Colliers Row School – Snippets from the School Log

1880. The keen interest shown by Mr. Richard Ainsworth of Moss Bank, in the education of the children of Halliwell, was likewise shown by his sons Peter and John Horrocks Ainsworth who conveyed a plot of land adjoining the highway from Horwich to Belmont on Smithills Dean in the township of Halliwell-for a site upon which to erect a building to be used as a school for the education of adults, or children, only of the labouring and manufacturing and poorer classes, united to the Incorporated National Society for the Education in the Principles of the Established Church. The control and management to be vested in the donors, their heirs and assignees and officiating minister for the time being of Smithills Chapel.

The average attendance in 1880 was 20 x 4, but on Monday, 6th January, bad weather reduced the school attendance to eight scholars. There were regular examinations by clergymen, who also examined the register. Again on Monday, 24th September, owing to wet weather only two children were present.

1884 On Wednesday, 16th January, 1884, Mrs.Ainsworth visited the school and gave the children a treat.

On Monday, 1st December, attendance at school was impossible, the road was closed with snow.

A cautionary note was made on Wednesday, 12th August, for ‘Grammar has not been well taught.’

1893 Here is a note that a child was ill with quinsy about a fortnight.

The weather was very cold, and the school was closed on 14th February, because severe frost had burst the pipes, so there was no fire.

Examinations were held, and the examiner was critical, ‘Standard 1 cannot do subtractions, poor result on unseen dictation and spelling. Neat sewing’

On 3rd June, Mr. J.H. Ainsworth came and gave a ‘drawing exam’ at 10.30 a.m. and left at 12.00. The children then had drill.

1896 In January, an important decision was taken. All slate work in classes 2,3,4,5 and 6 had to be stopped. Paper must be used.

In 1896 it was stated that the children are showing improvement in the Tonic Solfa.

On the 5th February, eighteen children went to the Bolton Museum. A lesson on ‘Good Manners’ was scheduled.

Also on the 13th February, 1896, there was a writing lesson entitled ‘Proportion of Letters’.

A report on Scarlet Fever was published in 1896.

1897 Colonel Ainsworth visited the school and was very pleased with the ‘Pole Drill’. Snow storms and drift occurred, and four children were absent with diptheria.

On the 17th January, an examiner wrote ‘The children need confidence, and want encouraging by more lessons of a ‘chatty nature’.

1898 It seems that a lesson was needed ‘Stone throwing and its results’.

On 24th March there was yet another examination, the weather was very cold so the children, 43 of them, were given a holiday in the afternoon.

On the 20th May, quote, ‘Examined children for Labour Certificate (Standard 111) to enable children of that age to work half time.’

There was a science lesson on ‘Coal’.

In June, Harry, aged seven years, was attending half time, and in July there was a very poor attendance, because it was hay-making time.

In August of that year, the report read, ‘Good progress has been made. The children are orderly and show increasing intelligence under instruction.’

1899 Geography – lessons discussed ‘The outlines of the world, British Empire and Colonies’. On the2nd October, however, the chimney was smoking very badly and the school had to be closed. New heating apparatus will be supplied shortly. Worse was to follow, on the 25th October, when the removal of certain ancient offices during school hours necessitated the absence of the children for sanitary reasons.

1901 Here is an interesting entry ‘Mrs Ellen Middlemas forms part of a school staff, chiefly exercising management of the use of needles, thimbles etc.’

On the 18th September is written ‘The children hardly seem aware they possess the faculty of observation.’ The teacher writes ‘I have striven to make prominent the Eye-way of observation.

On 3rd October comes this country note ‘Country children miss the training, which shop windows afford in towns.’ On November 10th is the entry ‘Drilled all under 10s for a ‘Writing Competition’, offered by Sunlight Soap and Co. Ltd.’ On the 1st December this delightful entry is made, ‘Self-reliance is a flower of life, the growth of which I am trying to promote.’ ‘How to exchange fear for courage? is a question to be answered.’

