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Dead Hyperlinks

All of this material you see on my blog archive has been moved from its original place. This means that whilst I have preserved the old blog, many of the links have been broken. In the course of time, these will be repaired. However, you will most likely be able to find articles that are linked by using the search function – since most of the broken links are internal links to Yorkshire Viking. So if you find, for example, that a link to the logo does not work, write “logo” in the search field. That may be a good temporary fix until the old links can be updated.

Rebuild

Adwick School Update

Big move

Adwick Academy publishes the dates of its big move. I wish them well.

One of my contacts was kind enough to send me this information letter from our successor school, Adwick Academy. If you go to the Academy’s own website, you will see the official countdown to the New Academy – which for those of us who went to Adwick School (NDTC and Percy Jackson) means that that is when our old school is finally disused.

I thought that this were happening over Christmas. Clearly I got that wrong. Nevertheless, I do not intend adding more to the Adwick School section now. If anyone sends me pictures of the demolition in progress, then of course I shall post these – but the game is well over now, and I have drawn a line over it.

Perhaps I’m being a grumpy old man, but I thought it was interesting that Adwick Academy refer to ex pupils of Percy Jackson and the NDTC, but do not mention Adwick School at all! Maybe there is nothing in this, but with some of the negative comments I found on the Internet last year…. it sort of makes me wonder.

Whilst I shall not be adding any further to the Adwick section, you will remember that this blog was temporarily shut down for one day in December. That was when I thought that this big move were beginning. When the academy’s official countdown reaches 0, which by my reckoning is midnight Monday 25th February, this blog shall mark the confirmed end of Adwick School by doing the same as it did in December (GMT).

On Monday 25th February, only one page will show if you come here. There will be one picture of the old Adwick School in black and white, and the blog itself will revert to monochrome. Normal service shall resume midnight Tuesday 26th February.

Please note that the “Adwick School” item on the main menu will also be removed after Easter. No material will be deleted, but you will then have to use the archive to access the Adwick posts. These have already been archived anyway.

“I will drown and nobody shall save me” – reported of someone drowning in a lake. The man, like so many others these days, had not learnt the “shall” and “will” rule!

Finally, you will perhaps have seen that I’m a bit picky about words. I don’t like the modern custom of calling school children “students” – it’s interesting that the academy refers to us oldies as “past pupils”, but calls its own children “students” – but apart from this, I distinguish between “will” and “shall”. You should too. We are losing so many fine distinctions in the English language.

I wonder what will be so special for today’s pupils if they go into higher education, and become students? Yes, I know that this is American usage, but I think that we just end up losing a very fine nuance in English. Now there will be nothing special about one’s status as a student any more.

‘Tis a good thing I emigrated….

Daily Picture: December Gloom

At the very time my friends were revisiting Adwick School, I took a stroll on the beach at Vestbygd (December 8th 2012 - 1pm Norwegian Time)

At the very time my friends were revisiting Adwick School, I took a stroll on the beach at Vestbygd (December 8th 2012 – 1.30 pm Norwegian Time)

Of course Adwick School was firmly on my mind today. My friends from school would be paying their last respects, and just as their tour of the condemned buildings began I took myself out on to the beach at Vestbygd.

A year ago, I had photographed brilliant colours coming to this place. This year there was so much cloud that black and white had to do. Perhaps the weather only reflected the sombreness of the occasion in England. Norwegian Time is one hour ahead of English time, so this picture was taken while the tour of my school was going on.

It is an odd thing that – of all the places – I should end up back here. Vestbygd School, which is itself threatened with demolition, is the one school in Norway with a connection to Adwick School. Back in 1997, when I worked in this municipality before, I had travelled to Adwick School with two of the pupils from Vestbygd. They had enrolled half a day there, and one of them even used my old school tie!

The darkness is upon us. The Polar Night has come.

Alas for thee, O Adwick!

Yesterday I received an e-post from a former pupil of the Percy Jackson Grammar School (which was the earlier name of Adwick School). I was informed that this Saturday my old school will be putting on a tour of its premisses – the last chance for those who went there to see where they grew up. During the Christmas holidays, the present academy will move out of the premisses and into its new buildings – and the older school buildings will all be demolished.

