[ Skellfield School, girls' boarding school, Ripon, North Yorkshire: autograph poems by the first intake of students, 1877 and 1878. ] The album of Mary A. Hinchcliffe, containing autograph poems and prose 'From Her Fellow Students'.

Skellfield School, girls' boarding school, Ripon, North Yorkshire, founded in 1877 [ Mary A. Hinchcliffe ]
Publication details: 
[ Skellfield School for Girls,] Ripon, North Yorkshire. 1877 and 1878.]
SKU: 20309

Skellfield School was founded as a girls' boarding school in 1877 at Alma House, the former residence of Thomas Stubbs, Governor of the House of Correction. It occupied the building until 1927, when it transferred to Baldersby Park, at Topcliffe, near Thirsk. Naomi Jacob was a day pupil. It closed in 1970. For further information on the school see Yates, 'The History of Skellfield School 1877-1929'. 80pp., 4to. In attractive purple cloth binding, all edges gilt, with gilt decoration on spine and front cover. In good condition, in good tight binding whose purple is fading to lavender. Three-page index at rear, in which most of the contributors, have written their signatures. The album also contains four 'Birthday Circles' – geometric arrangements containing signatures and dates of birth – one by Lily Nellis (18 individuals); two ('First Year' and 'Second Year') by 'Pollie', i.e. M. A. Gargrave (her two totalling 35 individuals). The first piece, no doubt by Hinchcliffe, is a poem 'To my Friends', dated 3 November 1877. A touching and sentimental collection, largely comprising transcriptions of published poems (including 'The Curfew', 'College Friends'; 'Lesson Bells'; 'The Examination'), but with at least one original composition relating directly to the school: Clarrie Oldfield's 'Student's Own Time', with its references to 'Mr. Badcock' ('Liturgy and Catechism'), 'Miss Mustard' ('Mental Arithmetic'), 'Miss Grant' ('recitation'), 'Miss Goodacre' ('memory snaps'), 'Miss Palin' ('sketches to write'), 'Mr Crowe' ('transposition'). Also apparently original is Kate Nevill's 'The Student's Dream' ('On a mattress hard in a bedroom small, | Her head to the pillow pressed'). 'The Holidays' by 'Irene' is an adaptation of a contemporary school rhyme, including the lines: 'Out of Ripon we shall trip' and concluding 'Good-bye church, Good-bye steeple | Good-bye to all the Ripon people'. The album only contains a handful of prose pieces, notable among which is 'College Fare' by Annie Bell ('1st. Year Student | May 18th. 1878'), an apparently-original humorous academic repast in seven courses ('2nd. Course. Stewed Decimals dished and garnished with the Metric System.'). There are contributions by around sixty individuals: Ellen Lakin; Eliza Brearley; S. Blenkinsop; Sallie Green; E. Everingham; Clara ('Clarrie') Oldfield; Esther Charlesworth; Kate Strefford (2 items); Annie Greenwood; 'H. W. B.'; Margaret ('Maggie') A. Tomlinson; M. E. Brown; Emily Nelson; Jane ('Janie') Lee; Kate Ardren; Martha A. Chappell (two), E. Rookledge; E. S. Roberts; K. Sasson ('Kissy T'); Annie Radcliffe; Lily Clegg; M. A. ('Pollie') Gargrave (3 items, including two 'Birthday Circles'); S. J. Smith; Alice A. Bentley; M. J. ('Jennie') Berkill; Annie Bell; Amelia ('Pollie') Pugh; Emma Cotton; Lizzie Wilkinson; Charlotte T. Wood; Emily Mahony; Pollie Bently; Emily Mahony; L. Rowe; Alice A. Wilkinson; Lydia Beaumont; Kate Tallon; 'to Pollie from “Irene”'; Rachel Pickles; Lily Nellis; Annie Holgate; J. Jackson; Sarah Sayles; M. J. ('Jennie') Eddleston; Jennie Todd; Kate Revill; Sarah Mayor; Eliza A. Manby; Elizabeth ('Lizzie') Pallett; Julia Hooson; Maggie McCallum; Maggie Gill; Maria Keates; Lucy Jagger; Sallie Mayor; Elizabeth W. Roe; Elizabeth ('Lizzie') Darby; Bessie Royle. All the contributions date from 1877 and 1878, except for a final piece, ''Twas Eve', signed by W. J. Straw and dated 16 December 1883.