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Say goodbye to Tufnell Park Primary School's 1955 buildings in style

PUBLISHED: 10:05 13 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:05 13 June 2019

Tufnell Park Primary School children on a visit to London Zoo in 1966 or 1967. Picture: S A Sear

Tufnell Park Primary School children on a visit to London Zoo in 1966 or 1967. Picture: S A Sear

Archant

Alumni of Tufnell Park Primary School have a chance to relive their memories of discos in the hall and reunite with old classmates before the 1955 building is bulldozed to make way for new facilities.

Dalmeny Road in 1950. Picture: Tufnell Park Primary SchoolDalmeny Road in 1950. Picture: Tufnell Park Primary School

Friends of Tufnell Park Primary School (FTPPS) are inviting former pupils and teachers an "open school afternoon" on July 5 and a "last party in the hall" on July 12, before their beloved Dalmeny Road building is demolished.

Following a consultation in 2017, Islington Council decided to spend £14million rebuilding the school so it could double the rollcall from 315 to 630 pupils by 2025, with the addition of a three-storey building on the same site. The new modular school building, complete was installed before Christmas, and its interior is now being decked out.

Headteacher Martin Scarborough told the Gazette: "Moving into our new school building presents so many exciting opportunities for positive change in our community.

"But as we take this next step on the journey, we also wanted to take the chance to celebrate our history, and our stories of what brought us all here to Tufnell Park."

Building the nursery, 2005. Picture: Tufnell Park Primary SchoolBuilding the nursery, 2005. Picture: Tufnell Park Primary School

The building work will be complete come September.

But its down-at-heel one-storey predecessor, soon to be rubble, was in its day a progressive break from the dimly lit Victorian classrooms that came before it.

This post-war creation was well-lit, boasted same-sex classes, and was build for kids growing up in the nearby Hilldrop and Tufnell Park Estates.

It was officially opened in 1955 by Noel Streatfeild, a celebrated kids author of her time, who said: "What a lovely school this is - so modern."

An international-themed wall hanging created by kids at Tufnell Park Primary School. Picture: Tufnell Park Primary SchoolAn international-themed wall hanging created by kids at Tufnell Park Primary School. Picture: Tufnell Park Primary School

Aldermon Lendon, the school's first assistant head, added: "The children are certainly enthusiastic.

"There is no doubt we shall get along very well together."

Over the decades, more than 25,000 youngsters went to school in this building - and the Friends want to hear from them.

Jerome Boisard, of FTPPS, told the Gazette: "It's the last time people are going to be able to see the buildings because they are part of the community's history and will soon be destroyed.

"There is an emotional charge attached to meeting again in the hall where you finished Year 6 and moved on.

"It's a moment to go and say goodbye.

"We are getting a network of friends to come back to the school to share their memories or skills to help others."

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Jerome's two children Adam, 21, and Clara, 20, both attended the school in the early 2000s.

During this period Jerome was a governor for eight years and chaired the parent-teacher association (PTA).

He continues to be involved as a community governor.

"All the smells in the hall have memories from the past," he added.

"But the building is old, it has rendered service and it's time for something more modern and nice."

FTPS are calling for pieces of artwork in the old building, such as ceramics and murals, to be "salvaged" and kept within the revamped site as a reminder of times gone by.

Tufnell Park Primary School is also selling bricks from the historic buildings to help raise cash to install a new playground.

People can "buy a brick" with their name or a message engraved on it for £25.

In a joint statement, FTPPS said: "In 1955, Tufnell Park Primary School opened its doors to educate Islington's post-war baby-boomers.

"The school represented a new vision for the future of London's children.

"It was part of an expansion of education across the UK and [was] propelled by growing populations and the deficiencies of dilapidated and bomb-damaged Victorian school buildings."

But they added: "London's ever growing populations means more space is needed."

The open day will run from 4.30pm to 7pm, and people can explore the old school hall and remaining classrooms.

To book a place for a tour call the school reception on 020 7607 4852.

The last party in the school hall is touted as a chance to catch up with old peers and teachers, and will run from 6.30pm to 10pm.

You can call the same number to register an interest.

FTPPS is a volunteer-run group formed by ex-pupils, teachers, and parents who wanted to continue contributing to the school.

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