Dr. Jan Graydon (Janet Kirby in picture) additional names courtesy Stephen Gardner..
Back Row L-R: Elsie Ferguson, Miss Reeve, Lynda Perkin, Janet Kirby.
Front Row L-R: Jane Coates, Joan Whitehead, Marilyn Greenwood, Barbara Whitehead, ?, Sally Atkins, Maureen Guy.
Dr. Chapman was succeeded as headmaster by Mr. E.C. Axford in January 1945 who remained there until he retired in July 1965. I remember Mr. Axford well during my time at the school in the 1960s and he struck me as a kindly man dedicated to the school and its pupils. Mr Axford was replaced by Mr. J.E.H. Kingdon, who was headmaster from September 1965 to December 1972, when he left Ossett for another school. Mr. Kingdon's successor was Mr. Roy Yates, who took up his duties on the 1st January 1973.
In 1969 , as a result of the policy by the then Labour Government's Antony Crosland, who had been appointed as Secretary of State for Education and Science by Harold Wilson, Ossett Grammar School ceased to exist and was amalgamated with Ossett Secondary School (Southdale School) to form a comprehensive to be known as 'Ossett School'. It seemed to be an urgent but in my view, a totally misguided personal crusade for Crosland, who vowed in his famous quotation: "If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to destroy every f . . . . . g Grammar School in England - and Wales and Northern Ireland." The outcome has been a source of controversy ever since, with the result that very few Grammar Schools now remain in England and the majority of those left are fee-paying. Quite the opposite of what the original founders of education for all classes of people had in mind in the 18th Century.
Selective places continued to be found for children from Horbury and the surrounding villages until September 1973, when Horbury Secondary School became a comprehensive school, taking all children at 11 years in a comprehensive intake.
Further extensions were added in 1967 and then again in 1969, when the school became a Comprehensive, with the addition of a new Sports Hall and a Lower and Upper School. With the raising of the school leaving age to 16 in 1973, the Upper School became crowded overnight, with nearly 300 16 year-olds now in the fifth year.
Above: Aerial photograph of Ossett Academy and Sixth Form College from 2007 showing the massive expansion that has taken place over the years. The roof of Park House can be seen towards the left and middle of the photograph. The long driveway from Storrs Hill Road is visible centre right and the school sports complex is just to the north side of the driveway. Some of the old playing field on the south side of the driveway has now been turned into a staff car park.
On April 1st 1974, after local government re-organisation, under which the West Riding County Council and Ossett Borough Council disappeared, the school was placed under the administration of Wakefield District Council, with a board of Governors nominated by the District Council, plus three co-opted members, a teacher representative, a parent representative and the headmaster.
In the event, thanks to some very fine teachers and a progressive headmaster, Ossett Academy and Sixth Form College has blossomed to become one of the best performing Comprehensive schools in the country. It is said that house prices have risen sharply in Ossett and Horbury as parents move to the area so that their children can attend the school. Ossett School has had Technology College status since 1996 and Sports College status since 2006. In the Spring of 2006, Ossett School became one of the few state schools to be awarded a dual specialist status. The school will now be known as a Specialist Technology and Sports College. In 2008, there were 1,450 pupils at the school with 260 in the Sixth Form. The new Sixth-Form college, Drake House, was opened in 2005 and was named after David Drake, a long-standing Governor at Ossett School.
The OfSTED Report in January 2007 described the school as ‘Outstanding’:
“Standards are above average and students achieve well throughout the school. GCSE results are better than might be expected in relation to students’ standards when they arrive in Year 7. The proportion of students gaining five or more grades A*-C is especially good and almost all students gain five or more passes at grades A*-G.”
“Students’ behaviour is exemplary in lessons and around the school."
