Memories of old village school

Scammonden School class photo, 1970
Scammonden School class photo, 1970

This photo of the last class at Scammonden School (above) before it closed in 1970 was sent to us by Joan Busfield, the last head teacher.

The school (left), at Deanhead, was built in 1824 and rebuilt in 1927 after a fire the year before. It was extended in the 1960s but then came the M62 motorway, which also created the Scammonden reservoir, and geologists feared that the school could slip down the hillside.

Scammonden School

Scammonden School

Mrs Busfield, 89, who now lives in Retford, Nottinghamshire, writes: “I was the last head teacher before the school was closed because it might have slid into the dam!

“The school is still there and has been turned into a lovely house.”

Mrs Busfield trained at St Catherine’s College, Liverpool, during the 1940s and then taught in Manchester, Preston and Nottingham before coming to Halifax. She taught at the old Akroyd Place School, near North Bridge, for five years and was then deputy head at Siddal Junior before returning to Akroyd Place as headmistress.

It was from there that she moved to Scammonden and stayed until it closed. She became head at Norland in 1971, retiring in 1983.

Her husband was Fred Busfield, well-known former director of social services in Halifax, and the couple lived in Mytholmroyd. They had two children, Judith Smith, who lives in Halifax, and Sarah Hardy, who lives near Retford.

In 1970 Scammonden School had just 17 children in two classes covering all the year groups. Often there were several children from a single family.

Pictured from the left are Craig Hoyle, Joan Busfield, Peter Hoyle, Angela Stevenson, Tracey Stannard, Carol Stannard, Tracey Hoyle, Katherine Bryant, Vivian Fairbank, Janet Stannard, Andrew Stevenson, Beverley Stevenson,Keith Bentham, Peter Bentham, Paul Pogson, Malcolm Bryant,Ruth Whiteley,teacher Janet Davis and Robert Bottomley.

David Hanson