The ‘Big’

The large classroom, formerly known as the 'Big' later became the School library. Note the gas lighting brackets on the walls in this view of the 'Big' in 1914; the ancient master's desk has pride of place in the foreground.
Taylor Dyson with pupils in the ‘Big’

Taylor Dyson, known as 'The Gaffer' was one of King James's Grammar School's most revered Headmasters who joined the School in 1913 at the age of 31 and retired in 1945. Here he is shown in the 'Big' with members of Form 3 in 1914.


This photograph, taken during the First World War, shows a group of pupils - some of whom are dressed in cadet uniform - from one of the school Houses. The School Cadet Corps was formed in 1915, with the headmaster in the role of Captain Dyson. The school yard was, at times, more of a miniature barrack square.

Johnny Hopton with his form

John Hopton, a graduate of Leeds University, arrived at King James’s in 1921 to teach mathematics, chemistry and biology. A thorough teacher of the old school, he often seemed strict and unyielding to younger pupils, but those who got to know him better found him a kindly, humorous man. His service to school over 98 terms - he retired in 1953 - was immeasurable.

This photograph was kindly supplied by Terry Buckley, whose father Jack Buckley appears at the end of the back row on the right. Next to him is Reg Napier, who taught Terry Buckley and and John Watson (of Temperance Seven fame) at Huddersfield School of Art (1953-1958) and subsequently became Head of the School of Art.

The pupil on the extreme left of the front row is believed to be A Lee, while the figure at the left-hand end of the middle row may be G Hooper. Assistance in identifying others would be appreciated.  

Herbert Blackburn with his form

Herbert Blackburn is shown here with his form in 1924. A graduate of London University, he joined King James ’s in 1919 to teach English and Classics. He was responsible for the School Pageant of 1936, and also made his mark as the author, with Harry Gledhill, of the School Song which still resonates today at major School and Old Almondburians ’ Society functions.

The photograph was kindly supplied by Terry Buckley, whose father appears on the back row, second from the left. Reg Napier, who taught Terry Buckley and and John Watson (of Temperance Seven fame) at Huddersfield School of Art (1953-1958) and subsequently became Head of the School of Art, is on the back row, fourth from the right. Assistance in identifying others in this photograph would be appreciated.  


The Gondoliers

Gilbert & Sullivan productions were an annual feature of school life from 1922 to 1938, initially being organised by Major Hirst and Haydn Sandwell and later by Mrs Sizer and Harry Gledhill. The tradition was revived after the Second World War with productions of The Mikado (1947), The Gondoliers (1948), The Pirates of Penzance (1949) and HMS Pinafore (1953).

This photograph, supplied by Terry Buckley, shows the cast of a production of The Gondoliers around 1925. The teacher on the extreme left is John Baldwin, who went on to become Headmaster in 1945. Third from the left is art master Edward Akroyd, who traditionally looked after the scenery in these productions, and next to him are Robert Burn and Johnny Hopton.

Taylor Dyson

Taylor Dyson - 'the Gaffer' - was only 31 years of age when he took over the helm from Robert Simpson Crump in 1913. Pictured here in 1925, he was a native of Saddleworth who graduated in History at the University of Manchester and also held degrees from the Universities of London and Caen. He joined the School at an anxious time when numbers were yet again falling, but in the following 33 successful years he guided the School through a five-fold increase in size accompanied, in 1938/9, by a major expansion in its teaching facilities.

When Taylor Dyson first came to Almondbury, the School still had boarders and he himself lived with his family in the Schoolhouse. Although he was saddened by the School's transfer to the Huddersfield Corporation in 1922 and the ending of the boarding tradition, his efforts on behalf of the School never wavered right up to the time of his retirement in 1945 to Christchurch, where he died in 1957.