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13 - Learning and
inevitably feature strongly in childhood memories. The present Village Hall is
built on the site of the National School erected 1820. The School was supported
by fees, subscriptions and government grants. When the school first opened, 36
poor children were educated free, and in the late 1880's some children were
paying 3d (1(p) a day. A stone in the north wall is inscribed '1821
National School - Peace and Prosperity'.
A photograph shows a long brick building, either painted white or plastered.
Kelly's Directory for 1905 states that the school (built for 120) had an average
attendance of 75 under the Master, Arthur Mewis.
school, (which later became the site for the new Chapel), was built in 1859/60.
Originally built for 100 children, Kelly's Directory for 1905 records an average
attendance of 34 boys and girls.
In 1907, the
children moved to the new Council School, formally opened on 16th October, by
Col. Legard, Chairman of the North Riding Education Committee. Classes started
on October 17th with 112 children on roll. The attendance for the first day was
95 in the morning and 98 for the afternoon.
were Matthew Liddell (voted Chairman), R Souter, J Farrer (Correspondent for the
Wesleyan School) Thomas Wood (Correspondent for the Church School), W Mattison,
W S Appleby and Rev Newman. There have been seven head teachers:
October 1907 - April 1945
Charles E Denton
April 1945 - December 1966
E M Wilkinson
January 1967 - August 1971
R Danby (temporary)
September 1971 - February 1972
February 1972 - March 1988
Robert Audsley (temp)
April - July 1988
September 1988 to the present day
A row of cottages
on Main Street was demolished, and the red brick School was built. The Infants
class was on the eastern wing and the large classroom was divided with a wooden
partition for the Junior and Senior classes. Water was pumped into an open tank
in the porch from a well in the back yard. Limewashed earth closet toilets were
in the rear playground. Electric light was installed in 1939. Water
installation started in the village in 29th June 1937 and the school's toilets
were converted to the 'water carriage system' in the autumn of 1940. Temporary
toilets were installed in 1978 with indoor toilets finally coming in 1989.
The school had
playgrounds to front and rear, and school gardens stretching down to Back Lane.
Playgrounds were divided by brick walls, with a wooden door. The older boys took
the front yard near The White Dog. "Boss" wouldn't allow football in the
playground, so that was played in the street, and the children often had a big
skipping rope right across the road.
The school garden
had six or seven plots, mainly growing vegetables. Tended by the older boys,
they were handed on when they left school at fourteen, as young men. Twice
weekly gardening sessions often featured the surreptitious smoking of woodbines,
(purchased with the 2d refund on empty bottles), down Lucy Balk.
The Senior girls
had lessons in Cooking and Housewifery, from a travelling Cookery Van - an
extending trailer on four wheels. For a short spell in the 1930's the older
girls travelled by bus for cookery lessons, at first to a centre at Wigginton,
later at Uppleby, Easingwold.
its own school catering for infants, through to fourteen year olds. A past
pupil remembers twenty to twenty five children, all in the one room. Farlington
school closed in the late 1930s. Children travelled to Stillington school on
foot or cycled, from Marton, Farlington and outlying farms and homesteads. Mr.
Morse's School Bus and Taxi service started in 1948.
Pre- World War 1,
Harvest holidays were taken late August to September, with Potato Picking
holidays in October. Records also show a number of official closures, some for
celebrations and Royal occasions - Coronations, Weddings, Jubilees and
Funerals. Others were for trips and outings. One was for the sun's eclipse in
June 1927. Other closures were for less welcome events - Measles epidemics in
1912 and 1920, Mumps in 1914, and lack of heating fuel during 1942, 1946 &
Some days off
were not official. There were a number of distractions which might cause pupils
to play truant. These included the Easingwold Point to Point races and Bush
Beating days for the boys. There was also the Hunt, which would meet outside
one of the Pubs. As one young Hunt Follower remembers, sometimes the school
bell would go and children would be right down Easingwold Road. 'You'd have to
leg it back up the road and at school you had to line up in front of your
Pupils could gain
scholarships to Easingwold Grammar School, and the first one to do so (in 1910)
was William Mattison. In 1970, selection examinations to Easingwold School were
abolished. Most children now transfer to Easingwold School when they are eleven
The effects of
the Second World War stand out in the school records. From September 1939 the
village was home to evacuee children. The first group, of 116 (mainly Roman
Catholic boys from St Charles School) came from Hull. In July 1940 another 103
came from St Patrick's Junior Boys and Girls Schools in Middlesbrough. The
Village Hall was used as a temporary school room until June 1943. Over 50 of
the children were accommodated at Stillington Hall with the Roman Catholic
Brothers and others stayed with families in the village and surrounding
district. Many evacuee children only stayed a matter of days before returning
home to their parents. The remaining ones, apart from the one or two who stayed
with their adopted Stillington families, had all returned to their homes by
In December 1939
Hunter and Smallpage of York organised the black-out of the school windows.
