Breakfast in the Ruins

Meant to blog about this in my previous entry – but better late than never…

One of the unavoidable and inevitable things about coming back to the place where you grew up is the way things have changed. Cornwall doesn’t change much – and there are plenty of places here that are still identical in every respect – but there are also plenty of differences, especially since I haven’t really spent an extended period of time down here for a number of years (the month when I was writing and house-sitting in 2006 doesn’t count, as I barely went out!) It’s always a bit odd spotting the changes, or seeing a building and saying “I don’t remember that being there…” but nothing quite prepared me for what’s happened to the ‘Old Site’ of Pool School, my old secondary school.

A brief explanation – when I attended it (from 1985-1990), Pool School was divided up into two sites on opposite sides of one of the main roads in Pool. There was the ‘New Site’, a sprawling bit of late Sixties concrete that housed the 3rd-5th years (and the majority of the classrooms), and there was the ‘Old Site’, which consisted of a building which had (if memory serves me correctly) originally been the main school, along with a whole collection of Portacabins and small buildings, and this housed the 1st and 2nd years. There was quite a lot there, and I can remember it being a busy and thriving place, even if it was somewhat restrictive, and it was a bit of a relief when I finally ‘graduated’ to the third year and only made occasional journeys back.

Now, there’s been lots of changes in Pool – last time I was down, Tris and I had a wander around Cornwall College, and I was somewhat shocked to find that the Humanities block (one of the main locations for my video project The Alchemist) wasn’t there anymore, so I’m used to the idea that stuff is going to be different. But the Old Site… well, Tris offered me the chance to have a look, so I wandered up there, expecting it to be pretty changed – and it wasn’t so much the fact that the Site was gone, it’s the fact that there isn’t any proof that it was even there in the first place! The main building is still there, but the rest of the buildings are all gone without trace, and the whole thing is now owned by a development company and is standing empty for the moment. It’s ended up massively overgrown, with plants covering the site, and it’s genuinely eerie to walk along in a place where I spent so much time years ago, and have it feel like (as Tris described rather accurately) something from Planet of the Apes, like we’d just wandered into a post-apocalyptic landscape.

If I’d been sensible, I’d have gotten some photos (the idea didn’t occur to either of us, and Tris’ camera was back in the car). Nonetheless, it’s a sight that’s going to stick with me for a while – and probably the scariest evidence yet that however much I might want to avoid it, time is going to continue marching on…

One thought on “Breakfast in the Ruins

  1. My 19th century primary school has been demolished. I haven’t been to look at the blank space. My Mum, who is not sentimental, would have been one of the people who approved this.


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