College pride in achievement

Edge Hill College of Education

On a recent visit to the archives I came across some copies of a supplement to the Liverpool Daily Post titled “The Changing Face of Ormskirk”. Published on Monday 10th June 1968, there are a few articles that may be of interest to you, dear readers. First up is one from our own principal.

By P. K. C. Millins, Principal

In the spring of 1882 the chairman of Liverpool School Board, Mr. S. G. Rathbone, called together a number of gentlemen interested in the progress of education to confer as to the advisability of establishing a training college, interdenominational in character, for about 80 young ladies.

A committee was formed and later a large house was purchased in Durning Road in Liverpool which, together with an additional wing for classrooms and dormitories, cost £16,483.

The College started in January, 1885 with 40 students, five resident staff and four visiting lecturers. A further 40 students came a year later.

In 1894 selected students were allowed to rcad for degrees and 10 years later 68 had graduated; 64 at Liverpool and four at London.

After 1918, however regulations precluded this possibility and it was to be nearly 40 years before Edge Hill students were to be able to take a degree course whilst still studying in College.

Twenty years after its foundation, the College had trained some 1,600 teachers 56 of these were engaged in training teachers and at least 175 were known to be headmistresses.

Came back to college

On October 14, 1965 the oldest surviving former student. Mrs. Agnes Sutton, aged 91, came to College. She recalled incidents during her course in 1893-94.

Each student then had a basin and jug of cold water in the bedroom and was allotted 20 minutes weekly for a bath.

The quilts which covered their beds were known as white elephants and had to last the whole term.

On Thursday evenings students were allowed to attend a gymnasium in Liverpool, clad in thick blue serge tunics, buttoned up to the neck, with long sleeves to match.

Over this tunic, winter and summer, dress skirts had to be worn, for, in he words of Mrs. Sutton, it was considered indecent to show even our ankles.

A move in 1933
In 1933, the College, having been acquired by Lancashire County Council moved into imposing new buldings on St. Helens Road at the outskirts of Ormskirk.

From 1941-46 the College was evacuated to Bingley the West Riding, and shared premises with the training college there. Its buildings were converted into a hospital.

Tangible evidence still remains of the occupation, from a number of temporary wooden huts to a small brick building firmly believed to have been used as a mortuary.

Life must have been pleasant and comfortable for the 250 residential students and 25 staff in 1957. It seemss to have been a close-knit, efficient and happy community. But many surprises, even shocks, were around the corner. In 1958, 41 men students were admitted. In 1960 an extra year was added to the two-year course.

In 1961-62 a significant expansion took place and many new buildings were added. By 1963 nearly 600 men and women were at Eage Hill, of whom about 500 were in residence.

Growth goes steadily on

The College has continued to grow ever since, until last September 944 students. 310 men and 634 women, as well as 112 staff were on the 45-acre campus, 508 students were in residence, 274 in approved lodgings and 162 lived at home. Some were of maturer years and the oldest student was in fact 56. Edge Hill is now among the ten largest of the 160 colleges of education in England and Wales. Next September it will have over 1,000 students.

Recent years have seen many important developments. The College is no longer fully residential. All second year students have to live out. Many homes in Ormskirk, Aughton and Burscough have been opened to them and the College is grateful for all the kindness and understanding which have been so readily shown. The hostesses are firm friends of the College and are represented on the joint staff-student lodgings committee.

Other links too are being steadily forged with the locality through such bodies as the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Ormskirk and District Schools’ Sports Association, Rotary and U.N.A.

In College all areas of study are under incessant review. Departments responsible for the “traditional” subjects are constantly re-shaping the content of syllabuses, redesigning fresh approaches and evolving more flexible modes of examination.

New subjects have been introduced: inter atia, careers guidance, drama, the educa-tion of immigrant children, the education of slow-learning children. French. German, international studies, social work three-dimensional studies, as well as woodwork.

Exchange with other countries

Since 1948 Edge Hill has been a constituent college of the Institute of Education of Liverpool University and in 1965 its students were permitted to study for a four year B. Ed. degree.

This term 23 students from France and Germany are studying here for six weeks and Edge Hill students have taken their places abroad.

Each year thousands of teachers undertake further study in College. This term [..] are studying full-time. Others come for a day, a week-end or a week. Some attend one day a week over a period of months. In January this year a curriculum development centre, under the uidance of a teacher of Lancashire Education Authority was opened in one of the College houses on Ruff Lane.

In 1966 the College took the initative of offering the accommodation to County Hall.
At the beginning of the year too a new education block and multi-purpose hall were completed. Both buildings are wired for closed circuit television within the last few weeks.

© 1968 Liverpool Daily Post.

Thanks to Alison Gow, Executive Editor (digital) for Liverpool Daily Post & Echo for helping me get permission to republish bits from the supplement.


Dredge was the name of Edge Hill’s rag magazine from – I believe – 1969. At least that’s the only date written in there and seems to fit in with the principal’s reign. Ken Millins introduces the mag with a poem:

I wish Dredge well,
Just Rag hilarity,
It deserves to sell,
In the cause of charity.

P. K. C. Millins,

Flicking through there are quite a few adverts for companies you might recognise. Ormskirk Motors is still going strong on County Road.  Taylor’s seems to have had it’s spot on Moor Street since The Dawn Of Time (although I’d be interested to know what Fancy Goods they sell!).  The Ormskirk Advertiser closed its office and moved production to Southport a couple of years ago while Woolworth’s old building is about to become an Iceland.  The award for most fitting advert (considering it’s in a rag mag) has to go to Hattersley Valve Company.

If you enjoy reading Dredge why not donate some money (at least 2/-) to Rag?