Town Hall
| History | Rededication (1978) | Trust Deed |

Cottingley Town Hall - Rededication - 30th Sept 1978


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AN INTRODUCTION TO COTTINGLEY TOWN HALL


To those people who are familiar and unfamiliar with Cottingley Town Hall it is hoped that this brief history of it's growth and place in the life of Cottingley village will be of general interest on the occasion of rededication after recent redecoration.

In the year of 1814, the provision by the government for the education of children was non-existent. In that year, certain men of Cottingley whose names are not known, saw the need for the education of the children of Cottingley and rented for that purpose the smithy, converting it into a schoolroom. to be given a formal basic education. The smithy owned by Joseph Hollings of Whetley Hill, Bradford, stood at the foot of Main Street, a position now occupied by two cottages. Since, at the time, most of the poorer children worked for several hours on each weekday, the Cottingley school was to be open on Sundays only and thus became a 'Sunday School'. It was to provide a very general elementary education since it was, in all probability, the only school it’s pupils were likely to attend. The management of the building and school was conducted by a Committee who resolved:-

"The Committee shall permit and suffer the children of parents of every denomination, sect and party to assemble in the said schoolroom for the purpose of instruction by such teachers as shall be willing to labour gratuitously, the said teachers shall be persons of good moral character and shall not be objected to on account of his or her faith or principles". (Obviously a ‘Discrimination Act’ was totally unnecessary in those days.)

As the nearest Church to Cottingley village was in Bingley, in 1815 the Committee decided:-

"To permit and suffer the said schoolhouse to be open for the admission of preachers and ministers of all and every denomination." This in effect was the beginning of the free, independent church which to the present day Cottingley Town Hall remains. It was evidently the hope that the preaching meetings, by drawing parents to the schoolhouse, would foster a strong community spirit, and in this respect the Committee were not disappointed as was shown at a alter date when new premises were required.

In 1836, the school was flourishing to such an extent that there was insufficient space available and also although a hamlet 'deep in the country' smoke was a nuisance and the schoolroom had to be whitewashed often. (It seems decorating problems are always with us). The Committee resolved that an extension should be built but no action in this respect was taken until 1843 when the village was canvassed and sufficient funds were raised to enable the required extension to be built.