A Memorial Site
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Perhaps the only surviving expression of Adwick Uniform

As every other CQD site before the UK referendum this website uses a CSS style sheet based on the former Adwick School’s uniform. The style sheet is still retained on the Archive for the Yorkshire Viking Blog and on this memorial site. If you are a former Adwick School pupil and would like to use the WordPress theme for your own blog, do get in touch!

My personal twin blogs have now dropped the Adwick Theme. The reasons for this are explained on the Archive for the Yorkshire Viking page.

Archived Post from Old Blog

Soured Memories of Sweet Sixteen

This post is in response to a writing challenge on The Daily Post. You can see this here http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen. It also marks the first anniversary of Adwick School’s demolition. The post refers exclusively to Adwick School, and (save for the poetic reference to others taking the throne) not to the two institutions that subsequently succeeded it.

That last seat of childhood authority is no more. One year on, I still struggle believing it! That our prestigious institution could so unceremoniously fall to the dust beggars belief.

Sweet Sixteen - in school uniform

Sweet Sixteen – in school uniform

For in truth our Emerald Queen was gone long before her ruined courts were razed. And I find that so hard to comprehend. What in my day was revered if though in dread, these days is scarcely remembered save in contempt. Therefore though those buildings be but newly gone, our world therein is much that longer lost.

While these ruins of our youth remained, they were defamed by those that came after us. A generation that had not seen the glories of our day, remembered them for other things. I too saw her slow decline, I watched her uniform in decay, and I heard of the infamy of her latter day. I still sighed when others took her throne. It was over then, not years later when the buildings went.

Ruins of Adwick School

My childhood world in ruins. Photo: Gerald Sables.

Those that scorn the memory of the Emerald Queen could not have known how once it was, and verily I remember her latter crew. They wore the uniform but as they did please; we were never once given the choice! Yet for all that we rebelled, secretly we admired the place – that final seat of absolute authority over the devices and desires of our own hearts! This is the greatest difference between us and them, and now and then!

That it should have ended the way it did feels so unreal. In my day the uniform was not for negotiation, and whatever I said I loved its distinctive colours of green, and white, and black. I said otherwise when I was a pubescent sixteen year old. Like my protestations against wearing a uniform, I celebrated my (so-called) independence the day I finally left – in both cases an attempt to assert myself in the adult world I entered, yet neither were seriously really meant.

Then came those after us, and they did mean those things they said. Among them those that said they would willingly press the button, that day our school came down. Then my foolish words came back to haunt me. The Emerald Queen was dead.

The Emerald Queen is my poetic name for our demolished school

The Emerald Queen

Alas thou mine emerald queen, whose royal robes were black, and white and green – whose Courts of great austerity were in those fields between, and wast of all with reverence seen, of whomsoever thine had been!

Alas! How thou art brought unto the ground, our palace ruined, thy name renowned! and nought is left of all we had: all is gone and where is found, that love, and fear, and awesome dread?

Alas, thou art gone, and thou art dead, despised of those who never knew thee then (nor us for whom thou wast our head)!

 

School Graveyard

Senior Wing

A beautifully calm, yet hauntingly eerie picture of where my school once stood! Picture Janet Roberts

Some photographs capture something “more”. On the face of it, this is but a picture of some trees. For us who went there, however, it is the grave of Adwick School. Here stood our senior wing.

There is a wistfull atmosphere. Black and white amplifies this. That maybe entirely subjective, but I am not the only one to pick up on it. There is something “more” to this picture than meets the eye.

Trying to define this something “more” is like chasing a rainbow. The moment you approach it, it moves further away from you. Yet I am not speaking of associations that only we who came here can know about; there is something more, that makes even those who didn’t, to describe it as “haunting”.

For me (qualifying therefore what I write precisely with feedback on my earlier post both from people who did know what used be here and those who have absolutely no personal association with the place) this is both unsettling and very beautiful all at the same time. “Haunting” would therefore be a fitting description.

I have recently received some pictures not only of what used to be here (and off camera in the likewise demolished main building further up to the right), but from our world and time that long have passed. Unfortunately I cannot post these, because they are not for further publication. However, I can tell you they are no less poignant.

