The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
Blenheim Boys School Events
A wonderful film of secondary school lads in 1950s Leeds, out playing fast rugby on a frosty winter morning, reading in the library, but also larking about as they swig school milk.
From the collection of:
Groups of lads hang around the school gates, equal in their scruffiness, and at having all failed the 11+. Here they demonstrate their many talents, mainly in turning everything into one big joke, but also show impressive rugby skills against another school within view of the local mill, as their cloth capped coach provides the team talk. But they also get down to serious study, make pots, tend the allotment and enjoy batting in the cricket nets adjoining the terraced houses.
All that is left of this school, once in Woodhouse Leeds, are two gate posts, somehow mysteriously preserved, and the memories of those who attended it. It had only just got inside sanitation, but was well known as a rugby league school, and the close up of the players may well show a young Brian Jefferson who later played for Keighley and Great Britain. At this time it would take 11+ failures from places like Quarry Mount Primary School. Yet the failures were decided well in advance of this rigged examination system, and this film shows that these boys were capable of living up to the school motto, “work hard, play fair”.