Telford Moore who was a pupil at OGS between 1946 and 1953 provided this impressive list of Ossett Grammar School teachers. Telford was the Depute Rector of Hawick High School from 1971 to 1996 and now lives in Monifieth, Angus, Scotland. In addition, Telford's list has recently been augmented with several more teachers thanks to Stephen Gardner who was at OGS between 1958 and 1963 and Maureen Taylor who was at OGS between 1956 and 1960:
1. Rev. T. Whitaker - Head - c1795
2. Mr. J. Webster - Head - c1820
3. Mr. William Cullingworth - Head - before 1847
4. Mr. S.H. Kendall - Head - from 1847 to at least 1867
5. Mr. Michael Frankland - Head - from 1881 to 1913
6. Mr. H.G. Mayo - Head - from 1913 to 1918
7. Mr. G. Clark - Head - from 1918 to 1924
8. Dr. H.G. Chapman - Head - from 1924 to 1945
9. Mr. E.C. Axford - Head - 1945 to 1965
10. Mrs. Vera Axford (Head's wife) - Geography & R.I. - 1947? to 1965
11. Mr. Charles H. Akehurst - Senior Master & Head of Chemistry - 1912 to 1953 (war service in WW1)
12. Miss F.G. Mann - German - Senior Mistress - 1921 to ?
13. Mr. H. Dyson - Latin & History - from at least 1936 to 1964
14. Mr. Parsons - Head of Maths (and taught Physics in his early days) - from at least 1936 to 1960?
15. Mr. Atkinson - Maths - from at least 1942 to at least 1969
16. Mr. T.M. Clark - Head of Physics - 1944 to 1962
17. Mr. Fricker - Physics & Maths - from ? to 1947
18. Mr. Thomas Norman Moore - Physics, Chemistry & Maths - (also ran the chess club) - 1947 to 1968
19. Mr. H. Bailey - Geography - 1921 to 1962
20. Mr. Edwin Lucas - German & French - from at least 1943 to 1967
21. Mr. G.M. Van der Veen - History & French (and taught Maths in his early days) - 1925 to 1957
22. Mr. Joe Morgan - French, Games & PE - 1940 to 1945
23. Mr. K. E. R. David - Games & PE - 1947 to 1950
24. Mr. Salter - Games & PE - 1951
25. Mr. Geoffrey Yates (ex pupil OGS) - Games & PE - 1951 to 1955 & 1956? & 1960?
26. Miss Annie S. Robertson - (Scots) - Art - (coached classes in singing and ran a Scottish Country Dancing club, had only one hand - other one false) - 1946 to 1963
