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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.