There is a Christmas Market and tour of the ‘Old School’ – the Former Percy Jackson Grammar School/Adwick School on Saturday 8th December 2012. The market begins at 10am and ends at 3pm and the tour starts at 12 noon – assemble in the reception area. This, as you may know, will be the last chance for many of us to visit our former school before it will be demolished next year. The new building for Outwood Academy, Adwick will be completed very soon and their use for the old buildings ended. They plan to move during the Christmas holidays – e-mail from former pupil.

Of course I should have liked to have gone. Unfortunately it is completely out of the question. Even if my economy allowed for a jaunt back to the United Kingdom (which it does not), I have other engagements this weekend. Nevertheless my heart will be there, and I have friends who are going. They have promised to take pictures. If they permit me to, I shall post some on this blog.

My Old (Condemned) School

The former Adwick School now to be demolished.
© Copyright Richard Rogerson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

As I have maintained since the rebuild became known, although I do not oppose it – I think the new facilities are a great thing for today’s children – I will not be sending up the rockets the day the bulldozers move in. Some apparently feel differently. However, I think they are making a mistake. Whatever the failings of our teachers (I have a friend whose memories of school and Adwick in particular are not indescribably happy ones), our formative years are just that: they remain a part of us, and speaking for myself Adwick School will therefore remain a part of me.

On the other hand, I realize that it went from a school with a very good reputation, to one with serious problems, and I cannot speak for those who came after my generation…. one of whom has said that he would like to press the button the day it comes down! I still think that this marks the end of an epoch, and as such we should observe it with quiet dignity. Even if I think that they have done the right thing building new, it is still a sad day to lose the last seat of childhood authority.

Therefore as we now approach this end, Adwick School unashamedly comes to the fore of this blog. On this day, the fourth December 1979, my parents and I met the headmaster Mr Atherfold in the morning, and it was agreed that I should be transferred there. I remember that there was a system of coloured lights outside his room, saying when he was busy and when you could go in! In the afternoon my father took me to Cliffs in Doncaster, where I was fitted out with my Adwick School uniform. I was to start school the following Monday, 10th December. It seems a little strange that these dates fall exactly with the days this year, thirty three years later, just before it all comes to an end.

I should like to thank those who have promised to take pictures for me. Not everyone feels as comfortable with writing as I do, but words for visiting an old school just before it is demolished will always be found wanting. How do you express your feelings? When you see that place that once was “up there”, now very much at your own level? When what was strange and new is familiar, old and worn out? When that room you feared to approach is now just a mundane place?

So thank you to those who are going Saturday. I cannot exactly say enjoy yourselves, but I do hope that you will find the tour meaningful.

Final Countdown

The end is finally nearing for our school. It has been condemned now for over a year.

The end is finally nearing for our school. It has been condemned now for over a year. Many have mixed feelings about the place, but it is something few of us will ever really be finished with. That is why I have called it “our personal Titanic”…

We who went to Adwick School, and its predecessor the Percy Jackson Grammar School, must now brace ourselves for the inevitable. For a whole year now, we have known that our school has been condemned, and that when the new school is built what was ours will be demolished.

Everything apart from one solitary building in the  old North wing (which was a science block in my day), nearest Tenter Balk Lane, and is now neighbour to the new Community School – will be completely demolished. What used to be our old Junior wing will be gone. What used to be our old Senior wing will also be gone. The covered way, the music block, the gym and everything that was our world – gone! *see correction

To mark this event, the Yorkshire Viking has now a countdown showing the number of days that our old school will continue to function as a school. After the Christmas holidays, the new academy will move out of its buildings, and into the new facilities. In other words, the countdown isn’t exactly a countdown to the demolition – but since that is expected shortly afterwards, it won’t be far off.

You will find the countdown to the left of the pages of this blog. Since I do not know the exact times of the school day, I have set the timer’s “zero hour” to three o’clock in the afternoon.

A Tale of Two Schools

Snowman

A snowman waits to welcome me to Vestbygd School

Today I was out at Vestbygd. It’s a little village 45 kilometres (or 28 miles) away from the municipal centre of Lødingen.

As you can see, the winter has arrived. The white stuff came earlier this week. It makes for very demanding driving, since yesterday it rained, and now the temperature hovers around zero. On my journey I saw two big lorries that had got stuck.

