Past pupils bring history to life at St Nicholas schoolBy Jon Nurse
May 21, 2012
Former pupils of a village school were on hand to praise the opening of a multi-million pound extension.
St Nicholas Primary School in Hurst has been transformed after £2.4 million worth of work.
A crowd of former teachers, secretaries, past pupils and present day villagers met at the school in School Road for an open afternoon on Thursday, May 3.
The school unveiled two new blocks either side of the original Victorian building, as well as a remodelled interior to the old building.
Headteacher Christine Hyatt said: “It was lovely to see so many at the open event, ranging from a large group of past pupils in their 60s, 70s and 80s to parents bringing toddlers to have a look round.
“Our Victorian school building, opened in 1843, was a huge improvement on the previous school in a crowded and unhealthy converted cottage in Tape Lane.
“Now our new rooms are more suited to the 21st Century, light, spacious, warm and fit for purpose.
“The new hall is wonderful – all our 136 children can now be properly accommodated together for assemblies.
“The new build doesn’t mean an increase in pupils but it means there is proper space for the number we have.”
The five classrooms meet modern space needs and the school has indoor toilets for the first time.
Past pupil Pam Watts, 78, from Wokingham, said: “It’s nothing like I remember. We used to have Nitty Nora, the flea explorer, come to inspect our hair.
“We had a big iron furnace in the classroom.
“I remember our teacher teaching with her back to it to warm her bottom.”
Her sister, June Phillips, 76, remembers wartime lessons on how to wear their gas masks.
Third sister, Jenny Willatts, 58, said: “I liked coming here – the whole family came. My teacher was Miss Pounds.
“I used a slate to write on and now they’re using computers.”
St Nicholas is compiling memories of the school.
Lesley Sherwood, 81, now from Westbury in Wiltshire, said: “Before they started doing school dinners we used to put a potato under the ashes in the classroom fire so we had a hot potato for lunch."
Governor for 25 years, Joseph Bates, 90, said: “I was very dubious passing the school during the building work because I loved the old school, but they made a lovely job of it.”