Although the school had only been at the Ring Road location since 1931, it's roots went back to the school founded in 1854 by The Leeds Mechanics' Institution. Have a look at Maggie Cobbett's wonderfully readable story of Lawnswood High School on the History Of The School page.
The main celebrations began on Thursday 22nd July with a Thanksgiving Service in Leeds Parish Church. That evening, a celebration dinner took place in the school. The following day (Friday 23rd) an Open Day was held, swiftly followed by an Old Girls’ reunion in the evening. On Saturday 24th, Leeds Town Hall was the venue for the Centenary Speech Day in the afternoon, and the Centenary Concert in the evening. The full story can be read in the Centenary ‘Review of Events’ brochure (see below).
Saturday 24th July 1954 saw the first ever performance of our school song, ‘Shadowy The Throng’, written for the Centenary by Mrs. Dove and Miss Clayton. See the words and hear a performance on ‘The School Song’ page.
There was another composition for the Centenary. This was a piece called “Music” by Edwin Smith, father of Susan Smith, a pupil at the time. Mr. Smith dedicated his work to Miss Clayton and the choir. It was first performed in Leeds Town Hall, along with the school song and other works during the Centenary celebrations.
Amazingly, some audio recording survives of the Centenary Concert on the evening of the 24th July 1954. The concert was recorded on Miss Clayton’s home tape recorder, with a mic placed on or near the stage. The concert filled four tapes, but only parts two and three survive. The two surviving tapes cover the part of the concert from the three ‘SOLOS by Elsie Suddaby’, up to and including the senior choir’s rendition of ‘Music’, the piece which was composed for the celebrations by Edwin Smith. See the concert programme (below) for more details. The quality is very poor — virtually unlistenable — but if anyone would like a copy please get in touch.
During 1954, some of the school's musical output was recorded by the BBC for the “Children Singing” series. It’s fanciful to think that anyone may have a recording from these programmes, but if you have, or if you have any memories or anecdotes - please get in touch. Click on email@example.com
Thanks to Irene Furze, the programmes for both the Thanksgiving Service and the Centenary Concert are available. Click on the links below.
Later in the year (October the 19th to be exact) a more ‘typical’ Speech Day and Prize Giving took place in the school. I’m grateful to Margaret Yewdall for supplying the programme. Click here to see it.
Thanks to Catherine MacDonald, we also have the 1954 booklet reviewing the Centenary events in words and pictures. This is a sixteen-page pamphlet on four web pages covering the three days of celebrations in July 1954. It’s quite amazing how much the school packed into those three days! On the final page of the booklet you’ll see that the school had a ‘fair’ in November 1953. During the course of three-and-a-half hours, they took £452.10s.5d (£452.52p). In today’s money, that’s a staggering £7,386.50!
At the time of the Centenary, a souvenir brochure was produced. It tells the history of Lawnswood High School. A few of these have survived down the years; one is reproduced here. I'm very grateful to Elizabeth Stephenson and Grete Wheeler, both of whom loaned their treasured copies.
There are fifty-six brochure pages on fourteen web pages. They make absolutely fascinating reading and should download quite quickly.
Thanks to Grete Wheeler and an anonymous but excellent photographer, there is a fantastic black-and-white photo of the Centenary Speech Day in Leeds Town Hall. Click here to see it.
If you have any memories of the Centenary celebrations, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
“I was also in the Centenary Concert and remember having to write the School Song in my rough book when it had only just been composed, and learn it in singing lessons.” Heather Newman ’53-’60
“I remember singing “Oh swallow, swallow flying, flying south” in the choir for that [Centenary] broadcast. I remember well Miss Clayton insisting that our pronunciation being “Oh swallooo, swallooo flying, flying south” for one particular rendition of a song I’ve never heard since!” Grete Wheeler ’53-’58
“…… “Oh swallow, swallow flying flying south …”; it has particularly lovely words and a haunting melody which has often been in my head, especially on summer evenings when the swallows are wheeling. I clearly remember singing it at a speech day, and also at a Radio broadcast we made at the former BBC Studio - all of us pristine in our school uniform - which used to be opposite the University and adjacent to what was then the City High School (royal blue caps and blazers). School TV broadcasts were a thing of the future, and unheard-of, then.” Heather Dufaur ’53-’60
“… … my two sisters Sylvia (8 years older) and Margaret (4 years older). At the centenary in the town hall, Margaret pretended to faint to get out! Her friend Jean Spence took her out.” Barbara Catton ’57-’62
“I don't suppose anyone out there has any recordings of the choir ...” Gilly Marshall ’55-’62
||1954 Staff, Prefects, and the Thanksgiving Service|
||The Centenary Dinner and Open Day|
||Old Girls Reunion and Speech Day|
||Centenary Concert and Fair|
||with a photo of the entrance to LHS (1954)|
||Early Days, 1854-1894, with the School Chronology|
||Early Days (continued), and a photo of the Upper Division (1883)|
||Early Days (continued), and a photo of the Albert Hall|
Middle Years, 1894-1931, with photos of Miss Garbutt, |
and the School and Miss Garbutt (1901)
Middle Years (continued), and a photo of Miss Garbutt |
and older girls (1903)
Middle Years (continued), school photos (1911-1913) |
and the Willow Terrace Road building
||The Middle Years (continued) with school photos (1912-1914)|
Middle Years (continued), with photos of staff, Upper Sixth, |
and Speech Day entertainments (1914-1916)
Times, 1931-1954, with Willow Terrace Road staff, |
and Fifth and Sixth Form photos
Times (continued), with photos of the new LHS |
and the Royal Opening
||Modern Times (continued), with a photo of Miss Willey|
Times (continued), and photos of Dr. James Graham, |
Miss Garbutt, William Roscoe and Miss H. E. Stowell
Times (continued), and photos of the Choir (1954) |
and Miss Holden
1954 — 10 newspaper articles regarding the Centenary Celebrations
Loaned by Kathleen Wood from the collection of Miss Agnes Clayton.