Records of Scarborough Friends Adult School

Scope and Content

Minutes, 1929-1947 (1 vol.) [TT 65]; Papers, photographs etc., 19th-20th centuries (1 bundle) [TT 65.9]

Administrative / Biographical History

A First Day School was set up by Friends in Scarborough during 1859; this opened in January 1860 for boys and girls of 14 years and upwards, primarily for those who did not already attend Sabbath school or any other form of education. Reading and writing of passages from Scripture were taught. Classes were held in the Meeting House under the superintendence of Henry Hopkins. The first annual report gives 58 pupils on the register, but the school did not progress and was closed in summer 1861. Joshua Rowntree (1844-1915), on returning to settle in his hometown in 1866, decided to apply his experiences of Adult School work in York and set up a Friends Adult School in a hired room above 'a store stacked with fish-boxes'. This was on Courting Steps, off Eastborough in Scarborough. He was at first the only teacher and the school was slow to attract members. With the help of his cousin William Stickney Rowntree, he developed the school, moving to St. Sepulchre Street in 1870. A new school building was opened in 1872 in the garden of the old Friends Meeting House, known as Spring Gardens. The school undertook temperance work and by 1875 had established the Scarborough Coffee Cart Company, as well as a British Workman's Reading Room. Women's classes began in 1871. By 1886, the school had 268 members, declining to 176 by 1901. When Joshua Rowntree travelled to South Africa during the Boer War, he sent letters home to his Adult School scholars about his experiences. The school had a library, established a Sick Society and a Savings Fund for members, and held an annual tea. During 1904, additional classes began to be held in new premises known as the Roscoe Rooms, and by 1911, in premises in William Street as well.


The records are numbered and arranged according to the system used when they were in Carlton Hill Meeting House

Access Information

The conditions of deposit include a clause requiring written prior permission from a Friend Custodian for access to consult current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old

Acquisition Information

The collection of archives of the Society of Friends formerly held at the Friends Meeting House at Carlton Hill, Leeds


In English

Other Finding Aids

Contents listed in Handlist 99, "Inventory of the records of Brighouse, Knaresborough, Leeds, and Settle Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends formerly preserved at the Friends Meeting house, Carlton Hill, Leeds", 2nd edition, 1997

Conditions Governing Use

As with access, the photocopying of current legal documents and any material less than fifty years old requires the permission of a Friend Custodian

Related Material

Related material in Leeds University Library: Records of Scarborough Preparative Meeting and other records of Friends Adult School, Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull


S.E. Robson, Joshua Rowntree (Allen & Unwin, 1916); J.W. Rowntree and H.B. Binns, A history of the Adult School Movement (Headley Brothers, 1903), pp. 22, 27, 47; G. Currie Martin, The Adult School Movement (National Adult School Union, 1924), pp. 90-91

Additional Information

The records are deposited and remain the property of the Society of Friends