Archive and Special Collections

Carnegie... in the beginning

This June will see the inaugural Carnegie School of Sport Reunion held on our Headingley Campus. To help celebrate the occasion I’ve written a little piece about the early History of Carnegie College.

Carnegie Physical Training College was officially opened by Lord Irwin on 13th October 1933. The college was built in response to the perceived need for quality training for men teaching physical education. A requirement identified as early as 1923 by Captain Grenfell’s Survey of boys secondary schools in which he lamented the lack of men teachers and the ‘inefficiency’ of the training. Throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s, this need was highlighted by headmasters and education authorities across the country. The authorities recognised that a tradition of excellent physical training for women had already been established. In 1929 the Government and Carnegie UK Trust had established a joint committee to look into the establishment of a college of physical education for male teachers. The Carnegie Trust supplied a grant for £30,000 toward the cost of building such a college. James Graham, Director of Education for Leeds was the driving force behind Leeds bid to be the venue although sadly he died before completion. He envisaged the new Carnegie Hall being sited next to the existing City of Leeds Training College. This location and proximity was to prove fruitful to both institutions over the coming years.

Carnegie Hall was built as a replica of the original 1912 halls of residence of the neighbouring training college and contained 60 study bedrooms, a common room, dining room, lounge and library. Many of the facilities of the training college were enjoyed by Carnegie students, including the swimming pool and social functions such as dances and concerts. Ernest Major was appointed first Warden of Carnegie, his leadership set the foundation of Carnegie’s reputation as a centre of quality in the teaching of physical education at both a national and international level.

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