Today, thanks to the eagle eye of reader, fellow local blogger and freind of the blog @thestymaster, plus the dedication and guile of a couple of regular blog readers and contributors, we have managed to catch the last days of a local, doomed landmark: St. John’s School, in Walsall Wood.
Yesterday morning, at 9:40am, @TheStymaster tweeted the following:
Looks like St John's School is coming down (@BrownhillsBob)— Chris Bartram (@thestymaster) March 4, 2014
At this time, I was well out of the area at work. But I sent out the call via social media and a hasty blog post, and several readers answered the call. Notable in particular were the young David Evans, and reader Peter.
David really played a blinder. He had this to say:
I managed to chat to the demolition workers and get some pictures.
Bricks will be reused as will tiles, the buildings are being professionally dismantled rather than merely demolished.
I hope to go in to the building next week, at the invitation of the Site Manager, all kitted up etc. to follow the dismantling process.
The Site Manager has kindly offered to look out for stamped bricks – he was certainly a very decent chap!
David certainly seems to have worked his charm to get the access he did! Remarkable stuff. Peter was also impressed with the guys doing the work:
It seems as though things have just started in the last day or so, only had a mobile phone but the pictures seem to have come out okay!
Spoke to a couple of the chaps working there, they seemed quite relaxed about photos etc, one even wanted to know if he could do his hair first…
Anyway heres a selection of photos
Peter, Roving reporter from the Peoples Republic of Walsall Wood (PRWW)
Thanks to both chaps for the dedication and readiness to drop everything and help blog readers learn more about what’s going on on their doorstep. This building has been an eyesore for years, and it’s good to see progress finally being made in its redevelopment.
For those interested, I wrote an article recently about the planning history of the site, and David transcribed the log books of the school over several wonderful articles. British History Online has this to say about the history of the building:
St Johns school building,Walsall Wood from 1859 to 2014
In 1859 a larger school with a teacher’s house was opened in Lichfield Road on a site given by Lord Bradford. The old school and teacher’s house were sold and the money applied to the new buildings. (fn. 61) An infants’ school was added in 1882. (fn. 62) In 1885 men from the village who attended Sunday morning classes in reading and writing at the schools built a new classroom for the 1859 schoolhouse and altered and added to the infants’ school. (fn. 63) The mixed school was again enlarged in 1898. (fn. 64) The schools were reorganized into junior and infants’ schools in 1932 and were merged into a single school in 1974.
Thanks to everyone who helped, and here’s to watching the demolition (sorry, dismantling) – and hopefully to great newbuild replacing it.