Plaque at 56 Tadcaster Road, Dringhouses, York YO24 1LR

The Grade II-listed building which now houses Dringhouses Library began its life as the village school in about 1850 and subsequently became a reading room in 1904 and the village library in 1942. The school, created on the initiative of Mrs Trafford Leigh née Barlow, the then Lord of the Manor, consisted of the classroom building, the adjacent schoolmaster’s house and another cottage. The school was built of brick, in English bond, with a pantile roof. The windows to the front of the school have the original geometrical glazing. The original room was considerably extended at the back in order to accommodate increased pupil numbers and a small lean-to was added on the left hand return wall. A small modern extension houses the library office and a WC.

During the 19th century the school was also used for community events such as entertainments and meetings and, when the school moved into new premises in 1904, the building became the village reading and recreation room. Here the local population might typically hold dances and whist drives, perform plays, listen to talks or read newspapers and magazines.

After Col George Wilkinson, the last Lord of the Manor of Dringhouses, died in 1941, the reading room was given to the City of York ‘to be used for the benefit of the Citizens of York and particularly the inhabitants of Dringhouses’. The corporation decided that the building would be used as a public branch library to be known as the Wilkinson Memorial Library. At first it was managed by North Yorkshire County Council and it is now run by Explore York Libraries and Archives, a Community Benefit Society.

Lord Wilkinson’s daughter Fanny Rollo Wilkinson has a York Civic Trust plaque at Middlethorpe Hall in her own right at Middlethorpe Hall Fanny as the first professional woman landscape designer in United Kingdom.

Text composed by Elizabeth Smith and Dinah Tyszka, based on research carried out by Dorothy Reed and Elizabeth Smith, members of Dringhouses Local History Group (DLHG).

More information about Dringhouses Library is included in a publication by DLHG:  Discovering Dringhouses 2, More aspects of a Village History.  Chapter 1 At the Heart of the Community [Village School, Reading Room, Local library]. It was published in 2016, ISBN 987-0-9566581-1-1.


R.A. Stott, ‘Dringhouses School, 1863-70’ (typed manuscript held in Dringhouses Library)

York Herald, 19 December 1968

White’s York Directory, 1895

Kelly’s York Directory, 1912

Rex C. Russell, Living and Learning in Lincolnshire, 1830-1890, (Hull, 1994)

Deed of gift of Reading Room to York City Council, 24 June 1942 (Copy held at Dringhouses Library)

Historic England website:, entry 1256464