Most of these pictures are in black and white. Yet that seems to highlight any associations one actually might have. I do not even notice the absense of colour: that something “more” seems to allow my brain to “see” what is not there!

I find myself transported backwards in time. Once our uniform was very smart and characteristic. Before its lamentable decline in the nineties it was very strictly enforced. As I see my uniform thus again, it is as though I am standing there among those pictured. It is so incredibly “virtual” an experience – to use a modern expression. Yet again the black and white picture but re-enforces this experience!

I am utterly captivated by the photography. This was the world I knew! Yet I cannot bear it too long. That something “more” is unsettling as well. It is a world that has forever gone.

With respect to the hauntingly beautiful, yet eerie picture shown above, we are looking at a graveyard. What now is but some trees and grass, was once our childhood world alas!

 

Queen Spring

An allegoric poem from 1984, with some revisions. It is set to music. I shall publish the melody shortly after making some revisions to that.

demolished

Our demolished school

King Summer now doth take Spring’s Throne
For years we longed to see this day!
And yet, as our Queen now retireth alone,
I beg that she do not go away!

Ye thought my rule so hard and cruel,
Yet now thou pleadest me to stay,
Despising my Laws whilst under my rule….
What wonder is this, good friend, I pray?

And now I go, nor can I stop!
King Summer reign must many years:
Yet hearken thee this – when the leaves start to drop,
Your Queen shall return to wipe thy tears!

What toil hath been to us since then,
When Spring so took retirement,
God speed her return to our land once again*,
In Wonders across His firmament.

*pronounced “a – genn”. This was written in Doncaster, and is one of the few demonstrable cases were that particular dialect can be seen in what I write.

Mental Wormholes

Thomanerchor

Unfortunately the video that inspired this post has been withdrawn. This picture is modified from Bachhaus Eisenach’s picture on the creative commons. You can reuse it according to the license you can find there.

The choir of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig is one I definitely want to hear. I’ve almost decided now – whether or not I think my budget is where it should be – that next year I really am going to have to go there before I turn fifty.

A week or so ago I found this wonderful YouTube clip. There’s a whole concert indeed (a rarity on YouTube), and given that Google has sold out to the Performing Rights’ people, and YouTube videos will shortly be going behind paywalls and those uploading them will have to “clear” them automatically before the upload (“clear” being these people’s euphemism for “pay”) I think you had better enjoy this while you can.

The Wachet Auf Cantata by J.S Bach BWV 140 has a special significance for me. I have one of those memories that is in the “read only” section of my brain. On Monday 10th December 1979, I was transferred to the former Adwick School, just before my fifteenth birthday. My first music lesson began at 1.20 pm and lasted until school ended at 3.20 pm. I even remember that this lesson was in the school’s “periods” five, six and seven. This was the work our teacher, Mr Ketley was teaching. Every single time I now hear Wachet Auf my mind goes through a mental wormhole – and I find myself transported back in time to his class that very day!

It is an association that hasn’t just appeared this year now that our poor school has been razed to the ground. When I went to the former Polytechnic in Huddersfield, I would make references to it in my compositions. In 1989, at the end of my first year, we had to write string quartets, and the Music Department brought in professional players to have them performed. I placed my Wachet Auf reference bang in the middle of mine; or more accurately, I put my Adwick reference there, since that is what it has become for me.

This is a lovely video, but I do fear that the new rules will mean we shall get less of them. So enjoy it while you can!

Now Is Time

Vestbygd

Philosophical Reflections

 Truth is not afraid of shedding tears,
And those who will not lament past regrets,
Must face by far their greatest fears;
Laden so by many debts,
from youth misspent, and sins before,
These cry too late, and God implore,
Who now would not, and Him ignore,
So do not live but for this now:
As much your nature will allow,
Repent that wrong done in the past,
knowing they most surely lie,
deceive themselves who will not cry,
And lose in lies their lives at last.

