Memories of Calderdale

Holy Trinity School


John Rushworth

I grew up at Bank Top, Southowram, and went to Holy Trinity Infants' and Junior School. I started in August of 1955 and can remember my first winter at school like it was yesterday. One morning just before Christmas we got up to discover a very deep snow covering. No buses were running so with my mother I had to walk to school. We were late as you can imagine and on arrival we were greeted by Miss Woodhead, the Headmistress. You're late, was her greeting.

We've had to walk from Southowram, was my mother's reply.

John will not be coming tomorrow, it's too far to walk a little boy of five two days running.

Oh, you must come tomorrow, replied Miss Woodhead, It's the Christmas party.

My mother left me at school that morning and walked on to the General Hospital to work. That afternoon, she picked me up at just turned 3:00 pm and we managed to get a bus home. I did not go to school the day after.

When I was at the Infants, we had to go each day round into what I thought were the Almshouses just over the wall from the school for our school dinner. It was only in later years that I discovered that the building where we went was in fact the old Halifax Bluecoat School. I can't honestly say that I can remember seeing kids in uniform from that school although it only closed down in 1958 and the children transferred to Trinity. I was never aware or can say that I had knowingly met anybody who'd gone to that school or knew who the teachers were. To me it was all a very big mystery.

My first year at school was like a nightmare that had gone wrong, my first teacher was a Mrs Rothwell, she was permanently bad tempered and shouted incessantly. She was a fiery old battleaxe of the old order and totally the wrong person to have in charge of a class of children who'd never been to school before and most of which were either frightened or bewildered or both; I know I certainly was. I did discover some years later that she lived at Crossley & Porter School with her husband and originally they'd been houseparents in the days when Crossley's still took boarders.

After my first year of hell on earth with Mrs Rothwell, I moved into Mrs Kaye's class and it was a different world. My father knew Mrs Kaye, I never quite found out how or why he knew her but she lived at Hipperholme where he'd lived for a while so maybe that's how it came about. After that I went into Mrs Gore's class and again that was very pleasant and on reaching the age of 7, we were taken one morning up to the Junior Boy's School at West Parade.

Mr George Sydney Wadsworth was the Headmaster – a very pleasant and amiable man who lived at Milnsbridge near Huddersfield – with Mr George Crossley as his Deputy. I was put into Miss Annie Maude's class and settled down quite well. At the Junior's at that time, was a teacher by the name of Mrs Ann Sutcliffe whom my mother knew and who was looking forward to having me in her class which was the 2nd year. Fortunately or unfortunately, whichever way you look at it, we missed each other. I went up and she came down. At the end of my first year of Junior's, Miss Maude left Trinity with Mr Crossley to go to Heathfield at Rishworth.

Mrs Sutcliffe took over the first year and I got a new teacher called Mrs Graham, my memories of her being that she was very pleasant and at the end of her first year at Trinity she left having become pregnant. Her place being taken by a Miss Beck who was again newly qualified. Mr Crossley's place was taken by Mr Lesley F. T. Hull as the Deputy Head. This was Mr Hull's second stint at Trinity, he'd been here before at the end of the War and left. My 2nd year classroom was next door to Mr Hull's and every day all we could hear was his class in fits of laughter. When my turn came to be in his class, we found out why his classes were always laughing, it was Mr Hull's method of teaching, he was a natural comedian. I can remember on one occasion, we were having a maths lesson and he'd been teaching us about fractions. When it came to the marking, we all had to take our books out to his desk, he looked at mine and said,

Rushworth, when are you going to get it into your head boy, to divide fractions, invert and multiply

At this point, he rose from his chair and physically picked me up and turned me upside down, he gently shook me up and down in front of the class. Everybody howled with laughter and I've never forgotten it from that day to this. After I'd left the Juniors, Mr Hull left Trinity for the last time and went to Exley Secondary School where he stayed until he retired. When I read in the Courier that he'd died I felt very sorry, he was an extremely nice man. His wife was a big worker for the Girl Guides in Halifax and she was also a Magistrate. He did have a daughter of his own but how old she was I never knew. I will always have, as long as I live, some very happy and fond memories of Mr Hull.

Also at the Junior's at this time was a Mr Jack Green who was in charge of the 3rd year but he left before I reached his class, his place being taken by a newly qualified teacher, Mr Richard Sanderson. I don't know where Mr Green went after Trinity but not long after he left, he died suddenly, aged only in his 40s. Mr Sanderson's career progressed after I'd left the Juniors and he went on to become the Headmaster of Mill Bank Primary School in later years. While I was with Mrs Graham, we got a student teacher called Mr Mullins, again quite pleasant but if you were stood with him while he marked your maths book, if you'd got your sums wrong he'd tell you that you would become a dustbin man or if you got them right, he'd say you were going to be a scientist.

At various times, we had to attend Holy Trinity Church for services and in my early days at the school the vicar was the Rev Littlewood, but about 1957 he left to be replaced by the Rev James Haydn Rushworth – no relation to me. He was a native of Elland and a nicer man you couldn't wish to meet. He stayed at Trinity right up to the late 1970s when he unfortunately died from a heart attack, a very sad loss of an extremely nice man. He was a bachelor and lived at the Vicarage at No 21, Balmoral Place but he eventually moved out of there into a new bungalow which had been built down Love Lane just off Savile Park Road. I never knew whether it was his own, or it belonged to the Church Authorities.

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 10:26 / 30th May 2021 / 8723

Page Ref: M_28

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