Timeline (1949-2007)

For a timeline of 1158-1949    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

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 School / Lecture Theatre;  Science Wing;  Dining Hall;  Eleven Student Hostels; Music Practice Rooms; Art Studio; New Boathouse; 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 - March 21  -  Dame Ninette de Valois - principal ballerina - attended Bretton Hall for the ceremony of the official opening of  the extensions to the college, which had taken place between 1962 and 1964.



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

1964-79 - 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 - Margaret Dunn - Vice Principal - resigned.

1967 - Miss Daphne Hale,  Headmistress of Pontefract Girls High School, was appointed Vice Principal.

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

1968- Foundation Principal - John Frederick Friend - retired.

1968-  Dr. Alyn Davies appointed Principal

Dr. Alyn Davies

1970 -  Opening of Nature Trail with public access


Timeline 1971-80

1973 - Death of Foundation Tutor - Raymond Roberts - aged 56

1973 -  collegiate academic awards

1975 -  BA programmes validated

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

1980 - Principal - Dr. Alyn Davies - retired

1980-81Daphne Hale appointed  Acting Principal


Timeline 1981 - 1990

1981-93 - Dr John Taylor appointed Principal

Dr. John Taylor

1986 - Death of Foundation Tutor - Daphne Bird - Head of Music - aged 71

Daphne Bird was Cremated at Wakefield and, in accordance with her wishes,  her ashes were interred in the graveyard of St. Bartholomew's Chapel at Bretton Hall.

Graveyard at St. Bartholomew's Chapel

Gravestone of Daphne Bird


1988 - Death of Foundation Principal - John Frederick Friend - aged 86

Twenty years after his retirement as Principal of Bretton Hall College, John F. Friend died in his home in the village of Sutton-Under-Brailles in Oxfordshire.  He was buried in the graveyard of the church of St. Thomas A Beckett, close to his home.

Sketch by Hans Feibusch - 1950


Gravestone of John F. Friend

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.

1989 - Death of Foundation Tutor - Margaret Dunn - aged 80


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

2000 - Death of Foundation Tutor - Gerald Whitehead - aged 87


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.

2007 - 2nd 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