Timeline: 1949-2007

For a timeline of 1158-1949     CLICK  HERE

For a timeline of 2007  onwards    CLICK  HERE


Bretton Hall,  Educational Institution


Compiled by Susan Daniels.

(Click on images to enlarge)


Susan Daniels taught at Bretton Hall College 1987-2001 ( English, Interarts and Education), completing her time as Head of the School of Education.   After the  merger in 2001 she remained on the campus as a lecturer for the University of Leeds and became Head of the School of Performance  and Cultural  Industries, which had been  Firmed in 2001.   In 2007 the Bretton campus closed and activities moved to Leeds.

This timeline is drawn from wider research into the history of Bretton Hall College and is a work in progress.

Susan can be contacted  on  s.m.daniels@leeds.ac.uk

Timeline   1949-1954


 Bretton Hall College of Education was founded by Alec Clegg – education officer of the west riding of Yorkshire – as a training college for teachers of Music, Art and Drama. Clegg had a clear vision of progressive education to rebuild the country.   Https:alecclegg.com

Sir Alec Clegg

1949 – John Friend was appointed the first Principal.   He  was a Maths specialist who sought to establish a college with an academic community ethos and wider community interaction.  It was  intended for the training of teachers of music, art and drama via one or two-year courses.

1st Principal

Staff on first day of opening: 25th September, 1949

1949 – September  – College opened with 56 teacher trainees and 7 full time staff, all living and working in the former stately home of the Wentworth/ Beaumont family.  One or two-year courses with main subjects of Music, Art, or Drama  and shared courses in Education, English and Movement


To view photographs of all Foundation Staff Click  HERE


1952 – Martial Rose was initially appointed Head of English to replace Gerald Whitehead, who had resigned for personal reasons in 1951.  Mr. Rose later became  Head of Drama and subsequently  Head of Education.

During the next 10 years  specialisms were added,  including Environmental Studies, Textiles, Outdoor  Activities, Science and Mathematics and offering three-year degree programmes.


Timeline 1955-60


1956 – the ‘New Hall’ (later known as ‘College Hall’) was built close to the Stable Block, and used as an Assembly Hall, Lecture Room and Theatre.

1958 –  The government began planning for an ambitious expansion programme for Teacher Training Colleges.   At Bretton, the West Riding County Council committed itself to a programme which would allow the number of students to be increased from 155 to 300.


1959 Estate House was first used to accommodate from fifteen to twenty students;  a few other students lodged with local families in Bretton Village.   One or two-year courses with main subjects of Music, Art, or Drama  and shared courses in Education, English and Movement.


Estate House – Huddersfield Rd.

Timeline 1961-65


1961– College adopts university calendar


1962 – Beginning of a building programme, which included student hostels, took place, which freed the mansion building for teaching and staff.

1962/3   Building Extension Programme: Library;  Music Salon / Lecture Theatre;  Science Wing;  Dining Hall;  Student Hostels; Music Practice Rooms; Gymnasium; home for Principal and family.


Music Salon / Lecture Theatre

Hostels – 1962

For images of the building expansion programme:     Click  HERE

For additional images of the students’ hostels:    Click  HERE

For a plan of Bretton Campus in the 1960s:     Click  HERE

1963/4:  300 students. Three year course = 75% students.   Mains = Music/ Art Craft / Needlework and Dress Making/ Drama/ English/ Music/ Science


1964 – Additional main subjects for junior training – Mathematics and Biology


1964 – Visit by Dame Ninette de Valois for the official opening of the extensions to the college.

1964-79 – New title for Bretton Hall:   Bretton Hall College of Education  ( teacher training) West Riding County Council.


Timeline 1965-70


1965- affiliated to University of Leeds for award of degrees of the university ( four year B.Ed)


1967 – Resignation of Vice-Principal – Miss Margaret Dunn.

Miss Daphne Hale – headteacher of Pontefract Girls’ School – was appointed Vice-Principal of Bretton Hall.


1968- Principal – John Friend – retired.


1968- Filming of some scenes of ‘Women in Love’ at various locations around the lakes


1968-  Dr. Alyn Davies appointed Principal

Dr. Alyn Davies

1970 –  Opening of Nature Trail with public access


Timeline 1971-80

1973 –  collegiate academic awards


1975 –  BA programmes validated


1977 – -WMDC buy deer park to form Bretton country park 1978 –  awards drop term ‘ collegiate’


1980 – Resignation of  Dr. Alyn Davies.


1980-81 –  Appointment of Vice-Principal  –  Daphne Hale  –  as Acting Principal


Daphne Hale - Vice Principal and Temporary Acting Principal

Timeline 1981 – 1990

1981-93Dr John Taylor appointed Principal

Dr. John Taylor

1988 –  HE incorporation act

1/489 new form of governance : incorporation Principal also becomes chief executive and vice principals replaced by directors

Bretton hall including 200 acres, lakes, woods, equipment.   Schools who had bought into using lakes cease to do so.


Timeline 1990 – 2000

1990 – Renaming of the College:   Bretton Hall  College of Higher Education.  Independent Corporation 


1991 opening of NAEA

NAEA Building

N.A.E.A. Office

1991 – lease of  Dearne mills in Darton, Barnsley, for textile department.
1993 –  policy decision to extend into Wakefield.
1993 –  Dr. John Taylor retired
1993 –  2000 – Professor Gordon Hartley Bell appointed Principal

Gordon H. Bell

Purchase ‘world of suits’  in smith street – powerhouse one , theatre


Purchase 23 smith street workshops – 23 smith street theatre design   studio


Lease unity house smith street/ west gate. For  music


1994- purchase colonial buildings Peterson road – powerhouse two : art and design  studios, education space , student open learning space, staff space


1995 – purchase manygates maternity hospital – atalier space , social work and counselling, student accommodation, study  and social space


Wakefield sites linked to Bretton hall by bus service


1997 – commencement of merger talks with university of Leeds


1999/2000 – audit of college finances for  merger


Timeline 2000-2007

2000 – July/August –  suspension of principal, finance director and academic director


2000-2001 – (interim) Professor David Sugden appointed as Acting Principal

Acting Principal

2001 –  merger of Bretton hall with University of Leeds


2002 –  new access road to YSP and visitor centre designed by Fielden and Clegg


2004 –  December –  university determines campus not viable and puts  up for sale.  Restructuring of the School  of Performance and Cultural Industries   linked to a case for relocation to Leeds


2006 – March – launch of university of Leeds Wakefield campus : space for ex Bretton Hall  College access social work and counselling course plus private study space


2006 – Bretton campus purchased by Wakefield MDC .


2006 – September – Manygates Wakefield purchased by acorn homes for flats and offices  –  YSP take over estate, lakes, Kennel block, long sides gallery and NAEA.


20072nd May – last teaching on  Bretton campus.


2007 – 4th-6th May – celebration of education at Bretton  curated by students.

2007  Reunion

August 2007 – Closure of Bretton Campus



  For a timeline of 1158 – 1949   Click  Here


For a timeline of 2007  onwards   Click Here