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Open Air Schools

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I have had some correspondence recently which stated that a relative of theirs attended an "open air school", i have established that these were special schools and often for people that had illnesses and were unable to attend regular schools. This person grew up in the Sheffield area.

Does anybody have any information about such schools and does anybody have any knowledge of the one that was in Sheffield.

Any information would be received with great interest. Thanks

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I have had some correspondence recently which stated that a relative of theirs attended an "open air school", i have established that these were special schools and often for people that had illnesses and were unable to attend regular schools. This person grew up in the Sheffield area.

Does anybody have any information about such schools and does anybody have any knowledge of the one that was in Sheffield.

Any information would be received with great interest. Thanks

there were a number of such schools across Sheffield, Chrislu.

There was one (which is still in existence) at Bents Green ("Bents Green Open Air School") there was another at Gloucester Street/ place and one IIRC at Woolley Wood.

There were also a number of "Special Schools" such as Highfield, East Hill, Kirk Hill, Oakes Park and Chantrey (OP and Chantrey shared the same grounds) and Mossbrook, Talbot and some others whose names escape me at the moment.

there were various reasons for attending "special" schools...

some of the children had learning disabilities, others had Physical disabilities or were of a "delicate" constitution, (IE they had conditions like asthma or TB and living in a heavily industrialised area needed the fresh air these country-based schools could give them access to)

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there were a number of such schools across Sheffield, Chrislu.

There was one (which is still in existence) at Bents Green ("Bents Green Open Air School") there was another at Gloucester Street/ place and one IIRC at Woolley Wood.

There were also a number of "Special Schools" such as Highfield, East Hill, Kirk Hill, Oakes Park and Chantrey (OP and Chantrey shared the same grounds) and Mossbrook, Talbot and some others whose names escape me at the moment.

there were various reasons for attending "special" schools...

some of the children had learning disabilities, others had Physical disabilities or were of a "delicate" constitution, (IE they had conditions like asthma or TB and living in a heavily industrialised area needed the fresh air these country-based schools could give them access to)

A little background from the "British Association Handbook 1910"

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there were a number of such schools across Sheffield, Chrislu.

There was one (which is still in existence) at Bents Green ("Bents Green Open Air School") there was another at Gloucester Street/ place and one IIRC at Woolley Wood.

There were also a number of "Special Schools" such as Highfield, East Hill, Kirk Hill, Oakes Park and Chantrey (OP and Chantrey shared the same grounds) and Mossbrook, Talbot and some others whose names escape me at the moment.

there were various reasons for attending "special" schools...

some of the children had learning disabilities, others had Physical disabilities or were of a "delicate" constitution, (IE they had conditions like asthma or TB and living in a heavily industrialised area needed the fresh air these country-based schools could give them access to)

The special school at Bents Green isn't the same as the open air school mentioned in Dunsbyowl's post though PT. The Open Air School at Whiteley Wood closed some years ago, though the buildings are still there, now converted to a house. It stands on Cottage Lane.

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The special school at Bents Green isn't the same as the open air school mentioned in Dunsbyowl's post though PT. The Open Air School at Whiteley Wood closed some years ago, though the buildings are still there, now converted to a house. It stands on Cottage Lane.

Sorry, I said Woolley Wood, didn't I, instead of Whiteley Wood.

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I have had some correspondence recently which stated that a relative of theirs attended an "open air school", i have established that these were special schools and often for people that had illnesses and were unable to attend regular schools. This person grew up in the Sheffield area.

Does anybody have any information about such schools and does anybody have any knowledge of the one that was in Sheffield.

Any information would be received with great interest. Thanks

Hi,

My mum, now 69 (opps! sorry mum!) went to the Bents Green Open Air School as it was called then. She was there for about 9 months and managed to escape once! Having managed to find her way home to Pitsmoor via the "Circular" bus (anyone with memories of that bus route) my nan then proceeded to give her a good clip round the ear and took her back on the next bus. The fare for both of them was a great expense to my nan and my mum repaid her by loosing her months sweet allowance.

My mum was there due to her constant Bronchitis and related illnesses, something that has affected her health her entire life. She says the lessons were short and very basic and blames her time up there on her failure to get through the eleven plus. We worked it out that it was around 1949 when she attended the school.

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"Sheffield was a pioneer of the open-air school in this country and the first was opened at Whiteley Woods, in what was the old village school in June 1909.

The children gathered at the tramcar station near the education offices in Leopold Street and travelled by special tram to Ecclesall terminus, where two wagonettes waited to take them uphill to the school.

In the evening the children walked back to the terminus and arrived back in the city centre at 6.45pm, or slightly earlier in the winter.