A problem facing the teacher at this time was to get the children to speak up in reading, followed by this comment ‘of course this is due to the natural shyness of country children.’

1900 Colonel Ainsworth visited the school, but on the 12th January only one child was present at 9.30 a.m. The temperature reached 36 degrees F. in the classroom. The chimney was also smoking badly, and the room was filled with dense smoke. The weekly attendance was 8. On the 9th March there was a holiday for the ‘Relief of Ladysmith’ in the Boer War.

8th May. No fire, wild and windy weather.

11th May The school is feeling the effects of the severe weather.

14th May School teacher ill (The teacher left in June).

7th September Fire lit without order. Heavy sulphurous smell.

20th November. I had to leave school today, ill through worry and strain.

Instructions to H.M. Inspector in 1900, included examining the Punishment Book.

In 1902 this entry was made, ‘I suppose the teacher here almost longs for the lessons of the streets in the children’s tuition.’

1902 One family with six children left the district, reducing the school numbers (and teachers pay). But in 1905 there were sixty scholars on the register. The saga of the fire continued for several months.

1908 August 2nd. Two boys were given two strokes on the hand for SWEARING

July 11th Two boys were given two strokes on the hand for CRUELTY to a frog.

April 22nd One six year old boy was given one slight stroke on the hand for STRIKING A GIRL.

1921 June 1st Two strokes on the hand were awarded for DISOBEDIENCE and for ROBBING BIRDS NESTS AFTER BEING WARNED.

One other entry merits at least a wry smile, ‘FOR BAD LANGUAGE’ paddled on the pants. Other children were treated according to their disobedience

1906/7 23th January The boiler in the cellar is leaking.

31st January. School again full of smoke when I arrived and had the fire carried out. Heavy snowfall.

25th February. Thirty one of the children are now depositors in the Post Office Savings Bank.

24th July. One small boy was re-admitted -‘I am afraid it will not be for long, as Blackburn Road is too far for a little fellow of five.’

2nd December. The damper in the heating apparatus has broken. One child is suffering from rheumatic fever.

1908. 3rd February Owing to gales, school has been full of smoke. Had to put out the fire owing to down draught.

10th February. During the night another hole has burst on the inside of the boiler.

17th March, (one month later) Fred Wilkinson, the Director of Education, ordered the school to be closed to get a new boiler installed. The temperature was 45° F. in school.

23rd March Boiler repaired, the school is comfortably heated. The temperature near the door is 53° F.


1909 Dr. Gould, Mr. Southern and a sanitary inspector called.

29th April Questions on the catechism were answered, showing careful and reverent teaching.

1910. 1st July Snow drifts prevented farmers’ children from attending school.

4th July The Popplewell Charity asked for the names of ten poor children. Only one family was eligible.

3rd August .Mr.Naylor, the manager of Doffocker cotton mill, has obtained permission from his firm to show the children through the mill, and explain the process of cotton manufacture. Twenty five children went.

9th September Colonel Ainsworth called and promised a plot of land for a garden.

1911 The Colonel paid for the garden to be rough dug. Parents of the children provided plants. The Education office presented pictures of King George and Queen Mary.

31st May Two flags were received from the Education Office.

22nd June The children from standard I – VII went to Church Road Council School to attend a mass rehearsal of Coronation Music.

12th October The Caretaker should be paid six shillings per week.

1912 Broken window, done by a boy on Sunday afternoon.

1913 24th September Twenty one fruit trees and some raspberry canes were given for the school garden, and a window frame from Barrow Bridge Mills for use in the school garden was given.

1914. 24th May. Empire Day. Lesson on the Empire. Children salute the flag

1915 26th January. Mrs Ainsworth presented six rose trees to the garden.

23rd March, Infants class 29degrees F. The highest number of children ever in school. Approximately 64 on the roll.

8th June. The Scripture exam was held, the general result was excellent, ‘The manner in which children of 6, 7 and 8 years attempted the writing out of Article XVIII was a special pleasure, and pleasant surprise, and calls for special attention.

