Bretton Hall College of Education

Coordinates: 53°36′39″N 1°34′22″W / 53.6107°N 1.5729°W / 53.6107; -1.5729
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Bretton Hall (2007), shortly before closure of the campus

Bretton Hall College of Education was a higher education college in West Bretton in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. It opened as a teacher training college in 1949 with awards from the University of Leeds. The college merged with the University of Leeds in 2001 and the campus closed in 2007.


In 1949 Bretton Hall College, a teacher training college founded by Alec Clegg specialising in innovative courses in design, music and the visual and performance arts, opened in the historic Bretton Hall in West Bretton, Yorkshire. It became an affiliated college of the University of Leeds, which validated its degrees.

The college had financial difficulties, and, with the support of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), merged with the University of Leeds in August 2001. Most of the music, fine art and teacher training courses were moved to the Leeds campus, but visual and performing arts education and creative writing remained at the Bretton site, which became home to the University's School of Performance and Cultural Industries.

In December 2004 the university's governing body reversed an earlier decision and decided that the Bretton Hall site was not financially viable, and the School of Performance and Cultural Industries should move to the main university campus in summer 2007, allowing all existing Bretton-based students to complete their studies there. The closure was documented on the BBC website by student Clair Parker.[1]

In June 2006 it was announced that Bretton Hall was to be sold to Wakefield Council. On 3 May 2007 John Godber presented Final Curtain, a documentary on Bretton Hall, broadcast on BBC Radio 4. On 5 and 6 May 2007, a reunion was organised for the alumni and students of Bretton Hall between 1947 and 2007 as a celebration of the school's contribution to the arts industry and also the academic excellence it produced over sixty years. On the Saturday, Mike Levon staged a concert in the Music Salon. In November 2007 it was announced that Bretton Hall would be developed as a luxury hotel and spa.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) was founded in the college parkland by Bretton Hall lecturer Peter Murray CBE. YSP has become a leading international art centre renowned for art and performance in the landscape. When the college closed, Yorkshire Sculpture Park took over the estate grounds and lakes.[2][3]

In May 2013 a series of special visits to the former hostels (halls of residence) was co-organised by Wakefield Council, YSP, the developer Rushbond and Bretton Hall alumni. Photographs were taken of every hostel room.[4] A further event was organised in September 2013 to visit the mansion. Rushbond will ensure that a complete photographic record will be taken of the building before refurbishment.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Parker, Clair."Bye-bye Bretton Hall",, 2 November 2005. Retrieved on 25 February 2008.
  2. ^ Announcement from Wakefield Council about the future use of Bretton Hall, November 2007 Archived July 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Bretton Hall". Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  4. ^ "Hostel images 2013". Bretton Hall 1947-2007. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  5. ^ Roberts, Emily (22 August 2010). "Mistress of her own destiny". Basingstoke Gazette. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  6. ^ Brennan, Ailis; A Younger Theatre. Retrieved 11 December 2018
  7. ^ a b c "College demolition starts in hotel plan". BBC News. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Two men, one road and a most unusual journey". The Herald. 13 April 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  9. ^ Finnegan, Stephanie (13 April 2017). "WATCH: Historic Bretton Hall razed to ground to make way for hotel". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b Mansfield, Karl; Curtis, Polly (15 December 2004). "Performing arts college to close". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  11. ^ Snow, Georgia (27 August 2014). "Drama school to be turned into hotel complex | News". The Stage. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Hodges, Lucy (26 November 1998). "Education: A-Z of Higher Education Colleges Bretton Hall". The Independent. Retrieved 24 June 2019.

External links[edit]

53°36′39″N 1°34′22″W / 53.6107°N 1.5729°W / 53.6107; -1.5729