an overview of the history of Norwood College

Updated 31 December,2004

In 1936, after 13 years at Clifton House School, Charlie left and started off on his own with two boys; he had a room behind the Old Lion Hotel in Harrogate. The property in Tewit Well Avenue was purchased in 1936 and became Norwood College, a boys' school. Mr Cass had the invaluable help of his parents in the teaching and the running of Norwood. Charlie (thankfully) rejected a suggestion to call the school Sunnyside! 16

The building itself is a curiosity; was it originally designed as a school or a residential house? Almost certainly, the school comprised two houses knocked into one. Why did it have a playing field when The Stray was just yards away?

Charlie had not that long since been a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force. What must he have thought about Germany in that year, 1936? With the Nazi Party ruling in Germany, Adolf Hitler personally opened the fourth Olympic Winter Games. Seeking to put on its best face and suppress any possible negative reporting of the Nazi administration of the Games, Germany allowed only German photographers to record Olympic events. These pictures were then carefully screened by the Nazi propaganda ministry before being made available for international distribution.

In a short space to time, Mr Cass was christend "Charlie" by his pupils, though it does appear that he had already been given this nick-name well before and even when he was at Scarborough College; pretending not to know his nick-name, Charlie was secretly rather fond of it really. The school catered for Day Boys and Boarders, the latter being either for the full week or Monday to Friday. As yet, we do not have a clear understanding of how many pupils attended in the first few years though 27 attended within the first year. There would have been probably 80 within about five years.

It was not until 1939 that Charlie obtained no.5 Leeds Road as numbers of pupils increased.

In 1944 Charlie formed the school into a limited company, "Norwood College (Harrogate) Ltd". The records in Companies House have now been destroyed so we are unable to tell the composition of the company. However, Companies House records show that it was incorporated as a company in 1944, registered number 389431, and dissolved in 1976.

During the period 1949/1950, another of Harrogate's private schools, New House School, closed and a large number of pupils moved to Norwood College. To cater for this influx, Mr Cass took on the adjoining property, no.3 Leeds Rd, vitually doubling the capacity.

Times changed and during the 1960s the number of pupils attending started to decline and by 1971 very few were enrolled. Norwood closed on 24 March,1972. Mr Cass, by then, was not a well person and moved first to The Metrople Hotel, then a nursing home in Harlow Moor Drive and then to Scotton Bank Hospital where he died in 1976.

Photograph of a very slim-line Charlie Cass in 1949


16. source: Leeds Graphic magazine, May 1961

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