School’s history in new book

Patricia Duffy: Pontefract author publishes new book on the history of the old Willow Park Senior Girls School.'p317a443

Patricia Duffy: Pontefract author publishes new book on the history of the old Willow Park Senior Girls School.'p317a443

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A woman has written a book about the history of a “forward-thinking” girls’ school in Pontefract.

Patricia Duffy, of Carleton Road, Pontefract, has revealed what life was like for pupils at Willow Park Senior Girls’ School from 1929 to 1960.

The book, titled The Willow Park Senior Girls’ School, is told through the memoirs of two former teachers.

It also examines logbooks from the headmistresses, which reveal how the mining demonstrations and declaration of World War I affected the staff and pupils.

Mrs Duffy, who worked at Pontefract Library for 37 years, said: “I have always had an interest in local history and took an interest in the school while working at the library.

“The biology and English teachers give a real insight into what it was like to live and work through those times, especially the effect it had on the girls.”

Mrs Duffy said the school was ahead of its time as the pupils were encouraged to get a full education rather than to go into motherhood.

“It was common in the early 1930s for girls to leave school and have a child,” she added

“But Willow Park was a forward thinking school and wanted the best for the girls.”

Mrs Duffy said the building was demolished in 2012.

Copies of the book are available from Pontefract Museum for £7.50.

It is crammed full of photographs of teachers and pupils who attended the school.

Mrs Duffy said: “There were lots of girls who went there so people may recognise them in the pictures.”

She is also working on a new book in collaboration with other authors about the history of Chequerfield.