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.

Amateur film 1957 21 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


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”.