Central Village, Leeds LS2 3AB
Leeds Girls' High School(Site of, 1876-1906)

Opened in 1876, this school was set up as a joint-stock company by the Leeds Ladies' Educational Association and the Ladies' Committee of the Yorkshire Council of Education.  Its committee included many of the most active promoters of female education in the town including Fanny Heaton.  The school began in rented premises at St James’s Lodge, Woodhouse Lane, and the first head was Catherine Kennedy.

Fanny’s enthusiasm for the school led her to persuade J.D. Heaton to allow their daughter Lucy (Loo) to teach there for a salary.  This was very unusual for a girl from a well-to-do family, as Heaton explained in his journal:

‘It is so contrary to custom, for young ladies, not necessarily dependent on their own exertions, to undertake any kind of remunerative employment, that this innovation occasioned considerable comment, and I was in some doubt of its expedience.  But I consented to it as an experiment.’ (Journal, v. 22 Jan. 1877).

Eventually, the ‘experiment’ became too much for Heaton.  At the end of 1878 he records: ‘Loo discontinued her teaching at the Girls’ High School, at the end of the half-year; much to her dissatisfaction.  . . . I did not consider it consistent with our position, nor to our advantage, that she should continue to give the whole of her time to drudgery, for a small pittance . . . depriving herself of all recreation & the customary pursuits of a young lady living at home.’ (Journal, vi. Dec. 1878).

The High School continued at St James’s Lodge until 1906, when it moved to Headingley, where it remained until 2005 when the school merged with Leeds Grammar School.  St James’s Lodge became a military barracks until the 1960s when it was demolished (click here for an image of the building in the process of demolition).  The site was taken over by Leeds Polytechnic, now Leeds Beckett University. It is now student residences for the University of Leeds.

Further Reading:

Gosden, Peter (2004), ‘Kennedy, Catherine Lucy (1851–1910)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Jewell, H. M. (1976), A school of unusual excellence: Leeds Girls' High School, 1876–1976.
Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Procter, K. E. (1926), A short history of the Leeds Girls' High School, 2 vols.  Leeds: Arthur Wrigley.