Huyton Hill 1926-1939

From the Huyton Hill School Prospectus, 1957 - by Hubert Butler:

On leaving Oxford I was appointed by Dr. Richard Brook as English Master at Liverpool College, where, under his encouraging eye, I learned some of the pleasures and possibilities of schoolmastering. During that time my wife and I were fortunate in gaining the friendship of Professor (later Sir Charles) Reilly, with whom we had many discussions about what a Prep. School ought to be like. It was due to his enthusiastic enc
uragement that we decided to start one of our own and put our theories to the test of practice. Having found six parents -(or rather six pairs of pare
nts !) willing to entrust their sons to us, we boldly opened the School, while our more optimistic friends consoled us with the remark that at any rate we were young enough to fail once and begin again!
In those early days we vaguely dreamed of having seventy boys, but we scarcely thought it could ever come true. Each year, however, brought a steady increase and gradually British boys came to Huyton Hill not only from all parts of the British Isles but also from Hong Kong, Japan, Java, Singapore, Malaya, India, Ceylon, the Persian Gulf, Transjordan, the Transvaal, Rhodesia, West Africa, the Sudan, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, U.S.A. and South America. This fact, coupled with the sponsorship of the many distinguished people whose names are included on the List of Reference, suggests that the School was founded on the right lines and has some real contribution to make to the education of boys between the ages of seven and fourteen.
Side by side with the increase in numbers we were continually busy with improvements and extensions. Soon four acres of playing fields were added. Then a Swimming Bath was built in the grounds. After 5 years the School buildings were doubled, and twenty acres of land were added. A Private Aerodrome (the first School Aerodrome in the world) was inaugurated by Lord Sempill, and a further addition in land brought the total to nearly forty acres, while in 1936 a third increase of buildings made the accommodation more than three times its original size. The next three years, 1936-1939, were spent in consolidating the position, improving buildings, classrooms, garden and general organisation.
Throughout the years of the School's growth at Huyton we made frequent additions to the spare time occupations, including a Model Boat Pond, a long stretch of Model Countryside with concrete castle, houses, bridges and roads, as well as a Model Railway and Canal. We also installed an indoor Trix Railway for evenings and wet weather. Wireless and gramophone were kept up to date, plugs for extensions fitted throughout the School and plans worked out to enable boys to hear our steadily increasing collection of records as well as suitable wireless programmes. The completion of the Model Countryside met with an equally fitting conclusion when it was filmed by Pathé Gazette, Ltd. and described in the September number of the Meccano Magazine.
At the end of the Summer of 1939 we found the new "Huyton Hill " near Ambleside and decided to move the whole School from its original home. It was certainly a sad business packing up to leave a place where we had planned and worked so hard and made so many improvements ; but the new site had so many natural advantages that we felt we were only beginning a new chapter and not starting over again at the beginning. Besides, Nature is on our side in the Lake District, and we were rewarded for our efforts to grow several hundred trees at Huyton by finding an even greater number and variety already grown for us here ; also, instead of the artificial stream and waterfall which we constructed there, we inherited several natural streams ready to hand. The grounds have also provided a natural Model Boat Pond as well as a number of woodland playgrounds, some rejoicing in such names as Red India, where wigwams grow in the summer time and various notices warn passers-by to beware of the natives. The buildings, too, so happily planned and lavishly built by the late Sir William Crossley, have proved ideal for our purposes and, beside the usual classrooms, etc., have provided an excellent Art and Handicraft building and a large Wood Workshop.
- Hubert Butler, Huyton Hill School Prospectus, 1957