When you have been connected with a building for nearly 31 years, as I have with the Church High site, you will inevitably experience a lot of changes. And, just as I am now working under my 4th Head Mistress in that time period, in September 2016 the old Victorian building will be handed over to its 4th site manager, Alan Younger.
Through his present role as Facilities Manager of Newcastle High School for Girls’ Eskdale site, Alan is already heavily involved in the forward planning for our move to Tankerville in August of this year – as he was in August 2104 overseeing the transfer of Church High staff, filing, computer hardware and furniture to Eskdale Terrace.
Very much looking forward to taking care of a building with so much character and history, Alan is already very taken by some of the intrinsic architectural features, particularly the decorative, semi-circular glass fan lights above the two main exterior doors and the doors off the first floor corridor, which are almost Georgian in style. And, of course, the wooden staging and old, beamed roof in the Hall.
At the start of the 2016 Spring Term, on the staff study day Alan shared with me some interior shots of the Church High old building which he had taken on his first site tour with a small GoPro camera.
I found these images fascinating, not just because the wide-angle fish-eye setting provided a striking perspective on familiar vistas, but also because they were taken on November 25th, the day I had taken my exterior shots of the damp-proofing membrane of the new extension. Seeing these foundations shot from above was thrilling.
Alan’s first photographs, taken from the quadrangle behind the main building, provide us with the reverse perspective of earlier images of the conversion work to the floor of the Learning Resources Centre.
Thanks to the photographs taken for me by a construction worker on November 11th, I already had a vague idea of the work underway on the bottom corridor of the building. The picture taken of the Dining Rooms was a little dark, but the original ceilings were clearly still in place. Two weeks later, Alan’s shot showed a different scene.
Up until this point, I had only been able to speculate about what changes were happening elsewhere inside the main building. Nick White had told me in July that the key architectural features would be retained, but I wasn’t at all sure how much of the character and charm of the first floor corridor would escape unscathed. How key or integral would the distinctive classroom doors & glass panels be considered, I mused, when the wooden staircase hadn’t survived?