Film ID: YFA 1119 Video of THE HISTORY OF THORNTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL 1938-1944 Visitor TabsDescription The film takes us through the history of Thornton Grammar School including the building of the new school in Leaventhorpe and a period in the 1940s when the school was commandeered as army barracks. The film opens with a shot of the old grammar school in Thornton. Title - Here hung the school bell. There is a shot of the roof where the bell once hung, and the word “Reflect.” is inscribed into the wall to show that this part of the building was the canteen. There is a close-up of a window that has the letters “RE. ÆD 1788” engraved above the frame to show the date that it had been rebuilt. Title - After 200 years the old school was closed & the work transferred to the Mechanics Institute Four years later, in 1878, a new school was opened. It cost £2,400 & was to accommodate 150 pupils. Title - The school in 1889 from a copper plate. There is a copper plate illustration of the grammar school. Title - Since 1920, other buildings have had to be utilized including Kipping Sunday School & the Mechanics Institute Schoolchildren wearing their uniforms walk into the building of the Mechanics Institute. Title - In 1927 a spacious site was acquired at Leaventhorpe & a fine pavilion erected in 1931 partly by the voluntary efforts of the school. A cricket match is taking place in front of a large pavilion. A sign on the pavilion reads: “This pavilion was opened on 27th June 1931 by Alderman Alfred Pickles J.P. Lord Mayor of Bradford. Towards the cost of its erection and equipment, £1,000 was subscribed as a result of the voluntary efforts of the Thornton Grammar School - Alderman K. Chambers (Chairman of the Governors), K.A. Beaton M.A. Headmaster”. Outside the pavilion there are people sat on a bench. Title - By 1938 the number of pupils had grown to 300. The next passage shows the exterior of the school and its pupils lined up for inspection. The boys enter the Assembly Hall via the bike shed and are followed by the girls, who stand in rows on the opposite side of the hall. A teacher plays the piano as the children sing from hymn books and recite the Lord’s Prayer. Title - For Thine is the Kingdom, The Power and the Glory For Ever and Ever Amen. Title - On March 5th 1938 Alderman W. Hindle J.P. cut the first sod of the third Thornton Grammar School. On a hillside a crowd of children watch the Alderman cut into the ground with a spade. Title - Followed by…. The Lord Mayor, Ald. H. Hudson J.P. The Mayor takes his turn to cut a sod from the earth. Title - Ald. T.I. Clough M.A. Another man digs a patch of ground. Title - Coun. C. Watkin The councillor follows suit. Title - Mr W. MacPherson M.A. With some difficulty, Mr MacPherson cuts yet another sod. Title - Mr W. Leach MP One final sod is cut from the new site. Title - The Lord Mayor plants a chestnut tree The Lord Mayor shovels the displaced earth back over the new tree. Title - Clearing the site The next shot is a view over the construction site showing an E. Dyson excavator clearing away the earth and emptying it into a truck owned by Arthur W. Lee. The truck drives away and empties its load into a quarry whilst a surveyor looks through a theodolite. Title - Owing to trouble with an underground spring, special land drains had to be laid. Pipes are placed in a trench and fitted together. Title - The covered by a concrete “raft”. The foundations are being laid, as cement pours from the mixer into a wheelbarrow and is emptied onto the metal framework. Title - Making the foundations. More cement is poured into the trenches, followed by bricklayers gradually building the walls and fixing a steel frame in place. Title - On Sep. 17th 1938, Mr W.H. Rhodes laid the foundation stone. A group of dignitaries make their way up the steps as a conductor in a university gown leads the band. Mr Rhodes makes a speech before being handed a trowel and laying the foundation stone to great applause. Title - April, 1940. The construction work continues and the bricklayers keep on building up the walls, ensuring their accuracy by using a spirit level. A man carries bricks on his shoulder using a hood and the metal roof trusses are out into place. Slate tiles are chipped to size and nailed into place, before the lead lining is fixed on and the barrel tiles cemented into place. Title - July, 1940. The Worst Blow of All The “Military” Take Over Soldiers arrive at the gate and march through the school grounds under the orders of the drill sergeant. The troops are then shown exercising by doing press-ups and star-jumps, as well as in practising rifle drill in their military uniforms. Title - And so, until better times, we say…. Au Revoir 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 Title - Monday February 28th 1944 A crowd of children gather outside of the school building and a flag is hoisted up the flagpole with the school crest on it. Three cheers are proclaimed and the children file into the building. Title - Official Opening of the New School 22nd July, 1944 By the Right Honourable C.R. Attlee MP Lord President of the Council and Deputy Prime Minister. In colour. At the front of the school speeches are made by local dignitaries and Clement Attlee, who then opens the front door to the school and goes inside. The children and their parents listen to more speeches and sing hymns led by a conductor. Inside the Assembly Hall there is a shot of the school emblem which reads “Stulti Doctrinam Spernunt”, meaning “fools despise learning”. Attlee is then shown in the school gymnasium and signs the official register, before the film comes to an end with shots of the school building and grounds in the surrounding countryside. Title - The End Context It is rare for a school to have a moving image record of its history before and after the Second World War, but Thornton Grammar School, on the outskirts of Bradford, is fortunate enough to have this film, not only tracing its history but providing a fascinating look at its construction and opening, by Clement Attlee, in 1944. It also has footage of the army who occupied the school during the war doing rifle training and getting themselves into tip top condition. The village of Thornton is best known as the birthplace of the Bronte sisters. The original school, at School Green, was founded in 1673. The school is still at the same site that is seen in the film, only now with a new teaching block. It became a comprehensive school in the 1970s, re-named Thornton Upper, before reverting back to the title of “Grammar” and becoming a grant maintained school in 1993. It is now a foundation school with a comprehensive admission policy. The troops that occupied the school in 1940 were of the 54 Air Defence Company, who referred to the school as “Hull Camp”. Among the girls at the opening in 1944 would have been a 12 year old Billie Whitelaw.