Thanks to the keen eye and subsequent alert by reader, fellow local blogger and freind of the blog @thestymaster, plus the outrageous cheek, charm and loquaciousness of the young David Evans, I can present internal and external shots of the former St. John’s School in Walsall Wood, currently undergoing demolition.
Last week we managed to catch the start of the removal of a once proud local landmark.
David, who’s never reticent when it comes to matters of local history, got talking to the dismantling engineers who are currently engaged in the highly skilled process of demolishing the old school, and he has been allowed access to the site to record the structure and progress of the work. This is quite a coup.
It’s worth noting that this is a very delicate operation due to the poor structural condition of the building, and the fact that the materials are being recycled – and like those from the former Royal Oak in Bullings Heath, Walsall Wood, will end up being sold for re-use at Cawarden Brick in Rugeley. They’re a fine company and their yard – just to the east of Colton – is well worth a visit. There’s even an old ROC post on the access road to the place!
That means it’s theoretically possible that bricks and tiles from both the school and old pub may end up together forming another building somewhere. I love that idea.
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, particularly the demolition folk who have been so understanding and generous in their time and spirit – and of course to David. It’s rumoured he could sell contraceptives in a geriatric ward…