The Albino Moose

This albino moose has stood in the foyer of Vestbygd School since the last time I was here, some 18 years ago

Fortunately I arrived at the school safely, being welcomed by the year’s first snowman. The school brass band is putting on the musical When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town, and I am playing the piano. Today we had a rehearsal from ten o’ clock until five.

Rehearsal at Vestbygd School

Rehearsal at Vestbygd School

Because I used to work here between 1994 and 1998, it was a strange feeling. It is almost as time has stopped still. Yet like my own school in England, this school is marked for demolition. Actually, the decision was deferred last week, but suffice it to say that this is how things are now looking.

In the breaks between our rehearsal, I walked around the school, and the experience was rather surreal. This is the one place in Norway with a connection to my own soon-to-be-demolished school. I took two of its pupils in 1997 to Adwick School. Moreover, I realized that my first meeting with Vestbygd School was this very weekend in October eighteen years ago. I had been on a youth camp with the church, and we had all slept at the school from Friday to Sunday. When the band ate pizza during our lunch break from rehearsal, I realized that the last time I was in the kitchen there was indeed on that camp!

The School Eating Area

School Kitchen: Eating Area. The last time I was here was in 1994!

If, as now seems likely, the school goes the way of Adwick, it is for very different reasons. Vestbygd School was built at a time when there were some 150 children there. Today there are about 23. This means that, for the council that is already cash-strapped, the buildings are just too expensive. However, their proposal to move the old people out the old people’s home and move the children and nursery there has stirred local feelings…

Still, it seems odd that at the time when my former school in Doncaster is now entering its final days, the one school that has a connection to it here might also go the same way. I shall keep you posted!

The Decline of Adwick’s Uniform

Yes I still do have my school tie... :)

The Adwick School Tie (defunct)

Preface – Old Article from 2000

The final seat of authority in childhood, my last school has (to my thinking) acquired an aura of mystique. As I have commented in another post before they were demolished, its old buildings were all that remained of a world that has since passed.

Trying to see when that world actually ended is a heavy exercise in the existential! Of course at the simplest level, it ended at about three o’clock on Thursday, 21st May 1981. That was the day before I was supposed to leave, but for fear of some unpleasant things that were rumoured for the 22nd May itself I had decided not to bother going in that last day. On this final afternoon, I thought I was being very brave “twagging” the very last period, in order that I could slip out unnoticed well before the school bell, and hiding out in my final minutes completely unnoticed in one of the music department’s practice rooms!

Yet of course, I am talking about something more than this. For in the immediate aftermath of my schooling, even the first two years after I had left, I did not think that Adwick School had become any different from the school I had known. It was still the place I used to go to, and nothing more. Eventually, as my own childhood began to recede into time, I began to see my school in more nostalgic terms.

At this time I still had active contact with people in that area, and between the years 1985 and 1988 I first noticed some changes to the uniform that I had worn. This was when I observed pupils leaving the school at the end of the day. Those changes were not very large ones. Yet for the first time there then was a clear distinction between that time I remembered and the school world I saw now.

In 1988 I took up a place at the former Polytechnic of Huddersfield. Sometimes I should return by bus at the weekend. This invariably passed Adwick School just as school was ending. In my years at Huddersfield, I thus noticed the continuing changes to what had once been a very smart uniform. By then it was seeming far less strictly observed, and the overall changes were much more noticeable.

Having emigrated from the United Kingdom in 1991, I was to have yet one more experience of the school world at Adwick. This was in 1997, when I travelled back there with two Norwegian school children. One of them, indeed, borrowed my old school tie, and they were enrolled at the school for half a day. However, by now many pupils were not wearing the uniform, or only parts of it, and I had the impression even then that its days were drawing to an end.

In 2000, a year before my father passed away, I wrote a small article concerning this on my home page – the blog wasn’t invented back then! This article was subsequently revised after my father had died, and indeed after the uniform had finally been replaced. In 2002, Adwick School was renamed Doncaster North Technology College, and together with the new branding for the school, the old uniform was replaced by a modern dress code.

I am aware that the older Doncaster North Technology College, which itself has now been superseded by the new Outwood Academy Adwick, called their dress code a “uniform”. However for the purposes of this discussion, I prefer to restrict the term “uniform” to a certain type of  school clothing. The technology college’s “uniform” is far better described as a dress code for these purposes. Nevertheless, from what I can gather about the new academy, there is once again a uniform, as smart and strictly applied as ours in my days. That is however completely different to the green, white and black uniform we wore at Adwick School.

