GRAMMAR SCHOOL IN SHEFFIELD
education in Sheffield actually dates back some 500 years or more. It is
noted that the Canons of Beauchief Abbey engaged a teacher in 1490 to instruct
boys and novices in grammar and singing. One of the earliest of Sheffield's
schools is mentioned in the books of the Church Burgesses, when in 1564,
a Mr Yonge obtained a licence to keep a school. In 1604, Thomas Smith (who
was probably born in Sheffield) of Crowland in Lincolnshire, left the sum
of £30 per year for running a Free Grammar School. The founding of
the school was permitted by King James I and he gave instructions that
the school should be called the King James Grammar School.
1648, Sheffield Castle was demolished (see Sheffield history section) and
some of the stone was used to build a new grammar school in Townhead Street
and this became known as the Royal Sheffield Grammar School. It remained
in use until 1825, when a new school was built in St George's Square. Many
other schools were built in Sheffield during this period and some were
very highly regarded, having taught some of the leading citizens of the
first for Sheffield occurred after the passing of the Education Act of
1870. The first school to be built in England under the Act was Newhall
School at Attercliffe in 1873. In the same year, Broomhall School was opened,
quickly followed by Netherthorpe and Philadelphia.
1874 a plan was produced by the Sheffield architects, Innocent and Brown,
for the laying out of Leopold Street and the realignment of Church Street
and Bow Street (now West Street). In 1876 the area between Orchard Lane,
West Street, Orchard Street and Balm Green was covered by a huddle of old
houses in two streets now gone (Smith Street and
Sands Paviours). This site was bought by the Sheffield School Board
(SSB) for building the Central Schools and offices for themselves. At this
time, Mark Firth (of steel fame) was interested in founding an Adult Education
College which he intended should become a University College, so the Board
sold him part of the site at the corner of West Street. The new building,
called the Firth College after it's benefactor, was opened by Prince Leopold
(hence Leopold Street) in 1879.
the following year, 1880, the Central Schools were opened by Earl Spencer.
They consisted of an infant's school, a junior school, a separate school
for standards V and VI and a Higher School which was to give secondary
education without actually saying so as the Board did not then have full
legal powers. They were hoping to provide candidates of University standard
for Firth College. The Higher School is claimed to have been the first
secondary school to be opened by a school board in England.
the various opening ceremonies, it was praised as an amazing and advanced
school and was an early example of non-discrimination against women in
education. Both boys and girls were admitted, by examination, from all
the elementary schools administered by the Board.
soon as Firth College was finished, the then Medical School made plans
to leave Surrey Street and build nearby. The school was finished and occupied
in 1887. In 1897 Firth College and it's branch, the Technical College in
St George's Square were combined with the Medical School to form the University
College of Sheffield. In 1905, the College obtained it's full University
Charter and moved to new premises in Weston Park. The Central School then
expanded into the newly vacated buildings.
J B Mitchell-Withers won an architectural competition for additions to
the Central School. These were opened in 1895 by the Secretary for Education,
Sir George Kokowith.
the Free Writing School in School Croft, used by the Pupil Teacher Centre
for day classes, was bought by the Council for demolition as part of a
slum clearance and road widening scheme. This meant that a new home for
the Centre was needed and the Board decided to build on the vacant plot
at the corner of Orchard Lane and Holly Street. The building was to accommodate
all pupil teachers from Board and Voluntary Schools, together with preparatory
classes made up of candidates for pupil-teachership. The new building was
opened in 1899 by the Duke of Devonshire.
extensions and additions were made after the turn of the century, but the
last significant building was the Education Enquiry Office fronting West
Street. This building was fitted with an early form of air conditioning.
The incoming air was passed through canvas sheets constantly sprayed with
water jets, heated and taken up ducts inside pilasters. Alternate pilasters
were used as exhaust ducts with an extract fan on the roof.
1892, the various schools began to acquire identities becoming Bow Street
Elementary School, the Central Higher Schools and the Pupil Teacher Centre.
In 1902 when the new Education Committee of the City Council had full powers
to provide secondary education, the Higher School was divided into two,
the boys remaining in the old building and it's extensions while the girls
moved into the Firth College building. This situation continued until 1933
when both schools moved to new premises at High Storrs.
Pupil Teacher Centre then transferred to the vacant premises in Orchard
Lane. Discussions were held during 1936 with a view to changing the Centre
to a secondary school and permission was granted for the change in February
1937. Thus was born the City Secondary School, but it didn't keep this
name for long. In 1940 the Secondary Education Sub Committee recommended
the Secondary Schools provided and maintained by the Education Committee
be named "Grammar" Schools instead of "Secondary" Schools, as recommended
in the Spens Report on Secondary Education."
so it was that the Sheffield City Grammar School came into being.