Brother Edmund, from Stillington Hall, came into school during the winter of
1939 / 40 to give a series of First Aid lessons. From November 1941 the school
became a Rest Centre for emergency purposes. Blankets and cushions were
provided, and stayed in school until the end of 1944. There is only one mention
of late opening after air raid warnings, this was in July 1941. In May the same
year, a local farmer asked for about twenty five lads (aged over twelve years)
from the Village Hall school to help with carrot pulling and potato setting. The
boys would get an extra week's holiday to the Whitsun week and have a week off
their holiday at a later date.
were also a wartime innovation, they started on 22nd August 1944 with 41
children being served. Meals were taken in the Institute – the Village Hall -
which was used as a Dining Centre for the Council School right through to
October 1956. By 1951 about 60 children were served their midday meal, supplied
from the Central Kitchen at Strensall. By 1956 the purpose built in-school
kitchen was completed. Meals were cooked at Stillington for Sutton on Forest
Primary School. During the 1970s they were also cooked for the WRVS Meals on
Wheels Service, until this was transferred to the Tanpit Lodge Kitchen in
1970, a new wooden classroom was erected for the Infant class. With the
development of the Parkfield estate, the roll increased from 71 to 121 and four
classes were run from the existing premises. By 1977 with 117 on the roll, (35
in Class 1, 32 in Class 2 and 50 in two Infant classes), the School Doctor had
to examine the children in the Village Hall owing to lack of space!
classroom was destroyed by fire in July 1990, about an hour after the children
had left school. A replacement classroom arrived during the holidays for school
to continue the following term.
There are now
over 70 children attending the school and plans are going ahead to build an
extension to the Infant classroom.
were also used for other activities. There was a Methodist Sunday School from
1920 through to 1943 run by Mr and Mrs Smith and the Manson family amongst
others. The Garbutts started the Wesleyan Sunshine Corner, which was similar to
a Sunday School.
In 1936, Fred
Baker started a Boys Club in the old Wesleyan school building with one evening a
week for Bible classes and another for hobbies, handicrafts, gymnastics or
Scouting activities. The older boys helped to renovate the building, which was
also used for a mixed Youth Club.
During the late
1920s, the Council School was also used as a meeting place and for social
occasions – the Gymkhana Committee, the Druids Club, Village Garden Produce
Association, Church Whist Drives, Dances and Concerts. The School was used as a
Polling Station for Local, District and General elections, and in 1979 for the
election of a candidate for the European Assembly.
The Village Hall
When the new
council school opened, the old school fell into disrepair, and this raised the
question of what to do with it. Some activities had transferred to the new
school, but a public meeting in January 1928 elected to renovate the old
building for use as a Parochial Hall. This was done with the aid of public
subscriptions, village fund raising, and a grant from the Ecclesiastical
Commissioners (on the understanding that the Hall was also available for Marton
and Moxby). A kitchen, ladies toilet and a fuel store was built, and the Hall
was officially opened by Squire Liddell, in September 1929 with Mr Turton MP in
From this time we
have more detailed records of the use of the Hall as a meeting place.
