Centenary Profile

We are proud of our historical origins. This page is a celebration of our past.

THE BEGINNING

Margaret Langdon first formed a committee of young women in 1912 to establish a residential Jewish school in the healthy countryside, but everything was put on hold during the First World War. In July 1919, a new Delamere Committee met to prepare new plans, raise funds and get the school built on the site Miss Langdon had found at Norley, Delamere. The Foundation stones were laid a year later and in 1921 the Jewish Fresh Air Home and School for Delicate Manchester and Salford Children (later renamed Delamere Forest School) was opened.

The first children were admitted to the school on 11 July 1921 and it accommodated 20 boys and 20 girls. The school was officially opened on 23 July 1922 by Mr. Lionel de Rothschild and the building was dedicated by Chief Rabbi Dr Hertz.

LATER HISTORY

For a comprehensive explanation of the origins and later management and development of the school, listen to this fascinating extract from Margaret Langdon’s recollections of Delamere School which she recorded in 1978.

Although the school had to close in 2011, the charity continues under the name Delamere Charitable Trust to help to transform the lives of Jewish children with special educational needs and disabilities.

You can read more about the school’s history here.

ACCESSING THE SCHOOL’S ARCHIVES

When the school finally closed, the charity made arrangements to ensure historical records and artefacts were preserved for posterity.

Before leaving the site, photographs were taken of most of the foundation stones, memorial dedications, memorial boards and windows throughout the building. These have been kept in a special hard copy Memorial Album but you can view the individual photos here.

Many historic documents and images were handed over for safekeeping to the Jewish Archives section of Manchester Central Library who carefully collated and indexed all the material. To arrange to view any of these archives, please look at the Archives Access Page to make an advance appointment. Choose what you want to view from the Index first and give a minimum of one working day’s notice.  You can also phone the Archives on 0161 234 1979. Please note that access to personal information may be restricted.

Manchester Jewish Museum already held various Delamere memorabilia and documents including Annual Reports but took a few further items after closure including the old Delamere Forest School sign. The museum may display some of these items from time to time.

AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDINGS

We have assembled a few film, video and audio recordings online to celebrate this centenary.

In 1969, Sefton Samuels produced a charming film entitled “Autumn in Delamere” which illustrated the life and work of the school and which has been stored by the British Film Institute Library.

In 2020, before our School Reunion plans had to be cancelled because of the Covid pandemic, we interviewed Mignon Franks (Social Work Assistant, Social Worker and Governor) and Barbara Goodman (Governor, Vice-Chair and Chair) on their recollections of life at the school. Their accounts of their experiences are well worth watching if you want to know more about the school’s past.

DELAMERE SCHOOL SITE

The old school site holds fond memories for many past pupils, staff members and supporters. Unfortunately, after Delamere sold the site in late 2011, it proved a magnet for local vandals who stripped the site bare. In the last few years the new owners have secured planning approval for a small high quality housing development, mainly on the footprint of the old school buildings and construction started in 2020. We understand the new development is to be named Margaret Langdon Close. We have created a short slideshow of a few images of the site during the last 100 years.

DELAMERE SCHOOL PERSONALITIES AND ACTIVITIES

Countless photographs recorded school personalities and activities over the years and most of them are now held in the Manchester Jewish Archives. However we have put together a short trip down “Memory Lane” here .