THE PROPERTY

Updated 10 February,2007



The original Norwood College building was no.1 Tewit Well Avenue, built, undoubtedly as a house, and taken on by Charlie in early 1936. Around the corner and adjoining this property was no.5 Leeds Road; the Kelly Directory of Harrogate for 1936 and 1937 records that no.5 Leeds Road was in the hands of Walter Aerni, Principal, Confetta Ltd College - it is understood to have been a school of cookery. The 1938 Directory shows that it was then in the name of G C Cass; who was G C Cass? Just an error? Could Walter Aerni be associated with Norwood? Did Charlie buy out Aerni? No other mention of the name Aerni has been found in any of the records seen so far.

However, no.5 Leeds Road was taken on by Charlie in 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War - in fact, the Leeds Graphic article said " In 1939, with the onset of war, the tenant of No. 5 Leeds Road evacuated the building, and Mr. Cass requisitioned it." This must have meant that his school was successful and he needed more accommodation. (Note that the Trade Directories can be a little misleading in relation to exact occupants in a given year). A third property, no.3 Leeds Road was registered in the name of Mr W Hamlyn, Dentist, in 1937 - though more about this later.

The only mention of any house in this vicinity in the 1901 Census is Mr & Mrs Atkinson, a "Chemical .... Manufacturer", with their children and servants in a house in "Leeds Road". Could this have been no.1 Leeds Road? The rear part of no.1 is shown on this photo that has Hanover House on the left. The black & white "Tudor" part of the building is close to the Leeds Road frontage. By any standards, it is a large residence and not srprising that, as reported below, it was later divided into apartments.


no.1 Leeds Rd (& Hanover House)         5 Leeds Rd & 1 Tewit Well Ave



Clearly, as the above two photographs demonstate, the two buildings - one being no.1 Leeds Rd and the other 3 & Leeds Rd plus 1 Tewit Well Ave, were designed by the same architect; the circular bays and the black & white 'Tudor' effect are indentical on each set. This photograph gives a very good view of the north end of number 1 Leeds Road showing off the circular bays well.

A modern revolving panorama view of The Stray is given on the VR Harroogate web site. This gives a marvellous view of the north end of number 1 Leeds Road; the replacement building for Clifton House School is just about discernable through the trees.

The 1939 edition of Kelly's Directory includes the following though it would now seem to be out-of-date:

1 (Leeds Rd) Straydene
      Flat 1 Mrs B G Thompson
      Flat 2 Mrs C Jeffcock
      Flat 3 H T Marphet
      Flat 4 Mrs S Greenwood

3 W H Hamlyn - Dentist

5 Confetta Ltd, Walter Aerni, Principal, School of Cookery, Harrogate 4785

5 Walter Aerni (House name, Branscombe)

The position of the Norwood College can be seen on the aerial view of
Flash Earth web site. Note that the circular bays on no.1 Leeds Rd also point over The Stray.

This is a sketch drawing of the arrangement of the
property though the division between the three
addresses is not exact.


















Number 1 Tewit Well Avenue was probably built as a single house as in the orange box above, its main entrance being the one visible here. Number 5 Leeds Road, purchased later, was the part in the orange box below, and the main entrance faced on to Leeds Road as in the next photo.


Number 3 Leeds Road is outlined below. This had been occupied by Mr W H Hamlyn, a Dentist.

CAD drawings of each floor can be viewed; these are far from perfect in the room layout.

Harrogate was then in the West Riding of Yorkshire but in now in the county of North Yorkshire.

In addition to no.1 Tewit Well Avenue and 5 Leeds Road, and later no.3, the school property also included the Playground on the other side of Tewit Well Avenue (i.e. bounded by Alderson Road to the south and Leeds Road to the west).

An interesting question is why did the playground exist at all? The houses in Tewit Well Avenue and Alderson Road had no need, when they were built, to have any open ground as The Stray was just yards away. So was no.1 Tewit Well Avenue built as a school? Or, was the playground a building plot that was not taken up with a building but, in due course, became a convenient site for the playground?

