School History

Bradshaw School was officially opened on August 27th 1877. It was named 'Bradshaw Board School'. The Headmaster was Mr Turner (no relation to our previous Head Teacher, Mrs Turner). The school consisted of a boy's department, girl's department and an infant's department. The school opened with 6 boys, 5 girls and 4 infants. This small attendance was said to be due to the fact that it was not generally known the school had opened on said day, also the completion of the school had been delayed. As word spread around the village and surrounding areas of Bradshaw, the school started to admit more pupils.

We have been fortunate enough to read our school's diary books, these were filled in by Head Teachers dating back to the opening of the school in 1877. We have also visited the main library in Halifax town centre along with Beechwood Road library to discover more interesting facts about our school.

We have tried to give you an insight into life at Bradshaw School through the years with examples of events and how we were involved in our country's history.


Until the year 1815, there were no schools for the children of Bradshaw and the surrounding districts, the only teaching the children received was at Sunday schools, such as Mount Zion.

Miss Elizabeth Wadsworth of 'Holdsworth House' decided she would give a sum of money to build a school so that the children of the area could receive an education. She had a school built at Popples which could hold 30 children in the one room.

In 1877 an even bigger school was built called 'Bradshaw Board School'. 

This is where our journey back in time begins...

Bradshaw Village is in the countryside; the Bradshaw School was mainly surrounded by farming land and fields. A lot of the children who attended Bradshaw came part-time, some children had to work in the local mills and family businesses. This affected attendance rates and education levels:

9/7/1891 – 'Several children away Haymaking'

20/6/1895 – 'Attendance rather poor, many away Haymaking'

Another major reason for poor attendance was illness. Any case of illness was taken seriously as medical knowledge was not as experienced as today. The logs record that many absences were due to illness:

8/4/1889 – 'Directed children from infected houses to absent themselves from school until all danger of infection is over'

6/5/1889 – 'School closed for two weeks due to measles epidemic, advised to remain closed until measles have subsided'

9/4/1892 – 'Several children away due to Scarlatina (Scarlet fever) advised families to absent themselves'

22/4/1892 – There was a recorded outbreak of small pox, the log showed 'some parents afraid of sending their children to school'

Unfortunately some children did not recover. On 9/12/1885 the log book states:

'Have great sorrow in recording the death of Miss M Woodhead from scarlet fever after 2 days illness'

Sometimes the schools poor attendance was not down to the children and their families or any illnesses, the log books report that sometimes Bradshaw staff did not help keep the attendance level high:

22/4/1879 – 'Bradshaw School was forced to close for the day as the school cleaner had let the fire go out'  this meant the school was too cold for learning.

12/4/1880 – The school was very cold – this was because the school cleaner refused to keep the fire alight. Mr Turner recorded, 'I shall report this to the meeting of the board'

The School cleaner did come in useful sometimes...

18/2/1880 – 'A boy named A Roberts haw had an accident in the playground, he was wrestling with another boy. He was carried home by the school cleaner – case not serious'

Other members of staff seemed to cause trouble for the Headmaster...

1/12/1881 – The Headmaster reported about a teacher, 'Holden's lessons unprepared again today. He knows absolutely nothing about his geography'

7/3/1882 – The same teacher had to be repeatedly questioned about his teaching skills. The log book records that Mr Holden's father decided to pay the Headmaster a visit, he complained about the treatment of his son, the Headmaster wrote, 'He says that , I work him too hard and am too harsh with him' Mr Turner continued, 'I am quite justified'

Back in the 1800's, it was apparently the norm for a father to come into an adult's workplace and approach their employer. Another Teacher, named Mr Priestley's father, also complained to Mr Turner about his son's treatment at work, this was on 9/11/1883.

In the 1800's the children's punishment was very different today, at Bradshaw School we have our behaviour policy to encourage good behaviour. The Headmaster and teachers permitted to punish the children, it was also introduced 25/4/1895 that teaching assistants were given permission to inflict corporal punishment.

