Countless Old Boys, had memories of the time when Mr. M.V. Steggall was Headmaster (1903 1937). Many spoke highly of what he did, even if as some rather heroically claim there were those cross country runs before breakfast.When he started at Scorton there were two other full time members of staff and two visiting masters, and about twenty boys. One of the most important acts of this early period was to start a school library.

For several years, there appears to have been a dispute as to whether the school should develop on the lines of a Grammar School, like Richmond, or whether it should become a Higher Elementary School, to meet the needs of those who required an education more advanced than elementary. but not as advanced as in a Grammar School. Inspectors who visited the school in 1906 urged that English, History, Geography. Practical Mathematics, Natural Science, Drawing and Carpentry should be tought with little emphasis an Latin and Greek.

The matter was not settled there. In 1912, it was decided by the Governors to carry out alterations to the school buildings at an estimated cost of £2,500 to give a secondary education to both boys and girls of the district.

By 1913, there were forty boys at Scorton and the field behind the school was rented for football and cricket, and the following year the size of the boys dining hall was doubled.

Unfortunately, all plans for the school were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. Most members of staff left for war service, and in the Spring Term of 1916 a Cadet Corps was formed, affiliated to the 4th -Battalion Alexandra Princess of Wales 's Own Yorkshire Regiment (later the Green Howards). All boys were compelled to join this corps which flourished during the war years and for many years afterwards.

School Core - 1922

Seventeen Old Boys were among those who fell in the war, on speech Day, 1919 a memorial plaque to them was unveiled by Colonel (later Sir) M.J. Wilson, who had been Chairman of the Governors from 1907 until 1911. This is the inscription on the Memorial which existed on a corridor wall in school until its final years.

PRO PATRIA
1914 - 1918
Edward Rust William Peacock
Herbert Godfrey Baldwin Richard Nelson Embleton
Oswald Thomas Walton John Battye
Richard William Proctor Harry Battye
Noel Bromwell Hall Basil Bennison
Howard Coldbeck William Henry Bew
John Ripley Frank Abercrombie Boyd
Harry Rogers William Robson Cherry
Frederick Iley  
For our brothers who for all our praying to this dear school of ours come back no more, Who lie, our country's debt of honour paying - and not in vain in vain upon a foreign shore;: Till that great day when at the Throne in Heaven the books are opened and judgement set, Your lives for honour and for Britain given The School will not forget.


The period between the the World Wars was marked by many developments. In 1920 the land and property from which the school gained its income was sold, with the exception of the large field behind the school, far £6,485, and much of the proceeds was devoted to enlarging the boarding house by the addition of two dormitories and washroom facilities. The date, 1922 can still be seen inscribed an the outside of the building,

The following year saw the erection of a sports pavilion in the school field (near the site of the jumping pits) and a school wireless aerial. There was a great interest in this new hobby; crystal sets abounded and every boy claimed to have received the Newcastle Broadcasting Station, though the London Station had only been picked up an one piece of apparatus.

Another aspect of school life is revealed in the letter of an Old Buy. Boys at this time were given two pence pocket money on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a halfpenny for church on Sunday. Boarders were allowed to take their own jam to school, but this could only be eaten at tea time (again on Wednesdays and Saturdays).
By the late 1920's there were seventy boys in the school. Eight hundred books in the library, and between 1903 and 1929 ten boys entered university. In 1929, an inspector visiting the school found it "a pleasant and friendly school ...... conduct good…. class room accommodation overcrowded and the buildings not well ventilated ..."

The 1930's was a time of varied activity. In 1930 a stir seems to have been caused by the arrival and erection of the school's own electrical power station. In the same year, the weathercock was removed and a rifle bullet hole in its tail repaired.

1931 was the year when the school soccer XI scored thirty goals against Bedale Grammar School in two fixtures, and in 1932 one boy was badly injured on the night of Guy Fawkes.

1935 is remembered for the installation of electricity in the hall, and 1937 for the first 'talkie' picture to be seen in the school.

1937 is remembered too for the retirement of Mr. Steggall. During his time, the laboratory (later "the Practical Room), the old gymnasium, workshop, pavilion, rifle range and library (which had over a thousand books in 1937) had come into existence.

As Mr E. Westwood took over the school in 1938, fears of war could not be far away The school, Scout Troop was founded the same year, but all hope of further development was soon to be squashed. On November 23rd 1939, the Headmasters study was taken over as an Air Raid Warden's Post, and war had come again with a vengeance.