Demolition is well underway at the former St Lawrence’s School on Weaste Lane in Salford.
It will be replaced by a housing development and eventually, the new St Luke’s Primary School.
At SalfordOnline.com we seem to be filming more and more the demolition of Salford buildings, pubs, churches, offices, landmarks and what seems to be an ever increasing number of schools.
I have a particular affection for this place as I attended for several years in the 1960’s and still have many fond memories.
I visited the school last week and the site manager a very friendly Scouser called Tucker gave me a guided tour around the site. It was not possible to go inside the buildings as it was too dangerous.
I have to admit that it was quite sad watching my old school being demolished. Trying hard to concentrate really brought the memories flooding back, mainly good ones I am happy to say.
Now dozens of windows have been smashed by local vandals, walls ripped down, the woodwork and metalwork blocks were under demolition, entire walls have been ripped out exposing some of the classrooms that I sat in many years ago.
When it finally closed its doors in August 2014 the school was known as All Hallows Business Enterprise and Sports College, which itself moved to newly built premises at Eccles Old Road in September 2014.
To many of the older generation, though, it will always be be St Lawrence’s or ‘Lawrie’s’.
It opened to cater for 550 pupils in May 1960, taking children aged 11 -15 from local Catholic primary schools including St James’s, All Souls, and St Luke’s.
50 years ago in Salford: Double heartbreak at St Lawrence’s as vandals rampage through school
At the time it was a state of the art building with a separate metalwork and woodwork block, catering classes, its own sports pitch, an indoor gym, a library, a first-rate school canteen and science labs, unheard of in other schools in Salford.
The teachers that taught me included in no particular order, Mr Byron, Mr Connolly, Mr Williams, Mr Hayes, Mr Kennedy, Mrs Clegg, Miss Stewart, Mr Wilmot, Mr Larkin, and Mr Rice the art teacher who for some reason barred me from the art class for a whole term for some minor reason, however with his Scouse accent and motorbike he was a particular favourite with the girls.
Two stories from St Lawrence’s that I would like to share with you are about my ‘expertise’ in both woodwork and metalwork, or lack thereof.
The ‘woodwork incident’ as it shall be named, involved all the kids having to make something practical to take home.
Slogging away for months, I managed to produce a small three legged table which broke when my father sat on it, however I’m glad to say it made for excellent firewood.
I then had to make a clothes horse, this was a wooden frame on which you would hang your clothes to dry in front of an open coal fire.
I finished this dreadful contraption after about six months. The difficult part was glueing the mortice and tenon joints together with a concoction called horse glue. I still think about the poor horses who passed away to make this possible.
I took the clothes horse home and my mother attempted to dry the clothes on it, I think you can guess what happened next.
The heat melted the glue and the whole thing collapsed into the fire burning several prized shirts. That was the end of woodwork lessons for me.
The ‘metalwork incident’ involved me attempting to make a tin mug under the beady eye of Mr Connolly, no stranger to outbreaks of casual violence in the classroom.
I tried telling him that we only had had proper cups at home and we didn’t need a tin one, I even offered to buy one from the market to placate him.
He made me make this mug, which when finished was an abomination and the worst part about it was when you filled it with a warm beverage it burnt your hands and lips as you tried to drink from it, it was so dented looked like it had seen action on the Western Front, so it went straight in the bin (when Mr Connolly wasn’t looking of course).
The statue of St Lawrence is still on the wall but I was told that there are no plans to salvage it, so it seems likely that he will join the ever growing mound of bricks and rubble, a sad fate.
In a week’s time the site will be flattened and work will commence upon building a new St Luke’s primary school and of course brand new affordable housing.
So another part of our city’s heritage goes under the demolition wrecking ball. The school was only open 54 years which isn’t that long, all of the other schools that were demolished as mentioned earlier were open 100 years or more.
SalfordOnline.com have been invited to return and we shall film the final days of our beloved ‘Lawries’ for posterity.