If you broke a rule at school in the 1800's, you were lashed. Ouch!

  • For going about the barn or doing any mischief about the place - 7 lashes
  • For going and playing about the mill or creek - 6 lashes
  • Scuffling at school - 4 lashes
  • For wetting each other whilst washing at playtime - 2 lashes
  • For wrestling at school - 4 lashes
  • For calling each other liars - 4 lashes
  • Coming to school with dirty faces and hands - 2 lashes
  • Girls going to boy's play places - 3 lashes
  • For boys going to girl's play places - 3 lashes
  • Misbehaving to person on the road - 4 lashes
  • For wearing long fingernails - 2 lashes
  • Rules boys and girls playing together - 4 lashes
  • Fighting at school - 5 lashes
  • Quarrelling at school - 5 lashes
  • Making swings and swinging on them - 7 lashes 
  • Gambling or betting at school - 4 lashes
  • For misbehaving to girls - 10 lashes
  • Swearing at school - 8 lashes
  • Giving each other ill names - 3 lashes
  • Playing cards at school - 10 lashes
  • Climbing for every foot over three feet up a tree - 1 lash
  • Telling lies - 7 lashes
  • Telling tales out of school - 8 lashes 


The log books show several entries of punishment to children, here are just a few:

3/9/1878 – '2 boys came in late this afternoon and as speaking to them made no impression they were both caned. They promised to come at the proper time in future'

15/5/1896 – 'Punished I.Medley and J.Keene for climbing on buildings'

25/5/1894 – 'Punished T.Hill with strap for stupidity and trifling during lessons'

12/9/1897 – 'Punished S.Bates for inattention to orders. He is a complete nuisance to the Junior Teachers unless punishment be used'

24/3/1891 – 'have been compelled to punish A.Wade for repeatedly coming to school in almost slovenly and filthy condition'

21/7/1879 – A boy named J.Sutcliffe was punished for truanting by the headmaster, the boy also got punished for taking another pupil with him. The log book reported, 'his grandmother came at noon to enquire about him, I was obliged to tell her to go away.'


The children could also get punished for their behaviour outside of school: 

2/6/1880 – 'A Father brought his son to school, he asked for the boy to be punished as I thought he deserved.'


At Bradshaw School we pride ourselves on the fact we never close due to weather conditions, but it was reported 4/3/1880 the school was forced to close for the first time, the log book reports a few weather related closures: 

4/3/1880 – 'A heavy snow storm today, too rough to hold school – Holiday'

14/1/1895 – 'Only a few children came to school as roads were blocked with snow. These had their feet so wet that it was not deemed advisable to retain them so they were sent home'

16/8/1878 – 'Owing to the severe thunder storms this week the attendance has been very irregular'

On the 16th June 1886 Bradshaw School opened as a mixed department, 101 boys and girls attended in the morning followed by another 30 children in the afternoon.

The 1800's were not all doom and gloom, Bradshaw held its first P.E. lesson 10/3/1893.

The school soon started to get sports teams to represent the school.

1/8/1895 – '11 of the elder boys went out to play cricket against Moorside School at 3.15'

The definite highlight of the 1800's seemed to be the Royal Wedding of Duke of York and Princess Mary of Teck. Bradshaw School closed for the celebrations for two days, 6/7/1893.

Early 1900's

As years went by and times changed as did the schooling system. Our next log book dates 1920s – 1990s, below are more interesting events and examples of Bradshaw School throughout the years.

The first recording of the May Day Festival was on the 30/4/1920

 'The children took part in maypole dancing'

On the 21/5/1920 Bradshaw School had a special assembly and enjoyed treats to celebrate 'Empire Day'. Empire day had been celebrated every year since 1916, the day was to celebrate Queen Victoria. Empire day was usually held around the time of Queen Victoria's birthday (24th May). In present day, this day is no longer celebrated.

