William Henry Smith School

This is an article that appeared in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner on 14th May 2010

Golcar man tells of abuse at William Henry Smith School

May 14 2010 by Sam Casey

A SEX abuse victim has spoken for the first time of his ordeal at the hands of a sordid school master.

The 54-year-old recalled how depraved Peter Beall would summon him into his office, make him put on silk shorts, subject him to beatings and then fondle him.

Beall – who was headmaster at William Henry Smith School in Rastrick in the 1960s, 70s and 80s – is thought to have died several years ago.

But, as reported last month, a bid has been launched by former pupils to sue the school governors and the trustees of the Smith Foundation – the charity behind it.

The man, from Golcar, decided to speak out after reading about the case in the Examiner.

He said: “I have never mentioned it to anyone before, but when I saw that and I thought it was about time somebody was speaking out.

“Something needs to be done.”

William Henry Smith School, on Boothroyd Lane, is a boarding school for boys with social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was a pupil there from the age of 12 to 16, between 1968 and 1972.

He said he would have left at 15, but was put under pressure by Beall to stay on for another year.

He remembers being sent to the headmaster’s office for trivial misdemeanours throughout his time there.

“You would get sent to see him for anything, it didn’t even have to be that bad,” he said.

“I used to dread going to his office – I would be physically sick.

“He would put these silky shorts on you, give you the cane and then put you on his lap.

"Then he would molest you. He took great delight in it."

“I knew it was wrong, but what can you say? It’s the headmaster’s word against yours.”

The man said the abuse was widespread, but the boys did not talk about it.

And he recalled trying to avoid Beall in the corridors of the school.

“If he walked past me he would pinch my bum,” he said.

“I suppose I was one of his favourite pupils because I never said anything back to him.”

The man later worked in textiles but is now unemployed. He has been unable to hold down a job for several years and claimed the abuse had a devastating effect on him.

He was married for two years and had two children, but his relationship with his wife fell apart.

He said: “It took me a long time to get used to girls. I didn’t start courting until I was in my 20s because I used to shy away.

“We went to that school for a reason – to become better members of society – not to be abused.

“But he made it worse for us.”

As reported in April, lawyers for a 47-year-old man have filed a writ in the High Court alleging Beall “emotionally, sexually and physically abused and assaulted him between October, 1976, and July, 1979”.

But Alan Collins, a solicitor for Hampshire-based firm Verisona, said there were many more cases.

Mr Collins said he was representing about 20 people who were seeking claims against the school.

He said: “It’s quite a wide-ranging case, over a long period of time. But there are lots of similarities among the experiences.”

In an unrelated criminal investigation, West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that five people have been arrested over allegations of sexual and physical abuse stretching back many years.

Four men, aged 64, 64, 66 and 43, and a 43-year-old woman are on bail.

Mr Collins said the compensation case would await the outcome of the investigation.

For more on this article I suggest that you go the newspaper's website which is at:www.examiner.co.uk

Below is a selection of organisations/instutions/bodies we are frequently instructed to pursue.


  • Private schools, boarding schools, local authority schools, closed schools, hospital schools.


  • The Scouts Association, St Johns Ambulance, MIND, the Children’s Society, Barnados.

Private companies

  • Football trainers, judo teachers, dance instructors, swimming instructors, holiday activity centres, nurseries, youth clubs.

Local Authorities/Ministry of Defence

  • County Councils, Borough Councils, City Councils, ILEA, cadets, navy/ army (forces).

National Health Service Trusts/Commissioning Boards/GPs

  • Hospitals, Disability care centres, children’s care providers.


  • Convicted perpetrators, acquitted perpetrators.

Children’s Homes

  • Respite care, full time children’s home, part-time children’s homes.

Religious Institutions

  • Roman Catholic Church, United Synagogue, Sisters of Nazareth, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Brothers Order.

Foster Carers

  • Permanent carers, temporary carers

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