Old Hessle Schools


Early Schools

A school attached to the church existed in Hessle as long ago as 1476, and probably earlier. This was a school to train boys to sing, probably with a view to them taking holy orders later in life. Song schools were of lower rank than grammar schools. Reading and writing, in Latin, were also taught. In 1476 Thomas Anlaby provided for 2d to be given to each ‘singing boy’ at his funeral. A century, in 1478 Robert Brocklebank was appointed to be the master of Beverley Grammar School having previously been the teacher of the grammar Skole at Hasseyl. The school was probably held within the church building.

School for Domestics, Swinegate

The School for Domestics and its predecessor The School of Industry, Hessle

School for Domestics, Swinegate

The school for Domestics stood in Swinegate (it is now a residential property) and was run by Lydia Stather (nee Levitt), who had also taught at the School of Industry in Cow Lane.

Mrs Mary Locke, the wife of Thomas Bentley Locke of Hessle Mount, founded the school in 1840 to train girls for domestic service. She maintained the school and was a regular visitor to see the progress being made by the girls. It seems that the school continued in the Swinegate cottage for twenty years but may then have moved to other premises until it closed around 1875. The cost for tuition was 1d per week.

Lessons were given in reading and writing, sewing and needlework, and the girls were trained to be domestic servants. Instruction in the Anglican catechism was also provided on Saturday mornings.

Mrs Stather employed a rather novel form of discipline: girls wore a crewel (ball of wool) on their slips and if they misbehaved the crewel was taken away and placed on the mantelshelf, above the fireplace. On occasions girls guilty of serious misbehaviour were sent home minus the crewel, possibly to be further chastised by their parents. Girls were also required to wear a slip, over their normal clothes, for school.

The building has been altered considerably since it was used as a school. To the front the iron railings have gone (presumably for the “war effort”, W W I). The classroom was on the right hand side and the Headmistress’ study on the left.

Thomas Bentley Locke (1792-1857) and his wife, Mary (1803-46) lived at Hessle Mount. He was a partner in Harrison, Watson & Locke, a Hull bank; Sheriff of Hull 1819; Mayor 1833; He committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a pistol (1.10.1857). Mary was very well respected in Hessle; according to J R Pease she “will long be remembered by a large circle of friends and especially the poor of Hessle”. At Christmas 1845, when she was already poorly with the illness that took her life, she invited all the girls of the school to Hessle Mount for dinner.

The School of Industry, Cow Lane

This establishment was opened in Cow Lane in 1819 by a group of ladies attached to the Church of England, who continued to manage the school throughout its existence.

By the end of the first week there were fourteen pupils and after seven weeks the roll had grown to twenty two. The first mistress received a salary of £16 per year plus the occasional free chaldron of coal. The school was supported by subscriptions and the fees were 1d per week for a curriculum covering reading, writing, spinning, weaving and knitting. Sewing and knitting work had to be paid for.

In 1822 the weekly fee was dropped and in 1824 Lydia Levitt became the second mistress. An annual examination system was introduced whereby the girls received cash for gaining the highest marks and also for good conduct. The charges for sewing and knitting work were dropped.

Pigot’s Directory of 1834 records Lydia Stather as running a subscription school with Mary Webb as her assistant. This was, presumably the same school and was probably sited on the area now occupied by the supermarket in Hessle Square. The school closed when Lydia Stather was appointed as mistress of the School for Domestics in 1840.

Stather, Lydia (nee Levitt) 1795-1875

Lydia Stather ran the School for Domestics. She and her husband, Philip, lived for many years on Southgate and had several children (Philip1829, John 1831, James 1833, Robert 1836). Died in 1875 at the age of 80 and was buried in Hessle Cemetery alongside her husband Philip. Her gravestone shows her face complete with bonnet. Under her maiden name she had earlier run the School of Industry in Cow Lane.

The British (or Parish School), Cow Lane

This school was opened c1661 by the Reverend Joseph Wilson who also provided the almshouses that were known as Wilson’s Hospital and he probably taught there. The school was later (1716) endowed to the sum of £5 annually by Leonard Chamberlain to ‘that schoolmaster that teaches scholars … to teach and learn well to read English, twenty children of the poorest people in Hessle of what persuasion whatever’ provide for twenty poor boys of the parish. The money for the endowment came from the rents of a farm at Sutton and Stoneferry. Also included in the endowment was a sum of £3 to cater for the needs of the residents of the almshouses who were to receive 5s each on each quarter day.

The school, in Cow Lane, was a long low building with the schoolroom on top and three almshouses beneath. By the middle of the nineteenth century the building had become so dilapidated that it had to be rebuilt and a committee was formed to oversee the raising of funds and the works. The last master of the school was Thomas Banks who was appointed in 1876, as a result it was also known as Banks’ School. The school closed in 1902 due to a lack of pupils who were now attending the free board school, and the buildings were demolished to make way for Hessle square some twenty years later.

The Church School

A school along the lines proposed by the National Society was opened in September 1823. At first instruction took place in the church belfry, then in rooms rented from a joiner and later in a cottage in the churchyard. By 1828 the school had accumulated a debt of £35 and when the national Society refused a grant to improve the buildings in 1832 they were demolished. The school, however, continued elsewhere until 1835.

National School

A National School was established on the Hourne using land purchased from the Sculcoates Guardians of the Poor. The three-roomed school opened in 1856, partly financed by a grant of £283, to provide education for the poorer classes. The vicar and churchwardens were trustees. In 1866 the school had to be doubled in size to accommodate a rapidly growing population. In 1892 there were 290 pupils and in 1899 a second extension was built in 1912 that provided a separate building for boys.

Kingston College

This establishment stood on the site at the corner of Eastgate and Cow Lane. It was run by the Reverends Voysey and had moved there from Hull in the 1850s.

By 1861 the school had been replaced by Kingston Lodge the residence of Anthony Bannister.

Other Schools

Ellis, Misses

The Ellis sisters ran a school in Hessle in the nineteenth century.

Midgley and Highley, Misses

These ladies ran a boarding and day school for girls on the Weir. It was advertised in the parish magazine of June 1901.