Monthly Archives: April 2013
Its long anticipated end has come. Adwick School is no more.
In August 2011 news came that the school I attended as a boy would be demolished. From that point, it became a big issue in my blogs; indeed it became the issue.
From the outset opinions were divided. I had got to hear about the controversy through the internet. After much consideration, I decided against signing a petition to save it. Nevertheless, I wrote even then that the day that I heard the bulldozers had moved in would not be any good one.
That day arrived this April. By a perverse irony, the main entrance and its two large flag poles were razed on St. George’s Day. All that now remains is rubble. Everything in the old school complex will go, so what was our senior wing (which was in decidedly poorer condition) will be going the same way.
Finding words for what all this means is not easy. I know there are some people who – they say – are not affected at all. I am. This has nothing to do with the rights or wrongs of the demolition; it has to do with the end of what was my childhood world, and its last seat of absolute authority.
Yet find words I must: despite enormous difficulties, there are others who have tirelessly been working to document its end. Because of their work, we have the video footage shown here, and also many photographs. I wish therefore to thank the photographer Gerald Richard Sables and Janet Roberts, for allowing me to reuse the picture here.
This is quite simply a masterpiece. I have seen photographs of demolitions before. However, in this picture Gerald has managed to allow our crippled school building’s highly distinctive form to be recognizable despite the building’s grevious and mortal wound. We who went there are also able to place ourselves in this picture by his inclusion of the doomed school buildings that lie behind, by the tree – with which again I can place myself in my own memories!
The picture has also a “bitter sweet” character. The sky would have made an idealistic background under any happier circumstances (such as a picture of our school-days). Yet we can see the heart-wrenching reality; and as if to underline that the cold, wet pavement, and the man hosing down the rubble of what is already gone, giving us who watch a cold shower of sad regret.
More disquieting than the loss of the actual buildings, is the acrimony I have registered towards the former Adwick School. Last year I was frankly shocked over some of the things people said on the internet concerning a place that has not existed for over a decade! Both my school (Adwick School) and its predecessor the Percy Jackson Grammar have long been history anyway.
I know there were problems that led to Adwick School being placed under special measures, and being suceeded by the North Doncaster Technology College and then by the present Outwood Academy. Yet I should have thought that the end of something that played such a large part in our lives would have been marked more graciously. Clearly I was wrong.
I feel it therefore my duty to write that I for one am glad that history took me to Adwick School. At that time the school had a very good reputation, and my parents fought to have me transferred there from the neighbouring Don Valley High School.
Those were better days. Therefore, I say, alas for thee, O Adwick!
Firstly let me just explain to everybody awaiting posts in this blog that I am currently in the process of moving house. It is a painful process – lots of washing the old apartment, and then having to buy something just to sit on in the new place. For this reason, updates are going to be a little few and far between until things settle down.
Nevertheless today came the news that I had been expecting. My school is no more. A friend had told me a week ago that demolition was well under way. Today I heard that it had all been razed.
As soon as I am therefore able to write a little more – hopefully with my laptop on a table and not on the floor (as of present) – I shall write a post on my feelings…. and I have to admit that it is a strange feeling knowing one’s childhood world has been obliterated from the face of the earth!