The old St Andrews School building at the bottom of West Lane closed in 1992 at the end of the Easter term.
157 years previously on Good Friday 1835 it opened as the National School. Previous to this Keighley National Schools met in hired rooms in Damside but when this became unsuitable moves were made to provide:
“A handsome and substantial building which will be a credit and convenience to the town for many generations.”
A site was found and apart from grants from the Treasury and the National Society the whole cost was raised by subscription from Keighley’s church people.
The foundation stone was laid on Whit Monday 1834 by the Rector of Keighley Mr Dury, and by the following April the building was completed and opened on Good Friday at six o’clock in the morning with a prayer meeting. The cost of the building and fixtures was £1,750. The managers considered that their new school was,
“Probably equal in appearance to any in Yorkshire.”
The mill owning Marriner family were prominent in the founding and development of the school, members of the family serving as mangers for many years.
In 1892 a new extension of class rooms were added and alterations made to other rooms to accommodate a total of 1,200 scholars at a cost of £2,100 and these were opened in grand style with a whole day of entertainments by the scholars. The Infants gave dances and drill and the Juniors and Seniors gave songs and rousing recitations such as
‘Home Sweet Home’
‘The Bully’s Fate’.
During the 1934 centenary celebrations another appeal was launched for improvements to the outside yard. As early as 1961 it was moved to build a new school in the area. It was around this time that the then Headmaster, Mr Geoffrey Pollard changed the School’s name to St Andrews.
The school was closed in 1992 and a new school costing £1.8 million was built on Mount Street further up West Lane. The old building was put up for sale at £200,000 and later demolished. A new Health Centre now stands on the site.
(c) David Kirkley