|Entrance to Willowgarth on Thursday|
Willowgarth is a lovely name. It makes one think of Mother Nature - perhaps a stroll by a leafy riverside or through a sunlit bower in a verdant wood. But Willowgarth was in fact the name given to a secondary school on the edge of Grimethorpe - a collection of functional concrete blocks that for fifty years served children of secondary school age from the pit villages of Brierley and Grimethorpe itself. The name was misleading.
Of course lots of things happen within the precincts of any secondary school. There are tears and laughter, comings and goings, sports days and concerts. Examinations to sit and lesson changeover bells that ring endlessly - defining the passing days. Children grow up in their secondary schools. They make friends and enemies as well as memories as their teachers grow old or depart via the promotional ladder.
The two secondary schools that I attended in East Yorkshire are still standing. I could easily go back there to stroll around the corridors of my youth but for former Willowgarth High School students that would now be impossible. The entire school was razed to the ground in 2012. All that's left is a driveway, a pile of rubble and a pair of rusting goalposts.
I felt rather sad to observe the desolate scene through security fencing on Thursday afternoon. I thought of all the interactions that must have happened at Willowgarth through the years. It must have been a tough place to teach in. All those children from mining families. All that poverty. But I think there would have been a lot of fun too.
Back home scouring the internet, I found the following Willowgarth pictures that speak evocatively of a lost school and perhaps of a lost world too...
|My own picture - at the top of this post was taken from this |
entrance to the school premises, I was standing next to that
old blue pit wheel - now partly hidden behind a security fence.