Oldest school in Colne marks 175th anniversary

Christ Church Primary School in Colne is celebrating its 175th anniversary by dressing up in Victorian clothing.  L-R Samin Halpawattage, Isabella Grogan, Billy Bennett, Alisha Spencer, Joe Marsden and Joss Brett.
Christ Church Primary School in Colne is celebrating its 175th anniversary by dressing up in Victorian clothing. L-R Samin Halpawattage, Isabella Grogan, Billy Bennett, Alisha Spencer, Joe Marsden and Joss Brett.

Children and staff at the oldest school in Colne took a step back in time this week to mark its 175th anniversary.

A Victorian school master transported pupils at Christ Church CE Primary School in Keighley Road back to 1841 on Wednesday as each experienced a Victorian style lesson including the blackboard, white chalk and the dreaded cane.

Christ Church Primary School in Colne is celebrating its 175th anniversary by dressing up in Victorian clothing.  Victorian headmaster John Meredith from the Heritage Learning Team inspects the pupils hands.

Christ Church Primary School in Colne is celebrating its 175th anniversary by dressing up in Victorian clothing. Victorian headmaster John Meredith from the Heritage Learning Team inspects the pupils hands.

Adding to the authenticity of the occasion, children were dressed in period clothing; boys in shirts, waistcoats and flat caps and the girls in pinafore dresses, aprons, shawls and mop caps.

History and Year 3 teacher Stephanie Tilsley, who has been leading the celebration project, said: “It was an absolutely brilliant day and one to remember.

“We had John Meredith come into school from the Lancashire Heritage Learning Team and he was excellent. We did reading, writing and arithmetic, and then in the afternoon we did drills and then played Victorian games such as skipping with a long rope, hop-scotch and marbles.

“Staff were a lot stricter and we had tables in the classrooms in long rows. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the day.”

Christ Church Primary School in Colne is celebrating its 175th anniversary by dressing up in Victorian clothing.  Pictured are teacher Stephanie Tilsley, headteacher Andrew Peers, mayor of Pendle Nawaz Ahmed, and David Tilsley from Lancashire Archives with pupils Yasmine Mirfield, Morgan Ainsworth, Alice Tilsley and Joshua Wright.

Christ Church Primary School in Colne is celebrating its 175th anniversary by dressing up in Victorian clothing. Pictured are teacher Stephanie Tilsley, headteacher Andrew Peers, mayor of Pendle Nawaz Ahmed, and David Tilsley from Lancashire Archives with pupils Yasmine Mirfield, Morgan Ainsworth, Alice Tilsley and Joshua Wright.

Today at 2pm, the milestone is to be marked in church with a special Thanksgiving service which will be led by the Bishop of Burnley the Rt Rev. Philip North, and parents, grandparents and ex-pupils are all welcome along.

The next part of the celebrations are for children to create a book of memories and a time capsule of items from 2016 which will be stored at the Lancashire Archives.

The school was opened by William Hodgson, formerly Patrick Brontë’s curate in Haworth, who came to Colne to become the vicar of Christ Church. One day he decided that the poor children of Colne needed an education. It opened initially one day a week in 1841 due to a lack of budget, but that changed in 1844 with the school’s first full-time teacher Mr Jackson.