A major factor in the setting up of the school was the growth of the school medical service. The health of children in Sheffield was as bad as, if not worse than, the health of children in other major industrial cities.

The first pupils were found to be suffering mainly from malnutrition and anaemia, though some had TB. Feeding them was an important part of the school day and meals, planned with the Domestic Science School, cost just under 2s 6d (12.5p) per week per child, with plenty of soups and stews."

(From Images of England – Ecclesall by the Ecclesall Local History Society)

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I did quite a bit of transcribing school attendance registers for Sheffield Indexers and noticed that those children that went off to Open Air Schools often went for a period of months and then went back to their original school. Sometimes they would go back to the Open Air school again later presumably when their condition returned.

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Hello,

I'm a trainee journalist working in South Yorkshire and at the University of Sheffield. I'm currently working on a feature about open air schools in Sheffield. I have plenty of articles and factual information to base it upon but I am looking to speak to someone that attended or worked in one of these schools. If you could help me at all with this please message me.

Thanks.

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Hello,

I'm a trainee journalist working in South Yorkshire and at the University of Sheffield. I'm currently working on a feature about open air schools in Sheffield. I have plenty of articles and factual information to base it upon but I am looking to speak to someone that attended or worked in one of these schools. If you could help me at all with this please message me.

Thanks.

Bents Green open air school was based in a lovely old stone building with a more modern bit attached to it.

The annex had bedrooms for the children and they had house mothers who worked there.

Think the head was called Mr Varley

I think the old building is still there as is the caretaker’s lodge which must have been the old gate lodge.

At the back of the building was a cobbled yard with a mounting block for the horses.

The kitchen had a box on the wall with discs that moved to call the servants to the various rooms.

Servants quarters were up in the roof space.

Inside was some fantastic wooden panelling.

My memory of it dates to about 1966

On the site was greenhouses and gardens where the old walled garden for the house was.

I would be very interested to know what the old building was. Too grand for a coaching house... private house perhaps???

Found this link

Bents Green Lodge

Next to it was Maude Maxfield school for the deaf.

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Bents Green open air school was based in a lovely old stone building with a more modern bit attached to it.

The annex had bedrooms for the children and they had house mothers who worked there.

Think the head was called Mr Varley

I think the old building is still there as is the caretaker’s lodge which must have been the old gate lodge.

At the back of the building was a cobbled yard with a mounting block for the horses.

The kitchen had a box on the wall with discs that moved to call the servants to the various rooms.

Servants quarters were up in the roof space.

Inside was some fantastic wooden panelling.

My memory of it dates to about 1966

On the site was greenhouses and gardens where the old walled garden for the house was.

I would be very interested to know what the old building was. Too grand for a coaching house... private house perhaps???

Found this link

Bents Green Lodge

Next to it was Maude Maxfield school for the deaf.

Maud Maxfield School for the Deaf closed about 20(+) years ago, and became Foxwood school, where children with behavioural difficulties or emotional problems went. It then became a residential unit for Kosovan refugees, before being demolished and swish new housing was built on the site.

After Mr Varley came Mr Bailey as head of Bents Green, which was where my sister went in the 70's and early 80's. Mrs Bailey was a House mother there for the boarders (it had a day-school section and a residential section) Mt Bailey was a lovely bloke,very encouraging toward the pupils, very caring about the Kids in his charge.

My sister really came-on in her time at Bents Green, and even earned a progress prize one year, because she had worked so hard all year.

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Obviously also one in Weston Park or is that just just children having a class in the open air? ;-)

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I have had some correspondence recently which stated that a relative of theirs attended an "open air school", i have established that these were special schools and often for people that had illnesses and were unable to attend regular schools. This person grew up in the Sheffield area.

Does anybody have any information about such schools and does anybody have any knowledge of the one that was in Sheffield.

Any information would be received with great interest. Thanks

My brother Don Shipman attended Whiteley woods open air achool from about 1949 -1952. The headmistress was called Mrs Arborough. ? Another of the teachers wasMrs Moore.

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Bents Green open air school was based in a lovely old stone building with a more modern bit attached to it.

The annex had bedrooms for the children and they had house mothers who worked there.

Think the head was called Mr Varley

I think the old building is still there as is the caretaker’s lodge which must have been the old gate lodge.

At the back of the building was a cobbled yard with a mounting block for the horses.

The kitchen had a box on the wall with discs that moved to call the servants to the various rooms.

Servants quarters were up in the roof space.

Inside was some fantastic wooden panelling.

My memory of it dates to about 1966

On the site was greenhouses and gardens where the old walled garden for the house was.

I would be very interested to know what the old building was. Too grand for a coaching house... private house perhaps???

