THE tradition of Lifelong Learning in York (The Press, November 4) has a long history in this city.

The Adult School movement started in the 1850s in Hope Street, and because of its popularity quickly moved to five rooms in Lady Peckitt’s Yard (Pavement).

Even then, the numbers of adults who passed through its doors continued to grow – up to 300 members.

When the Methodist Chapel in Lady Peckitt’s Yard was pulled down, a new Adult School was built.

The foundation stone was laid by Sarah Rowntree in 1875 and 600 people attended the celebratory tea.

Local Quakers were deeply involved in this educational movement in York, that involved considerable voluntary time offered by its teachers.

The nature of the Bible-based education in those days was to create “a band of thoughtful men” and give encouragement to people to find fellowship in their everyday lives. Women were not forgotten and they, too, had their classes.

There were also communal breakfasts and lending libraries, as well as annual excursions – to Sheriff Hutton in 1860 for instance.

Bridget Morris, Executive secretary, The Rowntree Society.