Bretton Hall College was founded in 1949 by Sir Alec Clegg, Chief Education Officer for the West Riding. Clegg had established the West Riding as a pioneering and innovative authority for education, and the college became renowned for outstanding courses in the arts and education.
The College grew from the original 56 pupils to over 2000 in 2007. Many students have gone on to exciting careers in the arts and education, and some have become household names such as Sir Ken Robinson, Mark Thomas, Richard O’Brian and John Godber.
The main focus of the College was the mansion house that is at the centre of the Estate. The creation of the College opened this beautiful house to students who were able to draw inspiration from the historic buildings and landscape that surrounded it.
"I initially chose to study at Bretton Hall as it had a reputation for excellence within the creative arts. When I started my degree I realised that I was incredibly fortunate to be amongst such creativity and to be surrounded by a unique environment that inspired so many of us and the work that we produced. The 3 years that I spent at Bretton gave me a love and appreciation of the Arts that has stayed with me ever since. It was a joy to be a student there.
Elizabeth Lewney, BA (hons) English and Drama, 1998–2001
In 1977 College lecturer Peter Murray
proposed siting sculpture in the Estate, opening the landscape to the public for the first time and providing artists with the opportunity to explore sculptural issues in the open-air. And so, out of Bretton Hall, Yorkshire Sculpture Park evolved. YSP is committed to keeping the educational ethos of Bretton alive via its support of emerging artists and the learning programme that see’s thousands of people involved in participatory workshops and events every year.
When the College closed in 2007, the buildings were sold to Wakefield Council and YSP took over the management of the whole 500 acre landscape. Wakefield Council is now working in conjunction with development company Rushbond Plc to transform the Hall into a luxury hotel.
As the Hall enters its next phase in history, we recognise how well placed YSP is to offer a connection to those who studied and worked at the College. We hope that through this site, the alumni enews and annual reunion, we are able to help you maintain a relationship with the Estate, offering opportunities for you to get involved and support us as we commit to keeping this special place free and accessible to all.
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and tick the Bretton Hall College News box.