27. Miss Anderson - Head of English - from ? to 1948
28. Mr. Thorpe - Head of English - 1948 to 1951
29. Mr. A.W. Rablen - Head of English - 1951 to 1959
30. Miss Cathy Sheen - English - from ? to 1949
31. Mr. William J. Hughes - English, History & French - from 1947 to at least 1970
32. Miss Audrey Longley - English - from 1951 to at least 1955
33. Miss Thomas - Games & P.E. - 1942? to 1945
34. Miss Fenn - Games & P.E. - 1944?
35. Miss Jessie Morris - Games & P.E. - 1945? Worked at OGS and Castleford part-time.
36. Mrs. Mary Oldroyd - Games & P.E. - 1945 to 1947
37. Miss Barbara Walker - Games & PE - 1948 to 1951
38. Miss Betty Waddington - Games & PE - 1951 to 1954
39. Mr. Cathcart - English, R.I., Games & PE - 1951 to 1952
40. Miss Linley - Domestic Science - from at least 1936 to at least 1962
41. Miss Herbert - History & Latin - from early 1920s to 1948
42. Miss Dorothy Cashmore - English - 1949 to at least 1950, was the daughter of Canon Cashmore of Wakefield Cathedral
43. Mr. Rook - Music - from ? to 1947
44. Mr. North - Music - 1950 to 1955
45. Mr. Banks - Latin - 1949 to 1967
46. Miss Patricia Pattern - Biology - 1950 to 1954
47. Miss Audrey Jackson - Biology - 1947 to 1949
48. Miss Vaughan - Maths - 1948 to 1951
49. Mr. Berry - Woodwork - 1923 to 1956
50. Miss Hutchinson - (Scots) - French - 1950 to 1953
51. Mr. K. Senior - Maths - 1952
52. Miss B. Watson - Maths - 1952 to 1954
53. Miss G. Hemingway (Mrs G. Mitchell) - Secretary - 1947 to 1958
54. Mr. Crowther - Caretaker - ? to 1951
55. Mr. Lambourn - Caretaker - 1951 to at least 1969 and his dog Gyp
56. Mr. J.V. Taylor - Head of Chemistry & Senior Science Master - 1953 to 1955
57. Dr. Peter Taylor - Chemistry - 1955 to 1959
58. Mr. John E. Henry Kingdon - Head - from 1965 to 1972
59. Mr. Roy Yates - Head - from 1973 to ?
60. Mr. Keith Orr - Geography - from at least 1963 to at least 1966
61. Miss Jessie Deacon (Senior Mistress) - French - from at least 1961 to at least 1966
62. Mr. Donald N. Stratton - Geography & Games & PE - from at least 1961 to at least 1966
63. Miss Eves/Eaves - R.I. - from 1961 to at least 1966
64. Mrs. Wilhelmina Gallon - English - from 1961 to at least 1966
65. Mr. Gallon - English - from 1961 to at least 1966
66. Mr. Trevor Clegg - Geography & History - from 1963 to at least 1967
67. Mr. R.V. Preston - Head of Art - c1966/1967
68. Miss Brown/Mrs Blenkinsop - History - from 1959? to 1968?
69. Mr. Ritchie - Physics - c1957/1958
70. Miss Pamela Townend - Games & PE - from 1960? to ?
71. Rev W.R Johnstone (Vicar of St Michaels Wakefield) taught English and Geography between 1959 & 1961
72. Miss Booth - History - from ? to 1959
73. Miss Heap - Maths - from ? to 1959
74. Miss Condon - French - from ? to at least 1960
75. Miss Blakemore - P.E. from ? to at least 1960
76. Mr. Jackson - P.E. from ? to at least 1960
77. Mr Hoskiss - Woodwork - from ? to 1962
78. Mr. Beaumont - Woodwork - from 1962 to ?
79. Miss Dorothy Kyne - English from1959 to ?
80. Miss Robson (Senior Mistress) from the early 60s
81. Mrs. Knight (School Secretary ) 1958 to at least 1963
82. Mrs. Crossley - French from ? to 1959
83. Miss Wailes - English? - from ? up to 1959
84. Mrs. Stott - Biology from at least 1959 to 1963
85. Mr. Jagger - Maths - from at least 1962 to ?
86. Mr. Nelson - Music from ? up to 1959/60
84. Mr. Sidgreaves - Music - from about 1960 to ?
85. Mademoiselle Balerac (not sure of spelling) - French - about 1962/63?
“Memories can be beautiful, and yet what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget" (from the song "The Way We Were" first sung by Barbara Streisland circa 1973, lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman.)
If any readers of this web page have any additions or corrections to the list of OGS teachers, please drop me an email me via the Contact page. Thanks to Christine Cudworth for the correction to Miss Verity, which should read Miss Jessie Morris and who was her auntie.
Ossett Grammar School War Memorial
The School War Memorial was unveiled and dedicated on the 10th November, 1951, by the Lord Bishop of Wakefield. The memorial fund realised £280. A grand piano was purchased and two bronze tablets, on which were inscribed the names of those members of the school who gave their lives in the two world wars, were placed in the Assembly Hall.
The memorial plaques commemorates the 20 ex-Ossett Grammar School pupils who died serving their country during WW2.
The names on the plaque are as follows, with a little history on a selected few:
J. W. Bagley
A. G. Chapman
Allan Garfield Chapman was the son of Ossett Grammar headmaster Dr. Harry Garfield Chapman. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and he died aged 21 on the 22nd November 1941.
