THE PUD SCHOOL
The College of Housescraft
The Yorkshire Training College of Housecraft in Leeds evolved from a decision taken by the Council to provide cookery classes for woman and girls
in 1874, in an attempt to help the poor raise their standards of hygiene and nutrition and named the Yorkshire Training school of Cookery.
Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics Vernon Road, Leeds 1966
The Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics Vernon Road, Leeds had been the Leeds Church Middle Class Board School between 1870s and 80s
then to become the Leeds Polytechnic in the 1980s.
When I tried to find out anything about the school there was a blank and as for photographs they were non existent. It was as though
staff and students did not want someone to know how good they were at the job and as people.
Two types of course were run before a final end of course examination, both of three years, but with different set ups, one of continues
in college duration for training teachers in Domestic Science and the other split into two years in college duration followed by a
further one year in service training under the auspices of the fledgling Institutional Management Association a national body aimed
at raising standards in the hotel and catering industries with a further year in service training.
The first premises were in the old Leeds church Middle Class board school in Vernon Road. The classrooms in the building was
transformed into classrooms, kitchens, laundry and storerooms. There were long corridors and stone staircases with iron balustrades
leading to a students common room and cloakrooms in the basement.
The name The Pud School was given to it by the students who, on the whole, found it a happy place. There were about 200 students
registered at any one time, divided into sets of 16 for practical work. Most traveled from home each day either walking or by bus,
but some from farer afield stayed in private lodgings in Headingley whilst others lived in
a large house called Weetwood Court off Weetwood Lane, owned by the college, and run as a hostel for the students. Another house
called Highfield to the south off Ottley road was also run as a residential hall in parallel with Weetwood Court. Weetwood Court
and Highfield were later replaced by Hollin Hall in Hollin road.
Brought in before 1967 there was another one across the from Highfield. Weetwood Cresent was attended by the teacher training and Institutional
management students on one half day a fortnight for instruction in housewifery otherwise known as cleaning. The students thought this
to be a cunning ploy by the college authorities to get the hostel cleaned free of charge! The in college uniform was a white coat and cap, that was
tricky to iron, for cookery classes and green for housewifery and laundry work. During cloths rationing students were advised to purchase flour
sacks, that were made of strong, coarse cotton and did not require clothing coupons from Vures Linen Warehouse, in the basement of the Church
Institute in Lands Lane. These sacks were then made into tea towels and the tummy cloth which was worn tied round the waist to protect
the overalls which had to be changed and washed daily.
Cookery Class Group 1962
The students and staff took lunch in the former assemble hall of the school and were like a Faith Suppler, in that all the items that had
been cooked in class were served with any short fall made up by Mollie and her team of students taking their turn in the Institutional
kitchen. In those less egalitarian times the cooks fell into two categories those who learned their craft on the job and lady cooks
who held a qualification such as offered by the college. Mollie was one of the former and from her great good humour and vast experience
the students learnt many useful things which the college staff did not teach.
During Food Rationing when a recipe required a shell eggs it had to be brought from home from our personal ration. Tales abound of
accidents during journeys, such as accidentally breaking an egg whilst boarding a tram to college from home and the conductor storing
the resulting sticky parcel in his empty ticket box until it was collected and taking home for breakfast the next day.
In the Spring of 1947 the College Principal, Miss Smith, announced that there was to be a College Ball, requiring evening dress, something
different after the austerity of the war years. The girls were all as keen as Cinderella to go to their first ball, but there was a one
problem. Where could you find an escort who owned a dinner jacket? Most boys only owned their Demob suite, after their release from
the armed forces and the remains of their Demob clothing coupons and were not keen on investing them on a seldom used dinner suit. So
boys had to be cajoled into wanting to take a girl to the ball after receiving their invitation and use their clothing coupons and
spending their money, that was unless you were lucky enough to know someone who owned an evening suit. However if you knew where to go
evening suites could be hired at for a fee. All in all the College Principals venture paid off and many a happy ending to the evening
Students were required to provide their own cutlery set displaying their identity number for work in the kitchen and a set from the past
is displayed below, which still used today.
For the Institutional Management students their second year included a months work experience spent at various institutions working with bursars,
housekeepers and managers. Examples were Beckett Park Teacher Training College to work with the Housekeeper to work in one of the halls of
residence and Montague Burtons clothing factory that had a large workforce and an in house clinic and dental surgery, something
rare in those days, canteen and bakery. At the conclusion of the course students took a written and a practical examination and Institutional
Management students a further year in work at an approved establishment by the college before taking a further written examination and viva-voce
interview. Only then were they considered fully qualified.
In 1969 when the college was known as the The Yorkshire College of Education and Home Economics when it moved from Vernon Road to
amalgamated with the Leeds College of Technology, Leeds College of Commerce and part of Leeds College College of Art and become known as the Leeds
Polytechnic in 1970 and known as the Department of Education in Home Economics, then in 1992 it was absorbed to become part of the
Leeds Metropolitan University in Headingley. It was encompassed by the name Leeds Beckett University on the 23rd November, 2013 and the name
adapted in 2014.
ICMC course Photograph, Hollins Hall, Leeds 16 October 1959
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