 

Assessment Report

School gone

Where Adwick School used to be. This is where the old main building was, looking towards the demolished 6th form and music block (where the trees in the middle are). Photo: J. Roberts

Before my school was demolished, a full record of the building was made for posterity. That was a condition before the demolition might go ahead.

There are some inaccuracies in this report. I believe that it is wrong in citing 1999 as the creation of Doncaster North Technology College. According to my sources, the former Adwick School applied for status as a technology college in 2001, and although I am only inferring this from the fact that I know the conversion to have been made by September 2002 – I believe that Adwick School must have continued nominally at least until July 2002. I base that on the time needed to put in the new dress code.

Other errors have also been pointed out to me too. If you find some yourself, do let me know either by commenting on this post or else by contacting me using the “contact” option on this blog (go to the blog Lobby and you will find it there). An option for feedback on the school report is not currently there, but I shall have it added shortly. Do not be afraid to use the form, in the meantime, for this purpose.

You can find the assessment report online, and there is a permanent link to it on the archive menu here.

The Void

Senior Wing

This was where the senior wing of my school once stood. Photo J. Roberts

 

Today I was sent some pictures of where my school once stood. It is completely gone!

The photograph above was where our senior wing used to be. Here the buildings were in the worst condition. They were also very last to come down, and I have it on good authority that once they began to demolish the main building of this particular wing, it then collapsed of its own accord.

Today this is all that is left of our bustling school world. In the autumn of my life I am looking at the grave of my youth!

It is important to point out that even had the campaign to save our school’s main building succeeded (what in my time was the junior wing at the other end of the school complex), these buildings were too far gone to be saved. Nobody seriously had suggested saving them. Since we had differing opinions though about that campaign, I am glad that I have been sent this particular photograph. It has all the peacefulness of the graveyard it has become.

It is undoubtedly an improvement aesthetically – at least as long as the developers don’t now decide to build yet another housing estate upon it; but for those of us who grew up here it is an empty, aching void. The silence, to use the cliché, is deafening.

Cookie Banner

Norway has now followed the United Kingdom implementing an EU Law concerning cookies. This is the reason you are now required to choose whether or not to accept them when browsing my websites.

Although the authorities are giving owners of websites a period of grace, we must eventually tell our readers if our websites use cookies. It is not enough merely to state that we use them. We are required by law actively to give readers the choice to approve or reject them. There are potentially severe penalties for non compliance. After the period of grace at the beginning, it is reasonable to expect that these will be used.

The Yorkshire Viking introduced the cookie banner earlier this year (in anticipation of the situation after the law was introduced in the UK), but because of the new law in Norway the Norwegian sister blog has now followed suit. As the blogs’ owner, I am none too pleased. Apart from the unnecessary and distracting pop-ups, my CQD blogs have a format and colour scheme that is quite unique. Nevertheless I have been able to find a plug in for WordPress that permits sufficient customisation so as to fit into this.

The colours of the website and the cookie banner still need to be “tweaked”. Both CQD and Yorkshire Viking Norway use a style-sheet based upon the uniform of the former Adwick School in England. The green colour still needs standardizing, and this is the reason the banner is a slightly different hue. This will be corrected in due course.

Alas O Emerald Queen!

This poem was written as the last bricks of my school were being levelled to the ground. Adwick School is here poetically referred to as “The Emerald Queen”.

Emerald Queen

Alas thou mine emerald queen, whose royal robes were black, and white and green – whose Courts of great austerity were in those fields between, and wast of all with reverence seen, of whomsoever thine had been!
Alas! How thou art brought unto the ground, our palace ruined, thy name renowned! and nought is left of all we had: all is gone and where is found, that love and fear and awesome dread?
Alas, thou art gone, and thou art dead, despised of those who never knew thee then (nor us for whom thou wast our head)!

 

St. George: the Dragon’s Revenge

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.

Ruins of Adwick School

My childhood world in ruins (picture: Gerald Richard Sables)

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!

Adwick School (Percy Jackson Grammar) Is Gone

demolished

Alas for thee, my childhood world that art no more!

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!

Changes to Sister Blog (CQD)

The sister blog, CQD, has not been affected by the changes to its English twin. However, from today, the link to CQD should only work in Norway.