I am republishing here my earlier article, after its revisions in 2002. Take yourself back therefore to that year. These are my observations regarding the decline and ultimate loss of the Adwick School uniform…. They are only my opinions, and in no way meant to be authoritative!

Note: this article was first published in year 2000, when the last vestiges of school uniform still existed at Adwick High. The only changes made are therefore those of tense. For example, “traces of its distinctive look could still be seen” was originally “traces of its distinctive look can still be seen”.

The article is otherwise republished exactly as it was first put out on the Internet, below.

Observations on School Uniform

Adwick School had a classical English school uniform. Traces of its very distinctive look could still be seen as recently as 2001, when formerly speaking the school still retained it. However by then, there could be little doubting its decline, compared to its heyday in the seventies.

That this is so I can vouchsafe myself. When I was a pupil at the end of that period, I did know about the practice of wearing the school tie in such a way that only a tiny bit could be seen poking out of the knot. However, this was then fairly new, regarded as scruffy appearance, and the vast majority of us still wore it conventionally. Indeed house tutors would upbraid us if our ties and uniform were not neatly, and correctly worn.

me

Me! In Glorious Adwick School Uniform!

This photograph to the right admittedly shows my tie in a position that would have earned such an admonishment. Yet it was taken, as I recall, at the very end of the school day, and the “slack” tie shows the photograph to be genuine: schoolboys did not as a rule pay too much attention to detail unless teachers made them. What the photograph does clearly show is the school tie with the correct knot (as opposed to the “scruffy” versions described above that later became both fashionable and, indeed, the rule rather than the exception).

Documented too are all of the uniform’s items waist up, with the sole exception of the school scarf. Had I been conscious of the photograph’s ultimate historical value to this discussion, I would definitely have taken my scarf along with me – but such things had of course never dawned on me when this photograph was taken. I was no doubt counting down the minutes to the bell (for home-time).

The photograph being old has required a good deal of editing on the computer, and this is the best I can do. I have been able to bring the green back to the blazer and tie (which had all but gone on the original), but to make this green colour like it was when the photograph was taken would unfortunately make me look rather “seasick” in the face.

Shown too is the distinctive black V-neck, which disappeared in the eighties shortly after I left school. The green and white colours of the school’s green, white, and black scheme made two stripes at the “V” of the neck and at the arms, which were folded in at the ends – though I cannot now remember how those stripes were, whether they were right at the point where the hands came out, or further up the fold.

Not shown is the equally distinctive Adwick School logo on the breast pocket. This took the form of bold black initials “AS” on a white background that filled the square of the pocket. Below this was a so-called “flash” that denoted the House (pupils belonged to Priestley, Delius, Rhodes or Moore Houses).

The Priestley flash I wore was yellow, the others were blue, green and red – if my memory serves me correct, though I cannot remember which colour corresponded to which House. The name of the House was written in clear black letters over this colour background.

The Adwick School Sixth Form also had a uniform. That was certainly not in existence a year ago, and given that I did not stay on after 16 years at school, I regret that I cannot remember the details of how exactly it was composed.

The Uniform Begins to Change

Not long after my departure from Adwick in 1981, the uniform began to change. The neighbouring school, Don Valley High School lost its uniform entirely (at least in the stricter sense of the word “uniform” required for this discussion), and although the Adwick uniform remained times were a changing.

Between the years 1985 and 1986, I observed that the first casualty of these changes was the V-neck pullover. The majority of children were now wearing plain black V-necks, without the colour stripes at the “V”. These would be clothes bought from ordinary shops, and not specially tailored uniform clothes. A very few did have the old patterns, and I suspect these were children from the more well to do areas of Sprotborough – which was still a part of Adwick’s catchment area at that time.

The V-neck became completely discarded soon afterwards. This happened in the early nineties, and by 1997 when I visited Adwick with two schoolboys from where I now live, I was told that the V-neck was still “there” theoretically – but nobody would be seen dead wearing it. Indeed I noticed how, despite the cold September air, pupils would go to school with but the protection of a shirt, their designer winter coats open.

