LEARNING THE THREE R’S
In the 1930s Hadfield had one of the UK’s highest rates of unemployment, at times reaching 60%. The Hadfield branch of The League of Social Services, opened in 1934, and comprised mainly of unemployed men and women.
Mrs K Laurie, secretary of the Leagues welfare committee worked tirelessly to set up a nursery having seen nurseries in Salford.
With gifts of material from local firms, unemployed men and women made enough equipment for 12 children. The school opened in The League’s Social Centre on Jones Street in 1937. Volunteers cooked and cleaned but a paid member of staff was needed. The Save the Children fund was approached, and this led to Lady Astor MP - who had an interest in nursery education - agreeing to fund the position of superintendent (Headteacher) as long as the League raised money for a school on part of its land. Money was raised locally from galas, flag days, donations from industry and even from a radio appeal. Apart from plumbing and electrical work, the whole building was erected by unemployed volunteers. The Nursery, the first in Derbyshire outside Derby, was opened by Lady Astor on June 20th 1939 and served Hadfield for almost 50 years until a new 65-place nursery was built in Queen Street to replace it.
The original nursery buildings were demolished in the 1980s so houses could be built on the site
Future Mayor escapes
Youngster Kath Holtom didn’t appreciate the opportunities offered by the nursery and on her first day in the 1940s, when she was supposed to be having a nap, crept out, climbed over the gate and ran to her home on Brosscroft - never to return. Kath later became a councillor on High Peak Borough Council 1983-1999 and Mayor of the High Peak in 1987-88. She taught for 40 years at St Philip Howard Catholic School in Glossop, becoming Deputy Headteacher, before retiring in 2004.