Nostalgic visit to the old School!

The King’s School has not always been situated at Wrexham Road, it moved to its current site in 1960. From the early 1900s it was housed in various other buildings in the city centre, including the Blomfield buildings in St Werburgh Street (now Barclays Bank) and the former Bluecoat School on Upper Northgate Street.

At a recent Barclays Board meeting one of the Board members (who also has connections to King’s) invited Headmaster George Hartley and a couple of former pupils to look around and reminisce.

Old boys Charles Pritchard (OKS 1957) and Martin Meredith (OKS 1961) acted as tour guides and gave Mr Hartley a detailed insight into the daily life of the school during their day, including where their assemblies and other activities had been held.

Charles commented that it was “a bit sad what they have done to it, but at least it has given 60 more years of useful life, meeting today’s requirements…. it was the lack of the main staircase which shocked me – it was so much a part of life every day”.

He took the opportunity to note down the main changes, which are outlined below:

  1. I was thrown from the very beginning by not seeing the old main staircase. It has gone! Having returned home the layout has now more clearly returned to me.
  2. As we walked in, off St Werburgh st, that Main Staircase would have been directly in front of us. Main flight rising straight up with handrail on left, then turning left along the back wall and left again to finish. It was the same as the back staircase which we actually did descend later from the back of the Assembly Hall. That one was a narrower version but of the same style.
  3. From the Bank entrance area we in fact turned left with Charlie our Guide and went up a few steps. The steps were there of old and led to a corridor, facing us being The Head’s Study and his Secretary’s room (Gladys) which would have been in the corner below the modernistic staircase we eventually ascended. To the right of this was the Stationery Room, from whence we had to obtain our writing books. (Hank’s room, its occupier being Mr Hankinson) But, before mentally ascending, look right and there would have been a 10ft wide corridor which led along to the Main Pupil Door…the one by which we later came in from the Playground.
  4. Going back to entry from the street, had we looked Right we would have been looking along a corridor 8ft wide running parallel to the street and, off to the left, was Room A (Dr Hadley, French) and at the end was Room B, Johnny Walsh, always the room for Upper Third.
  5. Now we can go upstairs, as we did. Our entry into the Assembly Hall would have been through what is now The Lift …there was a big door there. Assembly Room pretty well as we saw it. There was a low dais under the balcony with The Head’s Lectern/Desk central and a lectern right for Head Prefect to address us. He stood to the right until called for. The Assembly Hall had a central aisle but was otherwise filled with rows of chairs, in a yellowish colour, possibly oak, with a small shelf/box on the back of each to hold the Hymn Book for the pupil behind. The chairs each had the name of a former pupil on the front of the top rail, I presume they were bought/paid for by said pupil. I don’t think I did one.
  6. Through The Lift Door was a corridor with Room E on the left (Tec Evetts) and Room F facing you at the end (A T Owen, Latin). On the right before you entered Room F was the door to The Library (which we could imagine at the farright corner of the library itself when we stood in it) and also the arch to the stone spiral staircase to Room G, top floor, the external gable of which we saw high on our left when later leaving the Library. Remove A.
  7. The final bit we were clear about and that was the back staircase which we descended from the rear of the Assembly Hall and it brought us down to the Pupil Entrance and Room C (EY Eric Yates, fearsome history teacher) and to Room D, which I seem rarely to have used. At the foot of those stairs was a washroom with wash basins. The Chester water tasted very much of Chlorine.