History of Hunmanby Hall


You can well imagine that groups of young girls together did make noises by talking, singing and even calling out through the hours of daylight. Bedrooms, corridors, passages all echoed to the girls voices. Outdoors were happy sounds of laughter in free time and yet more voices of staff instructing pupils in their games and exercises. Silence reigned in morning prayers and when Grace was said before meals. Musical sounds were obvious in the Assembly Hall, musical cubicles – later the organ and violins joining the chorus. The Manor Music Competitions had choirs practising – Junior, Middle Schools and Seniors for the appropriate trophies. Pupils practices for the examinations of the Royal School of Music in London. The school choir won the Challenge trophy at the Whitby Musical Festival for several years. We did have some opposition in the vibrant sounds of the wild life in the school grounds – namely rooks on Castle Hill, seagulls from the coast and bats flying all year round.


The safety of the pupils and staff was of course the Headmistress’s responsibility. The regular grounds men at the school were called on duty at such times. All P.E. staff were in charge of the arrangements, should an emergency occur. There were normally four P.E. staff at the school. Names, lists of girls in dormitories and classrooms hung with pencil attached in both these places. The class teacher calling names out at the drill. The fire drill practices were very regular. Fortunately - during my time at the school, there were only practices. The alarm was given by both electric and hand bell - with whistles also by the grounds men. Each of us had ’Fire Stations’ to get to as quickly as possible. There were in the west drive and tennis courts. Both for daytime and night time practices - SILENCE had to be kept. We stayed in form rows in silence until told we could return to our rooms/places of teaching etc.


As growing children, several hurdles had to be overcome. Home-sickness - each term of half term after bidding farewell to parents and friends was a regular problem. Remedial attention was always on hand - each morning and evening there were ‘surgeries’ with the nurse in charge available to hand out tablets, personally named for a pupil, to temperature taking. In a serious case when the pupil was ill they were sent to the school Sanatorium and put to bed for the school doctor to see and advise. In our day horrible infectious diseases were suffered. Mumps, measles, rubella and scarlet fever. You could be certain in the 20-40’s these four diseases would come to Hunmanby and leave dozens of girls in the Sanatorium for weeks and weeks afterwards with side effects. Thankfully we had an active group of nurses and visiting assistants - the doctor from Hunmanby Village and later the Head Medical from Lloyds Hospital in Bridlington looking after us. You can imagine the great task and responsibility on the medical staff for 250 girls.

There were accidents and some crippled children on the playing fields, falls with sprained ankles, broken arms and also falls when riding. Personally I experienced my arm in a sling for 6 weeks following trapping my finger in a swing door when going to my music lesson - the top of my finger being cut off. Every morning in the gym (not weekends) there were ‘Remedials - girls were sent to attend for exercises for weak joints, back problems and I had to go and learn to use my left hand to write whilst my arm was in a sling. Several pupils were sent to our school suffering from breathing difficulties because it is know East Riding is so pure and good for those with respiratory problems.

When in 1945 on return from evacuation I was a member of Staff (a trained physiotherapist) I was allocated to take the remedial classes for the girls! Food played a great part in our growing up and away from home cooking by our mothers. The domestic matron in charge of staff residents and visitors made sure that at each meal, our milk, bread and fresh fruit were of the highest quality and plentiful. It really was excellent and so, so tasty. 


In July, 1940, the Governors had to make arrangements for evacuation. For the Senior School, Wheatley Lawn, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, with four neighbouring houses, was taken. Ben Rhydding, lying as it does in the heart of the Yorkshire Moors, is easily accessible and situated in one of the most beautiful of the Yorkshire Dales. Both Wheatley Lawn and the other houses are charmingly placed and excellently equipped. For the Middle and Junior School, Armathwaite Hall and Bassen Fell, Bassenthwaite near Keswick, were secured. Theses premises have proved most suitable for our purposes.

A well-wooded deer park of over a hundred acres in extent adjoins Armathwaite Hall, which has in recent years been one for the most popular Lake District Hotels. As the two centres are no great distance apart, Miss Hargreaves is able to keep personal control of both, supported by a staff which has been associated for many years with Hunmanby Hall. At Ben Rhydding the girls attended the Methodist Church on Sunday morning and evening. Bible classes are conducted by the Rev. W.H. Beales, MA. At Bassenthwaite services are held at the school. These are conducted by Methodist Ministers who visit for this purpose, and Bible classes are held by members of the staff.      

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