At the same time as the demolition of the Junior School buildings, Tolent Construction and various other contractors were also working to prepare the Church High main building for renovation. This included sound-proofing tests and testing for asbestos.
Very little work is planned for the exterior of the building, maintaining the beautiful Victorian façade being crucial to the redevelopment of the site, but part of the enabling works sadly involved preparation for the dismantling of the iconic ivy cross.
Early descriptions of Newcastle High School refer to its “red brick and deep red brick mouldings” being lined with creepers presenting “a pleasing and picturesque appearance”, so the ivy has clearly been an integral and characteristic feature of the Tankerville building over the years, as this 1910 photograph shows.
In 2010 to mark Church High’s 125th Birthday, the School’s Site Manager, Gentian Qeku, who lovingly maintained the gardens in front of the building, trained the ivy into the shape of a large cross representing the design of the Church High badge.
It is hard to think of the school frontage without it now, so strongly has the green cross become synonymous with Church High. Although its removal is understandable because of the new school to be based on the site, many of us will still be very sad to see it go.