I do not anticipate this will affect a great many people. The sister blog is intended for Norwegians. However, if you are Norwegian, and live or work abroad, contact “support” in the lobby, and it is possible a work around can be arranged.

Adwick School Now In Archive

It was always my plan to move the Adwick story into the archive. Originally this was going to happen after Easter. Now that Yorkshire Viking Norway has been completely rebuilt and redesigned, I have now done so.

The Adwick School story was the main story in this blog from the late Summer of 2011, when it became obvious that what was my old school was going to be demolished. I thought that the academy, which has now succeeded my old school, would move into its new school buildings in the new year – but this turned out to be last week. Now is the right time to draw the line over the matter.

Everything that has been written on the story is still available here. You can find it by clicking on the “archive” tab. In addition, since the CQD Norwegian blog will now only be available in Norway, the one (English translation) about Adwick School will be transferred here.

 

The Famous Rebuild

Outwood Academy Adwick

The new Outwood Adwick Academy. This is what has replaced my old school.

Give everyone the honour due. I couldn’t ever have imagined that the pupils of Adwick School, when that still existed before 2002, would once have waited hours before the school day was to begin – just to be the first to see their wonderful new building! Nevertheless that is what they did when Outwood Academy Adwick opened its doors.

According to the Doncaster Star demolition of my old school has begun. However my source tells me that so far only fences have been erected to keep out curious members of the public. As I have intimated many times now, it is an odd feeling knowing that one’s childhood world is being razed to the ground. Nevertheless I think I shall actually be glad when it is done.

Despite my nostalgia for Adwick School all the pictures I have received during these final months have shown a very dilapidated place. There is some disagreement amongst us former pupils about whether the main building, which used to be the Percy Jackson Grammar were “crumbling” – as reported by the paper. Yet though I should concede their essential point of contention, that it is the other school buildings (our old senior wing) that are beyond repair, looking at the photographs has shown me that whatever else one may say about it – the entire place has become old.

The thing that struck me, looking at those photographs, was a certain “atmosphere”. That can surely never be good for children or education. The buildings are the architectural expression of another time, and no amount of paint would change that. One has to remember that when I was a child, that same “atmosphere” was one of excitement, of newness, and being at the very start of ones life. The buildings have grown old (as I have too), and they simply are not what I remember then.

Consequently I think that my original reasoning still holds. Though they were not going to be destroyed, they are not the school that we former Adwick School pupils attended. Our school has been lost in time. I think it is therefore going to be quite healthy when we are all finally allowed to draw a line. Ghosts of the past do us no good; and for today’s children, it is much better that they can be freed from an environment where those still haunt.

The reaction of the pupils to their new school demonstrates how necessary – and right – the rebuild is. I shall never forget my school, but today’s young people have every right to be in awe. I wish Outwood Academy Adwick every success.

A Brighter Dawn Is Breaking

You notice it every day. It is lighter.

bright sun

The bright morning sunshine outside where I live.

In three weeks, we shall no longer have the honour of having shorter days than most other people – for let us face it not many people live in the Arctic North. As incredible as it seems, we shall have longer days. Indeed within five weeks, the night will be vanishing altogether!

I cannot help but make comparisons with the new day for the community in which I grew up. What was my school has finally been closed, and demolition has already begun. Perhaps I should say that it has according to the local paper; one of my sources in Woodlands and Adwick informs me that the only thing done so far is the erection of fences to keep away the curious public. Nevertheless the old has now passed as surely as our Polar Night.

Port

Norway gets lighter and brighter. The Equinox is near.

As amazing as the 24 hour daylight here, the news that there children lined up outside their new school several hours before their first school day began – just so they could be the first to get a glimpse of their new school. Pupils were amazed at the freshness, newness and cleanness of the building. Such a positive response, it must be said, is a credit to the successor school, and says a lot; sadly it also says a lot that ours could not command such adoring praise.

Nevertheless, what is new to them will one day be old. The worn out buildings that are now coming down were as exciting to me, in my day, as the new school is to today’s generation. Seeing the pictures of those old buildings that have been sent to me this last year confirms only one thing: the world I knew has long since gone. I do not want to remember Adwick School as an old building that is tired, but for that equally exciting brighter dawn of life it once represented.