Our school seemed to take part in a lot sporting activities, and by the look of the results we were pretty good!

1/3/1921 – 'In the games lesson the football team played a match with the Mixenden School team on the ground near Bradshaw Tavern.

Result Bradshaw 6 Mixenden 0'

15/3/1921 – 'Return football match with Mixenden recreation ground

Result Bradshaw 3 Mixenden 1'

29/4/1921 – 'The cricket team played a match with Moorside School at Holmfield.

Result drawn – Moorside 30 Bradshaw 30'

10/5/1921 – 'Netball at Bradshaw with Mixenden school – Bradshaw 23 – Mixenden 13'

22/7/1924 – 'Sports Day at Thrum Hall, W Hint won quarter mile'

Illnesses and weather were still a major factor in attendance issues:

16/1/1922 – 'Heavy snow had fallen during the weekend (over 6") the very small attendance interfered seriously with the work of the school. The temperatures throughout the school were too low'

24/3/1924 – 'The attendance is low owing to an epidemic of Chicken Pox, 15 cases are now confirmed'

21/5/1927 – 'Measles and Chicken Pox getting rather serious'

3/11/1937 – 'Ten cases of Whooping cough and one of Scarlet fever'

The minimum period away from school was 6 weeks.

Illness was not always to blame...

29/8/1938 – 'Last week there were 4 children absent, away at the seaside'

The Headmaster in 1921, Mr Baxendale who lived at Beechwood Road, liked to report the good as well as the poor attendance:

23/5/1921 – 'The browned faces of the children were evidence that the glorious weather had been enjoyed to the full'

'The afternoon attendance was plenty, half timers not working owing to scarcity of coal.'

In the 1900's Bradshaw school seemed to take part in a lot of local events and school trips.

3/9/1920 'Bradshaw was visited by 60 children from Sunnyside school friendly games at cricket and basket ball were played before tea, after tea the Bradshaw children took their friends to Ogden, Soil Hill, the source of Ovenden Beck, onto a farm, the children left at 7pm'

2/3/1933 – '32 children attend cinema in order to see a safety first picture'

Pioneer picture house – Halifax.

28/4/1921 – 'The children were taken into the school yard to observe through smoked glasses a solar eclipse'

Corporal punishment did not seem to be listed as much although Bradshaw School did not stand for unruly or untidy children, one boy was repeatedly sent home.

10/10/1927 – 'J Lightfoot has not shown any improvement in body cleanliness. His shirt proved to be deplorably filthy'

13/10/1928 – 'Sent J Lightfoot home on presenting himself in same state'

Bradshaw School had to deal with the children and their parents. One family were recorded in the log a few times (name changed) on 17/10/1927, a Mr Smith appeared at school 'brawling and shouting for his children' he was asked to leave the school premises. When Mr Smith refused the police were called. Mr Smith reported the Headmaster to the Education Office 'He had made out a case against my treatment of him'.

It was later recorded on 8/7/1928 that there had been a burglary nearby, the culprits were Mr Smith's children 'Master Smith found with stolen goods in his possession, his sister had broken a window in Bradshaw Lane and both children had helped themselves' The same Mr Smith reported Bradshaw School on 9/9/1929 claiming a teacher had damaged his son's clothing 'a seam in his jersey was open 1½ inch' . The daughter of the family was reported on 20/3/1931 'appeared at school with a nasty scalp wound after some perseverance she told me her Father had struck her about the head with a buckle end of his strap' . This matter was reported, the log also says Mr Smith has been reported for ill treatment of his children. Both children were reported truanting and stealing on 28/4/1931. The situation must have got out of hand because on 11/5/1931 a Dr Hejnermann 'came to school to examine the Smith girl's mental state'  the doctor spoke to the girl's teachers and father 'Dr Hejnermann is endeavouring to find some residential school or home for a private observation'  the girl admitted 'having got goods on false pretences from 2 sweet shops in Ovenden'.

