The old school house at Newby West was the earliest school in the parish, I have seen references to it being there in 1833. In Whellens history of Cumberland,1860 he mentions that a school was at Newby for both sexes. Sadly not much exists about this early school, but in the 1870's the school was recorded as having 50 pupils.The school building was 20feet by 30feet and
it was estimated that 100 pupils could be accomodated!
At one time Holme Head was part of Cummersdale parish and the British school at Holme Head accomodated a few children from Cummersdale parish. The school was owned by Fergusons who of course owned the factory at Holme Head. Because the school was privately owned none of the school logs seem to have survived. This school closed in 1884 when Morley Street school was built.
305 is the site of the schoolhouse
A school also existed at the print works from about 1846, but this was the children that worked in the factory. The children had to be at least 8 years old to work in the factory, they worked 9 hours a day and 2 hours at school. Miss Mary Ann Nichol was the schoolmistress who recieved 6 shillings a week salary which was paid by the printers.
The cotton mill school was started in the early 1860's and continued until 1914. This school still continued even after the new Board school opened in 1884 in High Cummersdale.
The Cotton mill school building centre left with pointed roof.
Mr Morrison was the Headmaster in 1861, but sadly he drowned in the river Caldew in 1866.
The school was mainly part timers, some worked in the mill and some were from agricultural families and when needed on the land school became second choice. Even after the school opened in High Cummersdale in 1884, and the cotton mill ceased production and closed, the school continued until about 1914. The school building was used as a Joiners shop for Stead McAlpin for many years before it was demolished in 1993.
In 1881 the school board were looking for a site for the proposed new school at High Cummersdale village. The land they favoured belonged to Colonel Sowerby Esquire, of Putteridge Park, Hertfordshire, however this didn't find favour and Colonel Sowerby's Agent wrote back to the Board suggesting they use the piece of waste land at the entrance to the village, (the common).
This suggestion was put forward to the villagers at meeting, and one objector at the meeting said if the school was built on the common he would excert his common right to dig clay from below the foundations! Whether this effected the Boards decision is not known.
The first Headmaster of the proposed new school was Mr Tomas Ridley, he was appointed in 1882 but because the newschool wasn't built the cotton mill school was used as a Board School. In 1924 Mr Tom Ridley retired after 42 years' service at the school and he was succeeded by Mr Tom Amos. In his 25 years service he was to experience the 1930's depression. a diphtheria epidemic, the influx of children from the Land Settlement and the evacuee children from the North East.