Lødingen town

Houses bask in the bright sunshine and snow.

I meanwhile can thank the Lord for the beauty of the nature around me, and the day that is today…. and the time that is now.

 

Rebuild

Adwick School

My old school – taken last week just before it was vacated. It is now being demolished.

It is really hard to express my feelings right now. This was the view of what used to be my school last week. Its buildings are now vacated – and coming down. By May there will be only playing fields here.

At the same time as the pupils have now moved into their new school (one of the many so-called academies), Yorkshire Viking Norway has moved into its new home on the main CQD server in Norway. One main reason, sadly, is the need to have stricter security measures to protect my privacy.

Many of the older posts imported into this new blog will not display correctly. This is due to how the pictures are formatted. This will be corrected in due course.

I shall not go into the extra security measures I have taken, but suffice it to say that all access to this blog is logged. Some people may find that they need to be registered in order to view these pages – others will not. I shall constantly evaluate the systems in place, and shall take a new look at security in a few months after trying them out.

Both CQD and Yorkshire Viking Norway use the colour scheme of the former Adwick School uniform. My school was taken over by the successor school, Doncaster North Technology College back in 2002 – and consequently neither the uniform nor Adwick School have existed now for over ten years. That successor school has itself been taken over by one of the many so-called academies now sprouting up all over the United Kingdom.

For the record Yorkshire Viking Norway supports the Anti Academies Alliance, and believes in comprehensive education. However, since I no longer live in the United Kingdom, this will not become a major issue in my blog.

Adwick School Update

Big move

Adwick Academy publishes the dates of its big move. I wish them well.

One of my contacts was kind enough to send me this information letter from our successor school, Adwick Academy. If you go to the Academy’s own website, you will see the official countdown to the New Academy – which for those of us who went to Adwick School (NDTC and Percy Jackson) means that that is when our old school is finally disused.

I thought that this were happening over Christmas. Clearly I got that wrong. Nevertheless, I do not intend adding more to the Adwick School section now. If anyone sends me pictures of the demolition in progress, then of course I shall post these – but the game is well over now, and I have drawn a line over it.

Perhaps I’m being a grumpy old man, but I thought it was interesting that Adwick Academy refer to ex pupils of Percy Jackson and the NDTC, but do not mention Adwick School at all! Maybe there is nothing in this, but with some of the negative comments I found on the Internet last year…. it sort of makes me wonder.

Whilst I shall not be adding any further to the Adwick section, you will remember that this blog was temporarily shut down for one day in December. That was when I thought that this big move were beginning. When the academy’s official countdown reaches 0, which by my reckoning is midnight Monday 25th February, this blog shall mark the confirmed end of Adwick School by doing the same as it did in December (GMT).

On Monday 25th February, only one page will show if you come here. There will be one picture of the old Adwick School in black and white, and the blog itself will revert to monochrome. Normal service shall resume midnight Tuesday 26th February.

Please note that the “Adwick School” item on the main menu will also be removed after Easter. No material will be deleted, but you will then have to use the archive to access the Adwick posts. These have already been archived anyway.

“I will drown and nobody shall save me” – reported of someone drowning in a lake. The man, like so many others these days, had not learnt the “shall” and “will” rule!

Finally, you will perhaps have seen that I’m a bit picky about words. I don’t like the modern custom of calling school children “students” – it’s interesting that the academy refers to us oldies as “past pupils”, but calls its own children “students” – but apart from this, I distinguish between “will” and “shall”. You should too. We are losing so many fine distinctions in the English language.

I wonder what will be so special for today’s pupils if they go into higher education, and become students? Yes, I know that this is American usage, but I think that we just end up losing a very fine nuance in English. Now there will be nothing special about one’s status as a student any more.

‘Tis a good thing I emigrated….

