Changes I have seen in Barwick Back to the Main Historical Society page

Changes I have seen in Barwick

from Barwicker No. 57


My earliest memories of Barwick start in 1937 when I lived at No.40 Main Street. No.40 was not the neat little terrace house that it is today, but was in need of many repairs and indeed had been 'condemned' as had many other properties in Barwick. Therefore in 1938 when the allotments in Chapel Lane were taken over and the site used to build 'council houses' in Welfare Avenue and Croft Way, it was a big change for many families to be rehoused into accommodation which included a bathroom (no longer the zinc bath in front of the fire) and an inside toilet. Although the houses had been condemned they were re-let during the war years in some cases to house evacuees from London and other places.

In 1950-51, the houses in Carrfield Road were built. Some of the older houses in The Boyle were demolished in the late 1950s and replaced with the first purpose built bungalows for Old Age Pensioners. More bungalows were built in Carrfield Road for the senior citizens together with the John Rylie House which was opened in 1974.

In 1959 a new sewerage scheme was built around Barwick and Scholes and this enabled the mass housing development to take place. Flats Lane and the Gascoigne estates were the first to be built followed by the Richmondfields and Elmwood Avenue, and in more recent years Parlington and Beck Meadows were built.


In 1937 I started school when Mr Ashworth was headmaster although I don't remember much about him or Mr Spedding who succeeded him as headmaster. Mr Gray was the head I remember most and he was all right. Miss Shillito and Miss Grimshaw were the other teachers at Barwick. Pupils who passed the scholarship went to Leeds to secondary school but after the 1944 Education Act, we all had to go to Tadcaster Grammar School or Parlington Secondary Modern School (where the new houses have been built in Aberford) and in more recent years to Sherburn High School followed by Boston Spa High School.

As a result of all the house building in the village, the school was not big enough to cope with all the extra children and a large extension was built and opened in 1965. The extension included a school hall, a staff room and a kitchen so that meals were cooked on the premises and not transported in. It was not long before the school again became overcrowded and temporary classrooms were erected in the school grounds, and in 1971, the Infants School (for 5-7 year olds) was built.

In the early 1970s we had two schools; the Infants' (5-7 year olds) and the Junior (7-11 year olds) but the numbers gradually declined and in 1985 it was decided to close the Junior School and merge with the Infants School as it is today. The extension to the Junior School was demolished and redeveloped into 'Schoolgate'. The old school was left empty and became a sad sight with boards at the windows and we now wait with interest to see what the new development of the school will be.


In 1937 there were two medical practices in Barwick: Dr Knowles held his surgery at No.70 Main Street and Dr Young held his at No.66 Main Street. In each case the waiting room was outside in Main Street and the consulting room was the 'front' room of these houses. In later years both doctors moved to houses lower down Main Street where patients could wait inside (an improvement!).

It was in the early 1950s that Dr Smith bought 'Elmwood House' and the adjoining cottages which were later developed into a garage and a surgery with a large waiting room and also a dispensary. This was in use until 1987 when the present Medical Centre with all its modern facilities was opened.


One of the most recent changes which we have all witnessed in the village is the improvement the Barwick in Bloom team have made with the flowers and shrubs etc. and their hard work. The success they have achieved is a good way to move forward to the new Millenium.


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