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Reader’s letter: A headteacher from history with a love for school rugby and a ‘driving force’ behind Children’s Day

Sir;- TV Harrison was a headteacher in Leeds, whose main sporting love was rugby. A fan of the Hunslet team, he encouraged schools to include the sport on their curriculum and was elected first chairman of the Leeds Schools’ Rugby Union (as it was called then, but was certainly affiliated to the Northern Union game, which later became Rugby League).

He continued to promote the sport, and when Hunslet schools broke away in 1921 to form their own association, he was elected as their first chairman too.

The Harrison Shield was first played for by Hunslet schools in 1922 and has been contested ever since – it is now presented to the winners of the Leeds & Hunslet Schools’ Rugby League Under 15 (Year 10) cup final, which will be played at the South Leeds Stadium (John Charles Centre for Sport) on Monday, 23 January.

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TV Harrison taught all his career in south Leeds and lived in north Leeds in later life; he had no association with west Leeds. He was not headteacher at Armley Christ Church school as has been stated on social media, he was headteacher at Christ Church School in Hunslet.

Whilst TV Harrison was certainly a “driving force” in the establishment of Children’s Day in 1922, I’m not sure that the acquisition of the Oldfield Lane ground was his “brain child” as claimed. Subscription for the purchase of the ground began in 1928, TV Harrison died in early 1929 after “months of illness” according to his obituary in April 1929. Whilst he did preside at the handing over of the ground to the Leeds Elementary Schools’ Athletic Association in October 1928, this was very much in an honorary position.

His name was given to the ground as he had been a well-respected figure in education and particularly school sport, who had passed away before the official opening of the ground in 1931.

As to what TV Harrison would or would not think about the sale of the Oldfield Lane ground, which WLD has followed closely, this is all very much supposition.

For my part, I feel he would think that the ground had served children and sport very well for a significant number of years, but is perhaps not a suitable facility for the 21st century. Money accrued from the sale of the ground, if spent wisely, could be of more use to the development of sport city-wide in Leeds.

Steve Boothroyd
Secretary
Leeds & Hunslet Schools’ Rugby League

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