The Beginning And The End

The Polar Night in the Arctic - taken at one o'clock in the afternoon. Monday 10th December 2012

The Polar Night in the Arctic – taken at one in the afternoon. Monday 10th December 2012

“I’m going to mark its end, because somebody has to. I’m also going to speak well of the place too for the same reason.” – Adwick Style

I cannot tell you how strange it feels. Yesterday I received photographs from Saturday’s tour of Adwick School, and today I was sent more from a former pupil of the even older Percy Jackson Grammar School. As I meditated upon the beauty of the Polar Night here, I tried to take in these wistful reminders of my childhood whilst juxtaposing the thought that EXACTLY thirty-three years ago, I was starting my very first day there.

Old Adwick School now. 33 years ago, Monday 10th December 1979 this was where I was starting a new school.

Old Adwick School now. 33 years ago, Monday 10th December 1979 this was where I was starting a new school. Now these buildings are worn out and coming down in the New Year.

In fact this is more than juxtaposition in time. I’m now over here in Norway, and these events – both then and now – are way over the sea in England. Nevertheless I also feel a strange satisfaction in doing what I am. I have read many a spiteful comment about Adwick this last year, and feel that someone ought to point out that whatever its difficulties at its end, it was once highly respected. Someone has got to cover its end in a fitting way.

So my blog and I are like a kind of satellite, now with very little connection to the land that originally launched it, orbiting above and separated by a huge distance – yet transmitting a message that more should broadcast terrestrially. Fortunately I know that I am not entirely alone, though. After all none of the pictures I have of Adwick School these last days were taken by me! It may be ironic that a blog based in Norway has taken on this task (for that no one else has done so), but it is fitting that that very irony demonstrates the once great name our school once had.

Indeed there are former pupils living all over the world. One should also include those who went to the Percy Jackson Grammar School that preceded Adwick School. These people have been very active with reunions, and are a truly international bunch. We have perhaps differing views about the demolition of our former school, and the rebuild; but we are nevertheless united by our respect for where we grew up. Whatever our personal views, we do not rejoice at our school’s demise.

What has saddened me in the last year, then, has been to hear what I can only describe as contempt, on the part of certain people who still live in the vicinity, for what is and always will be a part of their own history. It saddens me that for these, it is also incredible that anyone should wish to mark the end…. yet in truth, they have never appreciated the worth of what now is lost.

I would rather not end this on a negative note. Therefore let me leave my point concerning those who have come with harsh words with the following observation. With the exception of one person whom I know personally, and who had a very difficult time at school, most of the comments I have read – on Facebook and similar sites on the Internet – come from relatively younger people. We are all aware of the problems the school faced in its final decade, before ceasing to be Adwick School. Yet let not that generation speak for mine!

Paying their last respects. Former pupils of the Percy Jackson Grammar School and Adwick School outside the historic main building this Saturday. Thanks to Janet

United in a wish to honour the past, and paying their last respects to our old school. Former pupils of the Percy Jackson Grammar School and Adwick School outside its historic main building this Saturday. A great thank you to Janet Roberts for sending the group photograph.

So now we enter the very last days for what was our school, what was our childhood, and indeed what we for some time have been mentally preparing ourselves for. Seeing the photographs my friends have sent – I shall publish more (I already have permission for most of them) – I nevertheless can see that our old lady has become tired. The buildings, especially the old senior wing further down from the Percy Jackson building photographed here, show their age;  and a certain melancholy pervades all the pictures I have seen.

Thank you everybody who has sent pictures to me. I wish especially to thank Janet Roberts for this wonderful group photograph. I have taken the liberty of posting it, but naturally I shall withdraw it if you would rather I do so. Adwick, there are many who have not forgotten thee!

Bitter Sweet

or If These Walls Could Talk

Yesterday I felt a bit like someone working at a space agency. They’ll spend a fortune on electronic wizardry, send this up to some distant world – and then on the day that it arrives wait with increasing tension for the first pictures.

Yesterday two of my school friends returned to Adwick School. They had promised to take a lot of pictures, and to send them to me. Here at mission control (cleverly disguised as a three year old laptop) I awaited the first pictures from my school. I was not disappointed.