1st October. The sum of 17s 4d has been paid to the Prince of Wales National Relief Fund and contributions of 8/8d per month will be paid until the end of the WAR.

The chimney was still troublesome-(lots of rain, weather conditions in the trenches in the first world war)

The fire was constantly ‘just out’, and the children’s dinners sent to Mrs Clayton to be heated.

12th April The chimney has been raised higher and a chimney pot and cap added.

13th April The cap on the chimney faces north and west instead of due north as intended.

23rd May Received – ROLL OF HONOUR from the Education Office with the names of ‘Old Boys of the School now serving with H.M. Forces.’

27th June. School closed for workers – Operatives holiday week. Rev. P. Stott visited the school.

29th September. The chimney was smoking again. Workmen came to replace the cowl, and put the old cowl back again. An elbow cowl is required.

30th September NO FIRE- but a warm high wind from the south is blowing.

8th October No trouble with the fire, which has been lit every day for a week.

22nd November No new desks allowed because of the war requisitions.

1916 8th May Slates to be used, owing to a scarcity of paper.

24th May. Lessons to the Juniors on ‘The Union Jack’. Lessons to the Seniors on ‘What the Empire

means to us’. Children sung patriotic songs and saluted the flag.

1917 24th May Recitation ‘Children of the Empire.’

29th May Colonel Ainsworth’s workmen repaired the floor and window.

3rd June Parcels for the Prisoners of War meeting (on August 9th). Later on August 9th £1.18.0d was collected for prisoners of war.

7th June. One girl, aged twelve years, has passed the Labour examination and is certified ‘full time’ and is written off

19th December The children had a tea party, after school, the cost was chiefly met by the children.

1918 7th February I took the children to see ‘THE TANK’ this morning, a weapon to end the war.

1st March I have sent twelve eggs for the National Egg Collection, (hopefully weekly)

12th November School closed for the day in recognition of the signing of the ARMISTICE WITH GERMANY.

1919. 14th July Attended Church Road School for the practice of ‘Peace Songs’.

19th July The children took part in the Scholars demonstration in Queens Park. They went down in lorries kindly provided by Colonel Ainsworth.

11th November. The anniversary of Armistice Day was observed. The King’s (George V) message was read to the children, the meaning of the day explained to them, and all were standing in reverent silence for two minutes at 11 O’clock.

1920. 15th March Attendance is very low owing to the snow. Only 26 children present.

1922 20th March Two girls went to Mawdesley Street Technical School for the scholarship examination.

1923 The last entry to note is that the weather was again unfavourable and the temperature was only 40°F, and nothing has been done during the past week to remedy the defect in the boiler.

1925 27th April Mrs Ainsworth died. The children from classes I and II attended her funeral at Smithills Chapel

27th November A short service was held for the death of the late Majesty, Queen Alexandra.

•1926 23rd June Colonel Ainsworth died

The Revd.Higginson displayed a keen interest in the teaching of religious studies in School in the 1950’s. He devoted time to encourage the subject with the schools in Halliwell area, and in the wider regions in Bolton. He began proposals for a new Primary School which Revd. Hacking continued. The former Smithills Deane School on Old Colliers Row which was a Church of England school connected to St. Peter’s closed during this period. Between the years 1955 and 1957 new books on education of Religious Studies in schools were published and evaluated, and it was concluded that the excellent standard set by the former Jubilee School has been maintained and surpassed with merit.

The Revd. Hacking was involved with the new Smithills Dean School, opened as a Church of England primary school in 1962, and was covered by the Manchester Diocesan Barchester Scheme.

The school finally closed in July 1971. Again the weather was unfavourable, and packages of books were saturated with the rain, so they were unpacked, dried, then re-packed and taken to the new school,- Smithills Dean Church of England Primary School, Smithills Dean Road, Bolton.

This school was finally dedicated and opened on Saturday, 20th January, 1973.

Plans for the future include the building of two more classrooms, which were included in the original plans for the present school.