Organisations using the Hall included Men's and Women's Clubs; a Girls' Club;
the Fur and Feather Society; the Horticulture Society and the Scouts and Guide
movement. Recreation was a priority, with dances; concerts; billiards; keep fit
classes; and film shows provided by Mr Fred Baker and later Mr H Smith of
Easingwold. Official uses included Rates Collection centre; Weights and Measures
centre; Polling Station; Chiropody Clinic and Baby Clinic. From 1939 The Home
Guard also met in the Hall.
In 1962 the
Village Hall underwent its next alteration with a Committee Room, cloakrooms and
toilets added along the front of the existing building with a new entrance.
Loans were invited from the Village residents to pay for these alterations,
together with numerous fund raising events. The Hall is operated by a hard
working voluntary management committee, and ownership has been secured with the
Official Custodian for Charities.
The Green round
the Village Hall used to be the location for Stillington Feast which was held
each Whit week, with horses, caravans, shows and amusements. The Village was
spruced up for the occasion and children earned extra pocket money by weeding
the cobbles. Half days were taken off for cricket matches; children danced
round the maypole; bought "Spanish" - a liquorice flavoured drink; mushy peas
from Bob and Anna Leeman; Shipley's Fair would come out of their village winter
quarters in Woods' builders' yard, with equipment repaired and painted up for
the start of another season on the road. A travelling circus occasionally used
the Green during the 1920s and 30s. There are memories of elephants being
walked up to Town End Pond for water and showing off some of their tricks with
the lads' sweet bags.
The Sports and Social Club
As early as 1883,
Stillington had a Cricket team in the Forest of Galtres league. They played on
the Well Field, part of the Stillington Hall estate. At first, only the actual
square was fenced off , but when the land was bought by the Church
Commissioners, cattle were also kept clear of the outfield. For many years
there were two oak trees on the field and one on the boundary; they were
eventually felled when the estate was sold. Rolling of the cricket pitch was
done by pony, with its feet specially covered. The entrance to the field was
either through the estate gates from York Road or down South Back Lane from the
rear of the Hall coachyard.
pavilion was a white painted hut with a red roof. This became a store when a
York railway carriage arrived to be used as a new pavilion and tea room. The
remains of this carriage were removed from the rear of the Sports & Social Club
in June 1997.
Football had been played on the Novey, a field to the South of the Well field,
for many years. After the War, the land was needed for farming, and the pitch
then moved to Bob Gibson's field, on the West side of York Road.
In 1959 a Public
Meeting was held to consider purchasing the cricket field and a further six or
seven acres adjoining, from the Church Commissioners. An initial offer had been
turned down in 1936, but this time an offer of £300 was accepted. The Football
Club moved across, and the Stillington Playing Field was established, run by the
Football and Cricket Committees. A new road entrance was made from York Road
and a children's corner was established with slides, swings and a rocker.
In 1961 an extra
piece of land to the north was purchased for a new pavilion, Bar and Social
Hall. A wooden ex-RAF building was brought from the Redcar area. This provided
a Social Hall and two changing rooms, and was partly financed by a house to
house collection in the village. It was opened in 1962, by Cllr Jack Wood,
(later Lord Mayor of York) on what was to be the first annual village Sports and
Gala Day - these ran until 1980. The brick lounge and bar extensions were built
in the early 1970s; the social hall was later widened with a brick shell built
and two new changing rooms.
In 1974 the Park
land was bought by a Mr Backhouse of Scarborough, and he had ideas about
establishing a Golf Course. Finances proved otherwise, and the Farm and
remaining land were bought by John Sparrow and family. This created another
opportunity to expand the recreation facilities and an adjacent three acres of
land was bought by the Playing Field in 1974, followed by a narrow strip - some
six or seven yards of land - in 1976.
Three red shale
tennis courts were built in 1976-77; the bowling green was laid in 1978; a
hockey pitch was marked out in 1979 and two squash courts were built in 1983. A
new children's play area was created near the entrance in 1988 and for the
Millennium, the area is being extended and re-equipped. The new brick Bowls
Pavilion was built with the aid of Lottery funding and was officially opened in
Apart from paid
cleaning and bar staff, the entire sports complex and its various sections have
been planned, developed and are maintained on an entirely voluntary basis. This
includes the upkeep of pitches, bowling green, courts and their surroundings.