Found this link

Bents Green Lodge

Next to it was Maude Maxfield school for the deaf.

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hello i was scanning through internet and just put name of my old school in and came on this forum regarding open air schools? i went to whitely woods school from age 7 to leaving at 16 i am now 56 if you see a picture of the school from the road side to the left is a wooden hut this was class2 and there were other huts for class3-4-5 class 1 was in the main building to the left looking from the road this also doubled as the dining hall at dinner, the head mistress was a mrs robson i think

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hello i was scanning through internet and just put name of my old school in and came on this forum regarding open air schools? i went to whitely woods school from age 7 to leaving at 16 i am now 56 if you see a picture of the school from the road side to the left is a wooden hut this was class2 and there were other huts for class3-4-5 class 1 was in the main building to the left looking from the road this also doubled as the dining hall at dinner, the head mistress was a mrs robson i think

Hi and welcome to the forum! Your old school is still there, now a very 'des res'! The owners haverecently built an extension and made a lovely job of it, it blends with the original building perfectly. Thanks for adding your two penn'orth, it all helps to build the picture, and the sort of detail you describe is great at sparking off other people's memories.

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Hi and welcome to the forum! Your old school is still there, now a very 'des res'! The owners haverecently built an extension and made a lovely job of it, it blends with the original building perfectly. Thanks for adding your two penn'orth, it all helps to build the picture, and the sort of detail you describe is great at sparking off other people's memories.

thanks for reading it does bring back memories we used to catch bus to pond st then a special bus to school it used to be bad in winter as the bus had to turn around in the gateway just past school if it was really bad with snow then it stopped at bents green and we walked up cottage lane, by the way geoffry stringfellow went to this school while i was there brother of peter ,i am based in shirecliffe.

Edited by SteveHB
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hello i was scanning through internet and just put name of my old school in and came on this forum regarding open air schools? i went to whitely woods school from age 7 to leaving at 16 i am now 56 if you see a picture of the school from the road side to the left is a wooden hut this was class2 and there were other huts for class3-4-5 class 1 was in the main building to the left looking from the road this also doubled as the dining hall at dinner, the head mistress was a mrs robson i think

I attended whitely woods open air school in the 1960's. I had chronic asthma as a child and so I was sent to the school to help my breathing. It certainly did the trick, because within a couple of years my asthma began to clear.

I remember fondly having lessons outside and being forced to take a mid-day kip in a field, with cows mooing loudly in the field next door. Sadly, I can't recall any of the teachers. But this might be an indication that none of them were particularly bad!

Can anyone recall if meals were provided, or did we bring packed lunch?

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I attended Bents Green school from 1966 to leaving in 1974 and loved every minute of it. The head Mr Bailey was wonderful and likewise most of the teachers. I was chronic asthmatic and the 'open air' style certainly helped me. I had four bus trips a day from the other side of Sheff so they were long days but usually had time for toast and a milky coffee in Pond St bus station before the bus to school!, we also got milky coffee and bread and dripping upon arrival at school!. When I started the 'new part' was not yet built so the school was the old building plus temporary classrooms to the rear (terrapins). So I have seen the 'new' school built and now seen it knocked down (2009) but fortunately the old building, I think being listed, has survived. Anyone else out there who attended?.

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I attended Bents Green school from 1966 to leaving in 1974 and loved every minute of it. The head Mr Bailey was wonderful and likewise most of the teachers. I was chronic asthmatic and the 'open air' style certainly helped me. I had four bus trips a day from the other side of Sheff so they were long days but usually had time for toast and a milky coffee in Pond St bus station before the bus to school!, we also got milky coffee and bread and dripping upon arrival at school!. When I started the 'new part' was not yet built so the school was the old building plus temporary classrooms to the rear (terrapins). So I have seen the 'new' school built and now seen it knocked down (2009) but fortunately the old building, I think being listed, has survived. Anyone else out there who attended?.

More replies like this, from new members are most welcome. I'm not sure whether or not I've seen this thread before - such replies bring them back "up top" and give us all another chance.

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I attended Bents Green school from 1966 to leaving in 1974 and loved every minute of it. The head Mr Bailey was wonderful and likewise most of the teachers. I was chronic asthmatic and the 'open air' style certainly helped me. I had four bus trips a day from the other side of Sheff so they were long days but usually had time for toast and a milky coffee in Pond St bus station before the bus to school!, we also got milky coffee and bread and dripping upon arrival at school!. When I started the 'new part' was not yet built so the school was the old building plus temporary classrooms to the rear (terrapins). So I have seen the 'new' school built and now seen it knocked down (2009) but fortunately the old building, I think being listed, has survived. Anyone else out there who attended?.

