21 Apr 2017

Old Skool Demolition

Maths block and Science Labs gone
Roof tiles stripped. Library open to the elements
I have to drive past my old school quite regularly at the moment, so couldn't help noticing that it is in the process of being demolished.

The buildings have been boarded up for the best part of a decade, so the demolition is not entirely unexpected, but it is still very sad to see it happening.

Not so much because I liked my old school. Most of my classmates clearly didn't want to be there and some were quite nasty towards anybody who did. That meant I didn't get on quite as well as my middle school teachers and parents had hoped.

It was also the wrong kind of school for me, tending to turn out apprentices for the local shipyards and factories rather than in preparing pupils for A levels, University and high flying careers in the Civil Service....

With the benefit of hindsight, I was definitely held back by going to Woolston Secondary Schoool, but at least it was local to where I lived. After 5 years of walking well over a mile (with little legs) four times a day to & from the middle school (Mum insisted that I came home for lunch), proximity was the most attractive feature of this particular school. When I had the chance, I put my foot down and insisted that's Woolston Secondary was where I was going. The bus ride into Southampton if I went to King Edward VI School really did not appeal.

The expensive extension is being demolished too...
It is also sad to see this demolition in progress, because the school had a £multi-million extension circa 1990 and that's being demolished too..

It seems such a waste of public money, as the school closed in 2008 with the new part of the building being used for less than 20 years.

Taxpayers money is clearly inconsequential to the local education authorities, and that makes me very angry. Doubly so when I look at the Wikipedia page and see that the history of the old school has been successfully sanitised, so that any hint of criticism of the education authorities and their gross incompetence is avoided.

On a more cheerful note, I recall that the Deputy Headmistress of the school, during the period that I was there, Margaret Harris, won the BBC's Mastermind competition in 1984. "What a pity none of it rubbed off on you", was the reaction of my workmates at the time. Lol. I wished I had never mentioned it..

Sadly, I remember Miss Harris as a fearsome old battleaxe who successfully put the fear of God into everybody even if they hadn't done anything wrong, including most of the teachers, but I dread to think what the school would have been like without her. The Headmaster of the time, Won Bailey, had a speech impediment and wasn't taken too seriously by the pupils...

And then there was the Woolston School Brass Band, of which I was a reluctant and somewhat below par member. Nevertheless, I had some very good times in that group, including a memorable trip to the Loire Valley region of France in 1974, staying in the delightful French town of Chabbanais, where the local school was twinned with Woolston Secondary School.

It wasn't all bad, I suppose...