Sunday, 23 April 2017

No more school at Langworthy Road ......... and in its place a military hospital

Now if you are seven years old and going to school on Langworthy Road in Salford the only bright bit of news as the Great War rolls into its second year might be that your school was to become a military hospital.

In the March of that year the authorities identified five schools which they thought might be suitable “for new hospital accommodation required by the military authorities.”*

The five were Secondary School for Boys, Leaf Square, Grecian Street Girls and Infants Schools, Halton Bank School, Langworthy Road School and Tootal Road School, with the option to substitute “Leicester Road School for one of the others.”

The attraction of the five/six were that they were all modern school.
In the case of Langworthy it had only been opened five years earlier in 1915 and had a total intake of 376 boys, 376 girls and 442 infants.

By all accounts it would have passed an Ofsted visit with flying colours.  The average attendance was nearly 100% and it was judged good by a report in 1905.

All of which just left the difficult question of what to do with 1,194 students.

The authorities had not fully worked out the answer to that question in the March of 1915 but considered that “There a number of Sunday Schools and halls in Pendleton and Broughton districts which may be utilised and suggestion has also been made that schools in the neighbourhood of the five selected schools should have two courses a day – one from 8 am. To 1pm. and the other from 1pm.to 5 pm., - one for each school."

This half day schooling was also adopted by Manchester where by 1915 the number of schools taken over amounted to eight. The first was the Central High School for Boys and Girls on Whitworth Street which had a thousand students and became the headquarters of the 2nd Western General Hospital.

The following year another seven schools were taken over.

These were Alfred Street in Harpurhey, Alma Park in Levenshulme, Grange Street in Bradford, Lilly Lane in Moston, Ducie Avenue, Moseley Road and Heald Place which amounted to the loss of 3897 places.**

It had resulted in a degree of ad hoc provision for some at least. In the February of 1916 the Manchester Museum reported that it was providing effective instruction for 900 to a 1,000 children per week drawn from the higher standards of the elementary schools.***

A similar scheme was underway at the City Art Gallery, the Whitworth Institute, and “kindred institutes in the city” and had proved so popular that children not only travelled some distance to attend but even brought their parents.

And that pretty much is that.

Location Salford

Picture; Langworthy Road Military Hospital, circa 1915-17 from the collection of David Harrop

*The New Hospitals, Five Salford Schools to be used, Manchester Guardian, March 17 1915

** 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester, 1914-1919, Margaret Elwin Sparshot

*** War Service in the Museums, Teaching the Half Timers, Manchester Guardian, February 21, 1916

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