Pilot Officer Douglas Gartery was a navigator in 419 (RCAF) bomber squadron. On the 23rd May 1943, he was flying in a Halifax Mk. II, JB-862 outbound from Middleton St. George airfield, near Darlington on a bombing raid on Dortmund. One starboard engine failed and soon afterwards, the aircraft was shot down by flak and a night fighter. JB-862 crashed near Munchengladbach, killing all the crew except one Canadian, who became a PoW. Douglas Gartery was 23 and is buried in Rheinburg War Cemetery.
A. V. Haigh
N. T. Lawrence
C. A. Peace
Clarence Alban Peace was a corporal in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He was a student and chorister at Magdalene College, Oxford. Peace had the misfortune to be captured by the Japanese and forced to work on the Burma - Siam railway in 1942. Based at the terminus of the railway at Thanbyuzayat in Burma, he was one of twelve prisoners of war killed by Allied bombing raids on the 1st June 1943, aged 23
F. R. Vaile
A. N. Wilby
26 year-old Arthur Nightingale Wilby was a telegraphist aboard the cruiser HMS Neptune when it sailed into an uncharted minefield off the coast of Tripoli, Libya on the night of the 19th December 1941. The Neptune sank with the loss of 764 officers and men. Only one man survived in the water for five days before being picked up by an Italian torpedo boat. This was one of the most extensive but least known naval disasters of WW2.
Arthur Worth from Horbury Bridge had just celebrated his 20th birthday in Algiers where he was stationed with the Royal Engineers. On the 16th of July 1943, Arthur was in Algiers Harbour with 1031 Docks Operating Company, helping to load the Norwegian freighter "Bjorkhaug", which was one of a convoy of ammunition ships; it was just after the Allied invasion of Sicily so the pressure to load quickly was intense.
Arthur was supervising the loading 38 tons of German anti-tank mines by Arab dockers. Due to a mistake in the rush to load the ship, the ignition mechanisms inside the mines had not been removed and they were live, despite the crew being assured they were safe. 32 tons had already been loaded when there were two huge explosions.
It appears that a load of mines fell out of the cargo-nets into the hold, which triggered the first blast - this in turn setting off the second. The captain, Ole Sandvik, and 9 of his crew
were killed, as were between 300 and 1,000 dock-workers, including, sadly, Arthur Worth whose body was never found.
The docks were such a mess that the exact number of dead will probably never be known.
Christopher Cavania Sanders, RA, 1905-1991
In 1916, whilst WW1 was raging in Europe, a pupil called Christopher Cavania Sanders, who had been born at Hall Green, near Wakefield on Christmas Day 1905, became a new pupil at Ossett Grammar School.
Above: Christopher Cavania Sanders circa 1935.
Sanders went on to become a well-known artist and a member of the Royal Academy. One of his creations was the first Birds custard logo, which he designed just before WW2.
Above: Birds logo created by Sanders.
Christopher was the son of Alfred and Sarah Sanders. Alfred was a horse trader and Sarah ran a small millinery shop, which changed into a general store in the late 1930s. Alfred had been born in Leeds, but Sarah came from Earlsheaton, Dewsbury. Her own parents were Francis and Frances Blakeley (nee Senior). For reasons not yet known, Christopher was brought up by the Blakeley's, his maternal grandparents, until 1917. This Blakeley family line can be traced back to 1585, around Flockton and Horbury, as well as Ossett.
By the time of his grandfather's death in 1917, he was already attending Ossett Grammar School and the family were living at 14, Church Street, Ossett (now demolished). It proved necessary for Christopher and his grandmother to then move to Hall Green to live with his parents, but he continued to attend the Grammar School, cycling there daily, a matter of six or seven miles each way.
Christopher always spoke with affection of his time at Ossett Grammar School and his school report for the Spring Term of 1920 shows that he thrived there. He enjoyed sport and his football shirt from circa 1920 still exists, as does a team photograph of that time with him possibly wearing the shirt. He also spoke of the sprinting of a classmate, Jackie Fossett, as always being just too good for him.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of his time at the Grammar School was the encouragement he received from an Art Master, perhaps the "FNR" who initialled his school report, to go on and develop his drawing and painting ability. Certainly, by the time he left Ossett Grammar School, Christopher was having private art lessons in Wakefield and this soon led to him attending Leeds Art College. From there he gained admission to the Royal College of Art in London, where he met Barbara Louise Stubbs, the daughter of a bank manager. They married in Heston, Middlesex in 1931.
