Old Building Flashing, Fittings and Flushing, 29th June 2016

I really wasn’t lying when I said I wasn’t interested in the fixtures and fittings of the rebuild.  Having said that, it’s hard to believe that nearly four weeks have elapsed since my last post.  Sorry.  You’d be forgiven for thinking I’d given up on telling this story.  But, no, I’m in it for the long haul, for my sins.  It’s just been that time of year at school: Year 9 Head of Year reports with internal summer exam marking following hard upon.  Not much time for much else.  True, being stuck at the fixtures and fittings stage of things, hasn’t helped either.  But not long to go now before we hit very different ground.

They’ve made a very neat job of the flashing up on the Main Building roof. This is the gulley which separates the Hall roof (right) from the old Administrative corridor (left).

Still, at least I’m on to the finishing off work in the Old Building this time.  And the Church High roofline never fails to fascinate me.  There’s a story to tell about the particularly interesting part of the roofline pictured above, but that must wait for an historical post.  It took me a little while to orientate myself when I first saw the image below.  From down below, it isn’t at all obvious that the gable ends are separate from the main section of the roofline.  I now realise the roofline of the original Newcastle High School was in four sections.

To the left of this roof gulley is the north end of the Hall roof and to the right, the west end of the north gable: this was Room 9 (Church High’s RS room) but the new skylight now illuminates one of the NHSG Faculty Offices.

The slate tiles of the 1927 extension (originally a Science Lab, later Geography rooms and now inter-connected Art rooms at NHSG) were off, on, off and then back on again over the course of the work.  They had to be removed when the copper cladding was affixed to the new infill extension to allow flashing to be added to render the small roof gulley between the two extensions watertight.  As you can see from the images below, it is a very tricky-shaped space.

The final line of ridge tiles is about to be put in place once again on the 1927 extension.
The  irregular gully between the new circulation infill (left) & the 1927 extension (right) looking south towards the Science Block.
A very narrow gulley indeed has now been created between the back of the new infill extension and the west end of the north gable.

Since we won’t be up on the Old Building roof again, I thought I’d share with you Giuseppe’s shots of the modern extended rooflines.  The first image is of the flat-roof of the 1999 glass corridor designed to connect the north gable classrooms with the 1999 Barbour Wing.

The second is of the new infill extension flat-roof looking east where it joins with the top floor later addition of the 1935 north extension.

Chimney pots are still to be put back into place on the newly reconfigured 1935 north extension flat-roof. No circular glass skylights anymore and there is no longer any roof access either. To prevent any Health & Safety issues, one wonders?

Do you remember the little cleaners’ cupboard just to the right of the LRC doorway?  Well these stairs are what lay behind it.  One of those areas of the school I always thought of as Gentian’s territory.

A sad sight: the roof staircase photographed at strip-out time.

Another one of Gentian’s domains was a veritable hive of activity at this phase of the project.  The Boiler Room was receiving its refit.

An empty white-washed walled box when I was last down there, the Boiler Room is now a mass of colourful gas and hot water pipes.

If I remember rightly, I think the guys told me six new boilers were being installed to heat the school.  That’s an awful lot of hot water!

Some of that hot water would undoubtedly be used in the Home Economics room which was also undergoing its refit at this time.

Lynn Batchelor will be delighted to return to her re-designed Home Economics room on the Tankerville Terrace site.

And when those new stainless steel sinks are used for the first time, you can be sure all that dirty dish water will drain away completely.  For not only was there fitting out going on in the Old Building at the end of June, but an intensive flushing out of drains was going on too.

When a building lies inactive for 2 years, drains get blocked.

Elsewhere inside the building, new flooring was being laid where Gentian’s Office once was and a new glass entrance door installed.

Once Gentian’s Caretaker’s Office and the Kitchen food & refrigeration stores, this area will become the new NHSG Technology Room.
The metal framework is now in place for the new glass entrance door and vestibule area.

When we’re talking about the fitting of new fob-operated entrance doors, it’s very clear the move back home is not too far away now.  I started this post with an image of one of those big black balls which decorate the Main Building’s roofline, so typical of an Oliver and Leeson design and indeed of Victorian decorative architecture.  Old pictures of the building will show you that Church High used to have a lot more balls than it did in recent times.  All down to Health & Safety again, I am sure.  How many of you remember what happened to two of three of those balls the last time the exterior of the building was painted, I wonder?  It took a while before we noticed it, but one cheeky painter left his calling-card in the form of a line of smiley faces.  The remains are still there if you look very closely at my final image.  It’s nice to think of the Old Girl smiling once again.

One thought on “Old Building Flashing, Fittings and Flushing, 29th June 2016”

  1. Dear Christine, I have always read your blogs with great interest and the great history behind our, or, as I always used to call it, “MY BELOVED CHURCH HIGH. I often think for days after meeting with any of my friends from Church High of the great times, the privilege and honour to have worked at this great institution. Christine, thank you so much for your hard work with your fascinating stories and true and honest dedication to Church High. Steven and I, we always felt proud to have you as our friend.

    Please keep forever alive the Church High’s greatest story.

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