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Click on the pictures for larger images with (where stated) names

17th Century

In the 17th Century, education was mainly the prerogative of the rich. However, there was some kind of education available for the less privileged in the form of 'dame schools' also known as 'common day schools'. These were run from a kitchen, or outbuilding, by an untrained woman with enough ability to teach basic reading, handwriting and arithmetic, as well as practical skills like sewing. It is believed that there used to be a dame school in Cottingham on the right hand side of the pathway that leads up to the Royal George from Corby Road. This is now a private garden, and the present owners, Laurie and Irene Beadsworth, recall finding a set of steps beneath the garden when they were excavating for a new driveway.

1800s to early 1900s

The 1887 street map and OS map show the old Cottingham school in Dag Lane. This school, originally for infants, was opened in 1871 for 92 children. Dag Lane was subsequently renamed School Lane and the school building is now a private house. 

There was also a school in Middleton, opened in 1856 and enlarged in 1869, for 120 children. In the early 1900s, all the junior age pupils from both villages were taught at the Middleton school, with the infants attending the school in Cottingham. The old Middleton school is also now a private house,  located on Camsdale Walk at top of School Hill.

At the turn of the 20th century, the curriculum at the school would have been arithmetic, poetry, reading, composition, recitation, geography (British colonies), history (to 1066), nature study, drawing, drill, music and needlework.

c 1900

Early 1900s (with names)

Early 1900s (with names)

Early 1900s, with Thomas Beecroft

c1909 (two names)


1916-24, with Headmaster

Henry 'Tubby' Belshaw

(some names)

1916-24, with Headmaster

Henry 'Tubby' Belshaw

Middle row, fourth from right,

Florence Davenport.

Back row far right, George Davenport

1918-20, with Headmaster

Henry 'Tubby' Belshaw

Front row, fourth from right,

Florence Davenport; Back row centre, David Hobbs



c1933 (with names)

1936 (with names)

1949, aged 9 to 10

(with names)

1969 (with names)

1970 (with names)

Mid 1900s to present

The current Cottingham Church of England primary school on Berryfield Road was opened in the late 1960s. The old school was kept open alongside the new one for a few years, but eventually closed in the early 1970s. 

Class teacher in the 1940s, Mr Kisby, is shown on some of the pictures Below. Irene Beadsworth (nee Ansell) recalls him with fondness. "He was everybody's favourite teacher" says Irene. "He was the most wonderful storyteller and he loved art and poetry. He even wrote a book!"

Judi Davies-Stephenson, who attended the school in the 60s and 70s, also remembers Mr Kisby. She says: "before he died, he gave away to the students at the school a lot of his sketches and drawings.  He was really an amazing artist!  I was lucky enough to get one of a willow tree.....I also remember very well Mrs David the school cook. she looked after me very well...."

David Dodd recalls: "Mr Kisby once a beautiful etching of a fish about to be caught by a fisherman's hook. Sadly, somewhere over the years it has been lost. The other thing I remember about him was his frequent reference to his daughter Rosemary. She was about the same age as our class, but did not attend Cottingham school. I don't think we ever met her, but she was the yardstick against which he measured our academic progress."