The latter indeed, in all kinds of sundry colours now masked the look of uniform, at least when the children were outdoors. I had observed moreover that the blazer too seemed to be on the way out: the answer seemed to be to go to school without it, with an outer designer coat for protection from the elements. At the time of my visit, though, there were still plenty blazers to be seen, but those dropping them altogether were quite noticeable.

The tie was by now either not worn at all, or worn with most of the tie tucked into the shirt, and only the tip end showing out of the knot. I had the distinct impression then that the uniform’s days were numbered.

As good as all girls now wore trousers – not that there were anything wrong with that I hasten to add – but because these girls had so many colour alternatives, and because of the outer clothing that everybody wore over the uniform, the whole point did seem to be lost. The uniform no longer existed in the strict sense, though a weakened impression of uniform did admittedly hang on for dear life.

Important note: this article was revised in 2002. Outwood Academy Adwick has now reintroduced school uniform. This is a very smart one too, using purple and black with an earthy yellow stripe. See the official website for the academy. This article was written at a time when uniform (as I prefer to understand the word) had been abolished. I did not foresee a time it would ever return again, as it has with the academy. That is therefore the context of the final paragraphs below.

It was therefore, regrettably only a matter of time before someone took the by then inevitable step of abolishing the Adwick Uniform. At the end of the day, a uniform is the expression of the community that wears it; and when there is no consensus for keeping it, no amount of force will save it. There is a world of difference between the last dying vestiges of Adwick Uniform and its living, proud expression of the former generation.

In our day, the uniform fulfilled a role, and both we and our parents wanted it. Yet to be fair too, that was a bygone age, with different values. Today the community had to make a choice: it had either to abolish school uniform altogether or put its weight behind the concept. Clearly it has chosen to do the first.

Now the Adwick uniform is history. It is my firm opinion that whatever the rights or wrongs of its abolition, the uniform is [also] important history. Children today and tomorrow should know about it, because it was an essential part of being a child in school for many generations. History is about how we understand ourselves, and with the demise of classical school uniform at Adwick, it is even more important to keep it living in historical discussions and study.

Description of the Older Uniform

Girls Green or grey skirt; otherwise as boys except blazer optional

Boys White shirt

School Tie (pictured) – green, white, black diagonal stripes

Black trousers

Green Adwick Blazer

Black V-neck – green and white stripes at “V” and arms

In addition came the optional school scarf. This had parallel stripes of green, white, and black – though interestingly the black colour band was a little larger than the green colour band. The white band came in the middle, and like the stripe on the tie was the smallest.

The school scarf was never widely used. I had one, but unfortunately I have no pictures of it.

The school tie I still have today. It is pictured at the top.

Main Story In Both Blogs

Old School

This is where the last part of my formative years were spent – the main building of the former Adwick School soon to be demolished, along with the other buildings there. © Copyright Richard Rogerson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Since my Norwegian blog was launched last year, I have maintained a twin blog system. I have one blog for English, another for Norwegian.

I intend continuing thus. The system has served my blogging needs very well, and further allowed me to be much more radical in my Norwegian (since May this year I have favoured Nynorsk over the more usual Bokmål). Nevertheless the matter relating to my former school merits coverage in both blogs. Because of this, I have also made an exception in just this case alone, and you will find an English translation of the original Norwegian post on the Norwegian blog itself.

The translation is but that, and is therefore on a separate page. The alternative would have been to put the translation on this blog, as I have before. However, in this case both blogs will be covering what effectively is the end of an important part of my formative years. That is why I feel I have to cover these developments on my personal blogs. It is “front page” stuff in a sense.

Both blogs will therefore continue with their own separate identities, but the Norwegian one will also cover this story from its own angle.

Prisoner On Death Row

Adwick

Download all the old Adwick icons as an icon library by clicking here.

Thou shalt become our enduring myth. Reason there is we still remember thee – if only in contempt!

Soon shalt thou be gone. Some quip*,

they would like to press the button

when they finally despatch thee to eternity.

Methinks getting rid of thee will be much harder. Thou wilt haunt our collective memory,

long after thou hast gone.

Thou shalt be our Titanic; thy years our own Atlantis,

A story we are never finished with,

A legend living on within,

Powered by what we will not own:

our conscience and our loss.

Thou shalt be our lasting myth. Live thou long when thou art gone!