It's a while since I viewed this thread, one or two points that have been mentioned; Mr 'Varley' I think would have been Mr 'Vardy', the deputy head, big guy, very strict but fair. I visited his bungalow at Norton many years ago where he had a fantastic garden. The old house at the school which still remains was, I believe a coaching inn in the 1800s. Although I haven't seen it yet the new school is now open so another reunion would be good. At the last reunion just prior to the demolition of the 1960s buildings we held a reunion at which we were invited to present the pupils with various awards, this certainly brought a tear to the eye some 40 odd years after being presented with similar awards etc ourselves on the same spot! Mr Bailey the headmaster was a wonderful man. some thirty odd years after leaving Bents Green School I bought a free house in the Peak District close to the Staffordshire moors, It was only just before I sold the pub some years later that I discovered he lived just four or five miles away and had recently died. If only I had known. His (somewhat eccentric!) wife and daughter Fiona can be frequently seen riding a horse and cart around their village. If anyone wants anymore information on BGS please contact me, the memory isn't what it was but I might be able to help.

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Front page article in this weeks Sheffield Telegraph where a Ben Abbot 92, remebers going to Bents Green Open Air School, reminded me of stories my Nanan told of attending Whiteley Woods Open Air School. I searched & found all this great info people have posted on here, so I'd like to add my titbit.

Nanan (Ethel Fearn was North then) - told of how she traveled there every day from the other side of the city & would lie down on the grass every day to get the sun & air. As an adult she’d always get as much sun as poss – a true sun worshiper!

She told of how in World War 1 she was in a show (Xmas maybe) put on for the War casualties who were being looked after at Nether Green School. Anyone have info / pics of these events?

The insinuation was that the casualties were beded there, maybe a makeshift temporary hospital - would that be true??

Does anyone have any photos of the Open Air School?

Thanks

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The special school at Bents Green isn't the same as the open air school mentioned in Dunsbyowl's post though PT. The Open Air School at Whiteley Wood closed some years ago, though the buildings are still there, now converted to a house. It stands on Cottage Lane.

Do you mean Ivy Cotttage Lane?

I'm trying to find a photo of the school on http://www.picturesheffield.com but am struggling. I found a picture of "Forge Houses" which are now called "Porter House Cottages, now Forge Cottages or Beech Dene" on Ivy Cottage Lane. Also Ivy Cottages, Bowser Bottom, next to Wire Mill Dam, looking towards Whiteley Wood Road. These are where my Nanan pointed out the School was, but she could well be mistaken as the country roads all look similar.

Any help welcome.

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Do you mean Ivy Cotttage Lane?

I'm trying to find a photo of the school on http://www.picturesheffield.com but am struggling. I found a picture of "Forge Houses" which are now called "Porter House Cottages, now Forge Cottages or Beech Dene" on Ivy Cottage Lane. Also Ivy Cottages, Bowser Bottom, next to Wire Mill Dam, looking towards Whiteley Wood Road. These are where my Nanan pointed out the School was, but she could well be mistaken as the country roads all look similar.

Any help welcome.

Hi nijafe, and welcome. No, Cottage Lane. From Ringinglow Road heading towards Ringinglow turn right down Common Lane, then left down Cottage Lane. Where the road goes sharp right there are buildings on the left, looking a bit like a chapel. That's the school, now a private house.

The school is circled

This is the school from Cottage Lane. There's a public footpath on the right as you look at the picture, and you can see the rear of the building from there, but not on Google! Ignore the building on the right, it's a recent addition.

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Front page article in this weeks Sheffield Telegraph where a Ben Abbot 92, remebers going to Bents Green Open Air School, reminded me of stories my Nanan told of attending Whiteley Woods Open Air School. I searched & found all this great info people have posted on here, so I'd like to add my titbit.

Nanan (Ethel Fearn was North then) - told of how she traveled there every day from the other side of the city & would lie down on the grass every day to get the sun & air. As an adult she’d always get as much sun as poss – a true sun worshiper!

She told of how in World War 1 she was in a show (Xmas maybe) put on for the War casualties who were being looked after at Nether Green School. Anyone have info / pics of these events?

The insinuation was that the casualties were beded there, maybe a makeshift temporary hospital - would that be true??

Does anyone have any photos of the Open Air School?

Thanks

Nether Green School was indeed a military hospital from 1914 to 1918. It had beds for 110 casualties. It was staffed by Territorial members of the RAMC. The pupils were moved to local halls etc for the duration. There's a book called "The growth of Ranmoor, Hangingwater and Nether Green" by Peter Warr which has 3 photos of soldiers at the hospital. ( It was called Ranmoor Council School at that time, it became Nether Green School in 1928).

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