Historic former school in Leeds will not be forgotten

Lynda Kitching, Todd Hannula and Coun Judith Blake
Lynda Kitching, Todd Hannula and Coun Judith Blake
Have your say

A past pupil of a historic former school has helped immortalise the site by leaving a legacy in her will to fund a blue plaque for the building.

Irene Revie, who was a member of the Leeds Civic Trust and a pupil at Gipton Board School, left a generous sum of money to the trust when she died – some of which was used to sponsor the plaque.

The blue plaque

The blue plaque

The school building, which was transformed and opened as Shine Business Centre in 2008, is now a state-of-the-arts centre for the community.

Coun Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, unveiled the plaque, which reads in part: “This magnificent building, erected by the Leeds School Board in 1897, provided an elecemtary education for boys and girls up to the age of 14.”

Coun Blake said: “I am delighted with the blue plaque scheme and I love going around the city to look at the different sites.

“And most importantly, to celebrate how the places have been used- in this case how many thousands of children have come through these magnificent doors.

“We need to continue and ensure that the education of our young people is absolutely central to what we do as a city. Shine is a wonderful name for the building and you can actually feel the good work that comes out of here.”

The Leeds School Board was created following the Elementary Education Act of 1870 to run schools providing elementary education for Leeds.

Gipton Board School on Harehills Road was designed by architect Walter Samual Braithwaite. It provided education for boys and girls between the ages of four and 14.

It was later known as Harehills Middle School before it closed in 1986 and was refurbished as Shine.

Todd Hannula, the founder of Shine, said: “The plaque is special in marking history and shows that we have something to live up to. The building was a place of education and even today it is a place of education in many modern ways. I think we try to uphold the vision that the architects had back then to make this a dramatic space.”

Dr Kevin Grady, director of Leeds Civic Trust, said: “This is a magnificent statement of how important education is in the city. There are many schools around the city whose futures may be uncertain but it is rather splendid that this one has been so well regenerated and will serve the city for the future.”

It is the 148th plaque to be installed in Leeds by the trust.

Lynda Kitching, trust chairwoman, said: “We are very proud of our blue plaque scheme. It is one of the most respected in the country.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

Sheffield Mutual achieves solid results as investment ISA grows in popularity