With the clock ticking for Shrewsbury’s Wakeman School as closure looms, a team is determined to capture for posterity memories of a school in the heart of the county town which has taught generations of youngsters.
Deadline day is July 19, 2013, when the Wakeman becomes another part of Shrewsbury’s disappeared heritage.
But history teacher Don Fear is determined that the Wakeman, which fought a long but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to stay open, will not be forgotten.
“There’s a very narrow window of opportunity. I think we’re going to go down the line of having a documentary film on the history of the Wakeman.
“It’s really a matter of rounding up as many past pupils and staff, and others who remember the school, as we can. The idea would be to interview them and film them and splice it all together into a history of the Wakeman,” said Mr Fear.
“I’ve been a teacher at the school for seven years and I love it here. We were all very sad and cross about the decision to close the school.
“I remember being so impressed the very first time I visited and thought what an amazing building it is. You can almost feel the weight of heritage and history here. I heard all the stories about the school and I strongly feel these stories must not be lost.
“The part the Wakeman has played in the story of Shrewsbury itself is a remarkable one and deserves a wider audience and to be committed to posterity.”
The film will also include a resume of the history of the school. “It goes back to 1899 when the council first bought the land on which it stands. It was the technical college, and then the technical high school, and changed its name to the Wakeman in 1965.
“I wanted to concentrate on the post-1965 period if possible, but I’ve been approached by people who were pupils at the technical high school at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s, and we will incorporate them.”
Mr Fear says a documentary film-maker has already expressed an interest in becoming involved.
He said the Shrewsbury museum and archives were interested. He also envisages the completed film being on a website and being used at various commemorative events and reunions.
One of the many memorable features of the Wakeman was its proximity to Shrewsbury Town’s ground at the Gay Meadow, meaning that upper windows offered a grandstand view of the action.
“I think the staff used to watch the matches – you don’t get many kids in school on Saturday. When there were big cup matches I’m pretty sure that the rooms with the relevant view were pretty overcrowded. I believe they also used the school to film with the TV cameras.”
Anybody with memories they would like to contribute can contact Mr Fear at the school on (01743) 365771 or at email@example.com by email.