Very strongly influenced by Impressionist painters such as Cezanne, Pizarro, Manet and Van Gogh, and even more by so by modern painters such as Christopher Wood, Christopher Sanders was very much a purist painter who disliked being involved in commercial art. Nevertheless, he was forced into this by the need to earn a living and in the 1930s, he illustrated books, drew railway posters and created fabric patterns for the the seating used on the London Underground system. He also created the first Birds Custard logo and after WW2, he drew illustrations for some of the Janet and John books for James Nesbitt, publishers.
Above: "September Flowers" by C. Cavania Sanders, ARA, which was painted between 1953 and 1961.
In the 1930s, he started exhibiting at the Royal Academy under the name C. Cavania Sanders. He played for Hounslow Hockey Club and later developed into a scratch golfer at Home Park golf club near Kingston-upon-Thames.
At the start of WW2, Christopher was living in Firs Drive, Cranford, near Hounslow and was put into a reserved occupation as a draughtsman working in St. Albans. His paintings at the time reflected the war period, being of aerodromes and barbed wire. His link with St. Albans continued after the war as he started teaching at St. Albans School of Art. He also did commercial work for the agent J. Walter Thompson.
In the late 1940s, Christopher was being recognised as a serious painter and this led to him being elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1953. He won a Gold Medal at the Paris Salon in the mid-1950s and was elected as a Royal Academician in 1961.
Above: Christopher Cavania Sanders, RA, circa 1955
From the mid-1950s until 1967, when his wife died, Christopher made several painting trips to southern France and Italy, concentrating on landscapes. There were also trips to Suffolk, around Stoke-by-Nayland. As a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, he was commissioned to paint Dr. W.N. Pickles, first President of the College of General Practitioners, David Patrick Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir and Francis Raymond Evershed, 1st Baron Evershed of Stapenhill, whose portrait sits in Balliol College, Oxford.
As with so many artists, Christopher's work reflected changes of interest. Mostly landscapes, with all initial work painted in the open air, he was interested in the play and reflections of light. He loved the searing light and blue skies of Provence and in the last years before he suffered from a series of strokes, there were visits to Dubrovnik and the painting of roofs.
In 1980, Christopher had a stroke, but was able to continue almost normally until another stroke almost disabled him a year later. After his second stroke, he was unable to use his right arm and hand, so he switched to using his left. He was no longer able to manage detail, but his paintings somehow became more spontaneous. As Sidney Hutchinson, then secretary to the Royal Academy put it in Christopher's obituary, "these pictures lack the detail and subtlety of his earlier work but, to some modern tastes, are more appealing."
To some of his colleagues and indeed to any adversaries, he must have appeared intransigent, showing supposed Yorkshire "bloody-mindedness" on many occasions. He hated what he felt was cant or falseness and would resist it with verbal force. By contrast, many of his students appeared to appreciate his directness and guidance, some turning to him as a mentor as their careers developed.
He had many friends, amongst them Edward Pullee, for many years the Principal of the Leeds College of Art and comments made by them during his lifetime, as well as after his death, suggested that they appreciated his charm, humour and wit, as well as his generosity with both time and money. It was these qualities perhaps, allied to his strong principles, his ideas and his willingness to fight for them that made him an attractive person for many.
He was fortunate that by the time of his strokes that he had re-established a friendship with Joy Owen, whom he had known during his college days and she spent much time nursing him during his final years. He died of pneumonia on the 7th August 1991 and his ashes are in St Leonard's churchyard in Heston, together with those of his wife, Barbara.
By Roger Sanders, son of Christopher Cavania Sanders (c) 2013.