Pye Bank School

Story by Gordon and Elizabeth Shaw | Photography by Steve Barnard

Pye Bank Board School on Andover Street opened in December 1875 and had Boys, Girls and Infant Departments. It eventually became a nursery and infant school and closed in 1990.

School log books feature a variety of events: measles epidemics, Royal Weddings (they often merited a holiday) and weather (school closed due to lack of heating).

The following extracts give an insight to school life 100 years ago.


An Inspector’s report for the year ending 3rd December 1899 noted

‘Discipline is excellent and teaching is intelligent and vigorous.’

One of the subjects being taught in 1900 was ‘recitation’. According to the log book Standard, III were learning ‘Twilight Calm’ by Christina Rossetti and Standard V had ‘Abou Ben Adhem’ by James Leigh Hunt.

In November 1915 the boys had an ‘Alcohol Demonstration’ lesson. It does not give details of the lesson content. However, the Inspector’s Report for the year states

‘general standards of attainment high level’


‘methods of imparting instruction consist too largely of demonstration and oral exposition’.


‘a more generous supply of atlases, dictionaries and other suitable books is desirable’.

Three boys from the school were sent to Hull to take part in the English Schoolboys Swimming Championships – and they won.

September 1924 saw further swimming success for Pye Bank Boys at a swimming gala at Glossop Road Baths where they won the ‘Bolton Cup’ squadron race, the sixth time the cup had been won by the school.

In May 1932 there was an after school trip to the Regent cinema to see ‘Round the World in 80 Minutes’. The same month, boys in Standard VI and ‘Special classes’ went to the Coliseum cinema for a ‘Safety First’ lecture and film.

Boys in the ‘Special class’ had a visit to Bernard Road Refuse Disposal Works in May and in July to the ‘Nunnery Pit’, where they did not complete their visit until 10.30 pm.


The Inspector’s Report for 1911 states

‘the training and teaching are sensible and efficient, and the influence and supervision of the head teacher are apparent throughout the school’.

After the Easter holidays in April 1916 the girls had new courses on the curriculum – cookery, laundry and swimming.

September 1920 saw several outings,

‘92 girls from Standard V have gone to Rivelin Valley today for Nature Study and Observation Work’


’42 girls Standard VII have gone to visit the Ruskin Museum and Norton in connection with Sir F Chantrey’.


’60 girls in Standard VI gone today to visit Rivelin Valley to study contours in connection with geography lessons’.

In October Standards VI and III visited Roe Woods and Southey district, the older girls studying contour connection with geography and the younger group for nature study. In June/July 1921 they went on rambles, 46 girls in connection with local history and 54 girls to the Ewden valley to study the water supply of Sheffield.

Beauchief Abbey was the destination for an afternoon ramble for 53 girls and an afternoon at Redmires for another group of 48.

On 31 March 1925 ‘Miss E Vickers terminated her engagement in this school today. She was a child in the school shortly after it opened in 1875 and has remained as a pupil teacher and assistant up to the present time when she retires from teaching. Farewell presentation ceremony.’

The school was open to parents for the afternoon in October 1927 when ‘573 came to school and thoroughly investigated what the girls were doing’. The October ‘Open Day’ of 1935 sounds a little more organised,

‘Every class presented a dance or a play to the assembled parents, who visited the various classrooms and viewed the Exhibition of Harvest Festival during the interval’.

September 1936 marked the end of an era with the last entry in the log book stating the girls’ department ceased to exist.

On the 7th September Pye Bank Junior Mixed School commenced under J L Carter.

This article was researched by members of the Burngreave Local History Group. Their next meeting is at 10am on 22 April at St Catherine’s School, Firshill Crescent. All welcome.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Saleema Imam on 2016-03-31 20:07:35.
The content of the page was last modified by Saleema Imam on 2016-03-31 20:26:25.

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