Nos. 3 and 5 Leeds Rd together with the Tewit Well Ave property were all one building albeit originally independent dwellings. The rooms and staircases were very spacious by contemporary standards though with small front gardens. There was no evidence of a garden at the rear of the properties except for a yard area. Could these buildings have been designed as apartments from the start? The stucco, stone and brick facings on the road elevations were not repeated at the rear where a more utilitarian brick facing was used. No.1 Leeds Road was obviously built at the same time and this also lacks any front garden.

Whilst all three properties were built as one unit, no.5 Leeds Road had the distinction of mock Tudor beams on its exterior elevations on Leeds Road and Tewit Well Avenue. The bricks were probably locally made in the Stonefell brick works on Weatherby Road (demolished in the 1960s). Window surrounds and the balustrades to the entrance stairs were millstone grit, a local stone used very extensively in West Yorkshire and prone to turn black with age (and not solely with pollution).

"The Lounge"
If one room could have been called a "front" room, it was the bow-fronted one of the corner of Leeds Rd and Tewit Well Ave. It was actually called The lounge. This was a charming room that had a series of crests or coats-of arms at eye level in a panel over the fireplace and it was used for music tuition and other special purposes. This room had an lovely view southwards along Leeds Road; in the days following its construction, between 1891 and 1909, the first occupant must have watched the horse-drawn carriages and wagons on Leeds Road, probably then still the Leeds to Harrogate Turnpike. At the other side of Leeds Road, the imposing Royal Crescent, complete with Money Puzzle Tree had been constructed about 30 years earlier; the 1881 Census shows all of the occupants of the 15 properties (plus three unoccupied) by name, most being professional men such as bank managers. Of these fifteen occupied properties, twelve had servants listed in the Census, including one address with two servants and a Governess!

All of the "reception" rooms on the ground floor were about six feet above street level and below was an equally large basement or cellar usually reflecting the dimensions of the rooms above. Some of the basement rooms were used as classrooms. The original use to which they were put would be exceedingly interesting to hear about and in this day and age it is difficult to imagine having a house with such enormous, and, it must be added, high quality basement accommodation. The tall house in which I lived, half a mile south along Leeds Road, and originally having the romantic name of Rose Villa, was constructed in the same era and it had a large basement over the "ground" floor that was a few feet higher than street level; that accommodation was certainly for domestic staff and would actually have been quite a pleasant place to live in. Drawing comparisons with the Norwood accommodation, then the basement could well have been designed as accommodation for the "domestics". The Norwood site sloped gently eastwards so the basement rooms on that side were on ground level with windows (e.g. the Chemistry Lab).

Prefects' Steps
The Tewit Well Ave entrance was used (certainly in 1940s/50s) by Prefects and staff only - the "Prefects' Steps"; all other boys had to use the entrance at the rear of the building and at lower level below this one in Tewit Well Ave. The rear entrance was pretty appalling; it went through the boiler room into what was originally the enormous basement. I cannot remember any radiators despite having a substantial coal or coke-fired boiler but some classrooms had coal fires that were actually put to use certainly until the mid-1950s.

In these days of Health & Safety legislation and a myriad amount of imposed control, it is hard to imagine how Norwood jogged along without, it seems, any management of the building; one ceiling fell down during the night on the first floor due to heavy snow falls melting but the rest, well, it just kept going.

A newspaper article asked about a picture postcard showing "Corner of Sports Ground from the south-west, Norwood College, Harrogate", assuming it to be of the property in Leeds Rd adjacent to the school. It turned out to be this field area adjacent to Fells Quarry. As an aside to the response, an interested bit of information, extracted from an advert for the school in c1940, said that it had "its own gas-proof room" - an obvious hint that all the boys would be safe in the event of the Germans attacking with gas bombs in the Second World War.

The use of no.1 Tewit Well Avenue as a hospital founded by the Grand Duchess George of Russia is recorded on this account of Norwood.

School Playground
The school used the Playground on the opposite side of Tewit Well Ave. The first house in Tewit Well Avenue on the side of the Playground is number 4 so the Playground would nominally have been no.2 Tewit Well Avenue!


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