Happy days at St James School ...

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THIS week’s featured photograph comes courtesy of Mrs Pat Watson who spent her infant school days at St James School.

Like Pat, I am sure other ex-pupils will simply remember it being called Queen Street School and have some happy memories of their own school days there.

In recent times the area of Brighouse where the old school was has changed beyond recognition, but where was it?

Mention it was on the Tesco site, in fact it was located on what is now the supermarket’s car park and there you have the general location of where the school was. But the changes in this area of town started well before Tesco arrived.

It was in the early 1970s when the town centre bypass was created, carving a new route through the town which resulted in everything in its path being demolished.

Once it was announced that Tesco was coming to town that development swept aside everything that was left after the bypass changes.

This included St James School building which was then occupied by Cleartone VCD, a company involved in audio-visual production and presentation services. Their taking on the building had seen its name being changed to the St James Centre.

St James School dated back to a meeting in January 1876 when it was decided that a new school must be built.

The outcome of the meeting was that £1,200 had to be raised for this purpose and in true fund-raising spirit of the time that money was raised very quickly and the new school was opened.

On November 18, 1901, disaster. The whole school was destroyed by fire and with estimated damages at £2,000 it would take a huge effort to re-build it.

The money was raised and on August 30 1902, the new school opened with bigger and better facilities enabling the school authorities to accept an intake of 224 boys and girls and 120 infant children.

From that day to the day it closed for the new bypass in the early 1970s generations of children attended this school having been taught by a small group of caring teaching staff before the children moved on to the next stage of the journey through their young lives.

Returning to our featured photograph kindly loaned by Pat Watson (nee Hall), this was her school and living at 6 Queen Street, and the school being at the top of her street, there was never any excuses for being late living that close to the school gate.

Pat says that the nativity photograph was taken in the school hall and some of those taking part include: Valerie Mellor, Susan Drake, Pauline Grayshon, Jean Brown, Judith Crowther, Jean Robinson,  Brenda Birch, Janet Unsworth (playing Mary), Christopher Renshaw and Martin Edwards.

Those are just some of the names perhaps you can help to name the rest?

If you would like to get in touch with Chris Helme then email enquiries@chrishelme-brighouse.org.uk