Yet it was a “bitter sweet” confirmation of what I have been writing about. One of my school friends had earlier remarked “if those walls could talk” when hearing about the decision to demolish our school. Thanks to Deborah Grace and Jill Jenkins, I was able to see places that I last saw over thirty one years ago at the age of sixteen. For all that I love the power of language, nothing can prepare you for seeing such images. As precious as I found them, they were equally unsettling.

The Corridor

This really freaked me out. The last time I stood here was in 1981, when I was sixteen years of age.

This really freaked me out. The last time I stood here was in 1981, when I was sixteen years of age.

The image that really sent shivers down my spine was this one. It is of a corridor on the top floor of the main school building. Looking at this is really “bitter sweet”.

The picture firstly disturbs me because this is not the childhood world that (we are feeling that) we have lost and are looking back upon when we visit the school. As I tried to say in my first poem, and article about the demolition of our school, that is lost in time and not in space. Therefore though you could “return”, you can never return, even if you stand in the exact place you left. This picture is therefore a little unsettling.

Then there is a pervading “darkness” to the image that I am not alone in sensing. Once again that is not something that I remember, nor would want to remember my school days for. Phillip Larkin expresses something of what I feel in his poem “Home Is So Sad“. Undoubtedly this is part of the story, but methinks there is something more. I say so precisely because I know that I am not alone in picking this up. The walls just might indeed be “talking”…

Foreboding

To me there is a sinister sense of foreboding to all the images. This is not my childhood world - it is its empty shell.

There is a sinister foreboding to all the images. This is not my childhood world – it is its empty shell.

The picture above is nothing like, and yet exactly like my walk into school early in the morning. In those days you would come in from Windmill Balk Lane, and you would walk pass this point. Yet that was then. This is different – somehow. I am sorry if that sounds a bit like the “Saphire and Steel” science fiction series of the late seventies and eighties (I watched that as a schoolboy), but there is something quite spooky about the old school.

In an earlier generation, people would use one word beginning with “h” for what I am describing. Now that would be regarded as superstitious. So let it suffice to say that there is a certain oppressiveness to the place that cannot be conducive to education.

You certainly don’t need to look to the supernatural to explain it. The architecture of the school represents a different time as well, and expresses different ideals about society. Thus while my late father commented in 2001, that that place could not have had a coat of paint on it since I was at school, the “corridor” illustrates there is a limit to what you can do even if you had have spent a lot of money on it. It would still be that (by today’s standards) claustrophobic passage, and the classrooms would still fundamentally be those designed for the “top – down” approach to education where everybody passively sat in neat rows. This of course is a strong argument in favour of the rebuild.

On the other hand perhaps an objective explanation for the “dark” feeling cannot be found, and I have no intention here on speculating what else might lay behind it. For me it is enough that this is only the shell of where I spent my childhood. I want to remember my Adwick School as a very different place. Seeing it as it is now makes me feel that perhaps it is best for everybody that our alma mater now rest in peace.

The Place Is Different

This was where we waited for the school bus home at the end of school. It used open out on to a field. Now it is boxed in.

This was where we waited for the bus home at the end of school. It used to open out on to a field. Now it is boxed in.

Thirty-three years ago EXACTLY, on Sunday 9th December 1979, I was all exited and ready to go into Adwick School for my very first school day. At the end of that day, on Monday 10th December 1979, we queued up in this playground – which then opened up on to a wide field. Now it is completely “boxed in” by the new school buildings. Then I was happy and exited to be at my new place of education; now it is different, and whilst I still could have wished I could have attended yesterday’s tour, I think meeting my old friends would have been the high point. This place pictured is just “different”.

Since it is the anniversary day tomorrow, I’ll end this fairly long post here, and continue on the same theme for my next post. Thank you for the photographs Jill and Deborah.

The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended

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Today the children of Adwick’s yesteryear return to view that final seat of their childhood one last time. Adwick School! How are the mighty fallen! Many there are that speak hard words against thee, but I will remember thee in thy strength. Time was when people were proud of thee. Time was when thou hadst a formidable name!

“So be it, Lord; thy throne shall never,
like earth’s proud empires, pass away.
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
till all thy creatures own thy sway.”