By Stanley Merridew
The records for the former Eccup National School are held at Leeds Archives at Morley and include logbooks 1876-1942, admission registers 1892- 1942, visitors book 1904-1937, punishment book 1928-1941, attendance registers 1936-1942.
Examination of the logbooks suggest the number of pupils was rarely higher than thirty. Its decline was probably due to the sale of land and consequently the reduction of work and housing for farm labourers, by both the Harewood and Arthington estates to Leeds City Council and Leeds Waterworks Company prior to 1900, which led to the building of Eccup Reservoir.
This passage from the logbook outlines the problem:
28 Jan 1891 “The last twelve months have played havoc with this school, during this time the school has been decimated several times. Here is a list of scholars who have left since the last inspection:”:
Joseph Merrett, A M Wright Robert Kettlewell Percy Todd Harry Dalby
Lo Wright Fred Dalby Elizabeth Liversedge Len Scott Jas Coates Thomas Poulter
The school closed in 1942 and was demolished along with the Methodist Chapel in the 1950s. The school was situated on Village Road and the Methodist Chapel was setback from the road close to the New Inn.
It is ironic that despite its close proximity to the reservoir, I am told by a former resident, the villagers relied on springs for their fresh water supply until post World War Two and the 1950s for mains sewerage.