FOUNDING OF NORWOOD COLLEGE

Updated 30th March,2019




During the early-1930s, Charlie probably began to develop his plan, his ambition for his own school. Harrogate was a wealthy town and according to local history studies

"by the end of the nineteenth century Harrogate had a large number of private schools, many of which took boarders. The latter were attracted particularly by the healthy situation of the town, and the demand for day schools increased with the growth in the population and the wealth of the locality. …….. There were several smaller schools, mainly for girls, conducted in large private houses." 5

Norwood was, however, not an instant creation; Charlie left his reaching job at Clifton House School in early 1936 and with two pupils he taught in a room behind the Old Lion House Hotel *, as a tutor rather than a paid employee of a school; a short time later, he took on the Tewit Well Avenue property, now having acquired ten pupils. The ten rose to 27 and now a name was needed. The name of Sunnyside School was suggested but thankfully declined; perhaps someone had been reading Enid Blyton and similar children's books of the day! As mentioned earlier in Charlie's First World War Experiences, Charlie chose the name Norwood so Norwood College it was and the school was established on 8 May,1936.

* OLD Lion Hotel according to The Leeds Graphic article. However, it appears that there was no such hotel and it is thought that it was at the GOLDEN Lion Hotel, 17 West Park, that Charlie used. This hotel is included inthe 1901 Census 55 .
The 1901 Census 54 includes Lion House lodgings at 10 West Park so this is another likely location.

By Don Clapham 21 July,2005

"I remember Charlie Cass relating to a Michael Verity’ mum, that he first taught pupils in a yard behind her flat on West Park. There used to be a thriving garage which is now a Focus DIY outlet and Mrs Verity's apartments are just to the right as you face them with your back to the Stray. Charlie started with 2 pupils prior to having the Norwood premises in Leeds Road."




Work to build Royal Mail Ship Queen Mary commenced in 1930 and she was launched on 26 September,1934. During 1936 she underwent speed trials and her maiden voyage was on 27 May of that year, from Southampton to New York. This photograph shows Charlie's first two pupils with the Queen Mary in the background; the photo was, we believe, taken in 1936, and was hung in The Lounge. The background is certainly not that of Southampton but could be Plymouth.





The picture shows Straysyde House in Cavendish Avenue; John Crowther says that he was informed that this building was considered by Charlie Cass as a potentional one for his school but rejected as being too small. Cavendish Ave is quite close to Tewit Well Ave, being just the other side of the railway line going across The Stray.


Clifton was a couple of minutes walk from Norwood, but we had little, if anything, to do with the school. There were, for example, no Cricket matches or similar events. Dare we assume that there was some jealousy between the two headmasters? It was reported in The Leeds Graphic article that Charlie spent many happy years at Clifton; others have sensed some disharmony at Clifton. Clifton was still operating well into the 1960s and closed in 1968.




The Leeds Mercury newspaper, carried this advert for Norwood on 8th September,1937:

NORWOOD COLLEGE, Harrogate (1, TEWIT WELL AVENUE) Headmaster: GORDON W. G. CASS, B.Sc., F.R.G.S., A.R.C.M.
STAFF FULLY QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED. DAY BOYS and BOARDERS taken; also Entire Charge arranged If necessary separate kindergarten for young boys
Charlie registered a company in 1944 under the name Norwood College (Harrogate) Ltd; this is described later on.


5. A History of Harrogate & Knaresborough,
by Harrogate WEA Local History Group, 1970: p399

54. 1901 National Census, RG13 4054, Harroagte, District 24,
Folio 131, Page 11 Household sch no.61

55. 1901 National Census, RG13 4054, Harrogate, District 24,
Folio 131, Page 12 Household sch no.69


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