The children's father came to school 'the children had stolen from his pocket while he slept'  he admitted the children were out of control. The boy was sent to Shadwell Industrial School and the girl was on probation for 12 months.

Our Royal Family featured quite a bit in the 1920's and 30's with a few recorded events:

5/10/1926 – 'School broke up – Prince of Wales visit to Halifax' 30/11/1934 – 'School closed for Royal Wedding of Prince George and Princess Marina'

28/1/1936 – 'A service was held at 11am to mark the occasion of the burial of King George the 5th'


After the death of King George the 5th, the country held street parties and took days off work and school to celebrate the new King's coronation, unfortunately for Bradshaw School they could not take part –

'It was decided in view of the severity of the measles epidemic, it would be advisable for Bradshaw School to withdraw from the joint Coronation treat to be held by the schools of the district in Ovenden on May 13th'

The first entry we can find for Armistice Day was 11/11/1920:

'Short address on our debt to those who died in the war'

'11am – great silence of 2minutes – hymns'

Unfortunately, for Bradshaw School and the rest of the country that would not be last time they heard of a war. The first recordings of World War 2 were on 14/10/1938.

World War 2

'School was started earlier – in order to facilitate the work of the Air Raid precaution committee in their distribution of Gas Masks'

In the log book the war is referred to as 'The international situation'. Bradshaw children were sent home on 4/9/1939 and told 'to watch the local press for further announcements' . The children were told to return on September 11th and to bring their gas masks. Female members of staff were excused from work 22/9/1939 to help in the making of gas mask covers. The Head Teacher was excused of his duties to help in the preparation of Air raid shelters.

25/9/1939 – Bradshaw received a letter instructing them how to use their gardens 'The school gardens can be applied to the production of food during the period of the war'

8/12/1939 – Bradshaw was told to use the cellars of local houses – Horton Place 1,5,6 and 7 'The Vicar had also offered the use of the ground floor of the church tower'

5/2/1940 - Bradshaw School had to close due to severe snow storms. Several roads were blocked.

250 soldiers have been clearing the drifts in Riley Lane but some 200 yards of road remain to be done'


Teachers held meetings about what rules they should follow if stray enemy aircrafts should drop bombs in the neighbourhood of the school.

'Each teacher to be responsible for the children in the class, taking cover in the room, under desks and tables etc.'

16/1/1941 – Bradshaw School was granted – Fire watch cover from Horton Place, also 

'The Caretaker was put on a rota of watches so that he will be able to watch the school during an alert'

27/2/1941 – '79 children were served a dinner of Hot Pot and Roly Poly pudding. This meal had been prepared by the voluntary helpers of the shelter station in the kitchen recently erected in the boy's yard'

30/9/1941 - Bradshaw School had a savings scheme a little bit different to any scheme we have today.

'End of summer savings campaign. The schools objective of raising sufficient to purchase a Machine gun (£100) was achieved.

17/4/1941 – 'This afternoon, during an alert period in a neighbouring area the children were kept in the air raid shelters'

24/9/1941 – A Female teacher, Mrs Garhitt, was allowed time off work 'Husband on leave from H.M Forces'

10/7/1944 – 'Reception of 65 evacuee children from London area'

Bradshaw celebrated with the rest of the country in 1945:

8 - 9/5/1945 – '2 days holiday to celebrate victory in Europe'

15/8/1945 – '2 days holiday to celebrate victory over Japan'

22/1/1947 – 'The policeman called today to report misbehaviour of Bradshaw children in the local recreation ground during the past weekend'

10/7/1947 – 'The Air Raid shelter at the rear of the school is being demolished'

5/9/1947 – 'The school nurse examined the heads of the children'

4/12/1947 – 'The Headmaster showed the whole school the film strip – The Royal wedding'

26/4/1948 – 'Day holiday to celebrate King and Queens Silver Wedding Day'


Do you recognise anyone? If you have any photos of our school's past please share them :