TowneleyGatehouse TECHNALIANS  Burnley Heasandford Towneley

Visit to Towneley school buildings - Saturday November 15th 2008
The present occupants of the Towneley school buildings are Unity College who expect to move into new state of the art buildings, being erected on what were our school playing fields, in August 2010. The present buildings will them be demolished. The Head Teacher of Unity College, Mrs Sally Cryer, suggested that we might like to have accesss to the school while it still there; and arrangements were made for us to visit the Towneley school on Saturday November 15th.

About 20 former pupils and partners took advantage of the opportunity offered and for almost three hours small groups wandered around the corridors remembering how things used to be. There have been many changes but it was not difficult to go back 50 years and remember staff and students, friendships and idiosyncrasies, mishaps and bizarre incidents. As different groupings met in particular rooms, corridors or workshops it all came pouring out.

Everyone there was delighted to share in the corporate nostalgia. We are grateful to Mrs Cryer for making it possible. Also to Mr Phil Glover who opened the doors, patiently over-saw our wanderings and answered constant questions about current room usage and school organisation.
by Graham Tennant

by Peter Chadwick
Some pictures showing changes to the outside of the school buildings since the 1950s
(by Graham Tennant15/11/08)
Junior Yard Gate Senior yard, gym and changing room corridor
1. The gate into the TTHS Junior Yard through which so many passed on their first day at secondary school has not changed at all. Only the pitched roof is unfamiliar; but hopefully has cured the perennial problems associated with the original flat roofs. The building behind the gate contained all the cloakrooms and formed the south side of the internal quadrangle.  2. The TTHS Junior Yard, gym and changing room corridor are familiar to the 1950s eye - except for the pitched roofs. The modular classrooms and security fencing are later additions. The changing rooms are now used as offices with children using the gym having to change in the more recent sports hall beyond the the TTHS Senior (BTHS - boys) Yard. In BTHS days the yard shown here was used by the girls.
Gymnasium built 1951
3  The new gym built with pride by Burnley Borough Council in 1951 as an extra facility when the school became a Technical High School.  The County Borough's coat of arms is carved in stone above the windows. The original gym became the canteen.
Towneley Holmes
4  It is good to be reminded of the natural beauty of the school's setting  on Towneley Holmes, with tantalising views of  the Cliviger Gorge - with Black Hambledon to its north and Thieveley Scout on the south side.
South classroom wing Senior yard and prefects room
5. The gym (left) and the south classroom wing have been in use since the late 1940s.  Beyond are the more recent flood-lights for the all weather sports pitch and the red wall and blue roof of the sports hall connected to the north classroom wing. Internally, we noted that all the plain glass walls between rooms and corridor  had been bricked up at some stage (as throughout the school). 6. The TTHS Senior Yard (BTHS Boys Yard), venue during the 1950s of the annual Burnley Youth Bugle Band competition. In the far corner, the 1950s prefects room above the window of the chemistry lab preparation room (where 'A' level chemistry was taught). From the flat roof above, the 6th form boys abseiled into the yard. One possible adverse effect of the pitched roof on the classroom wing can be seen, as they cover the corridor as well. This must block out the light to the classrooms from the windows above the original corridor roof. Over the chemistry lab was the library. Left, the new sports hall and to the right the kitchens. Gone, all the grass.
The old main entrance New workshop block
7. The original main entrance, with art nouveau stairwell.  In the 1950s the Secretary and  Headmaster were accomodated to right with the Art Room above. To the left metalwork and engineering workshops were on the ground floor with woodwork above.
BRIAN HUNT has added (27/11/08) "When I left in 1951 the room above the metalwork room was the chemistry lab occupied by Mr 'Clem' Cole. The woodwork shop was next along the ground floor from the metal shop. The room above the Head's office was the school library. It had very few books and was used for chess at lunchtime. I must say that the new roof line does little to improve the aesthetics of the building."
8. The end of the original 2-storey front block is shown by the roof line and the tops of the windows in the end wall of what was the Art Room. A large new block housing IT and craft workshops is nearer the camera; and the new main entrance is between the old and new structures.
The new block must contain about 1/8th of the total school accomodation as we were told that 25% of the school's current 800+ pupils pass through the corridor connecting the old and new sections every time classes change.

Some pictures showing changes to the inside of the school buildings since the 1950s
(by Peter Chadwick 15/11/08)
Cruish Hall from old entrance 27-11-08 Main Corridor Room 19-24 corridor
1.  The Crush Hall (seen from the original school entrance) is unfamiliar in form and purpose to those who were pupils here in the 1950s and 60s. 2. The main corrider from the entrance and Crush Hall leads eastwards with  the Quadrangle exposed through the windows on the right. Gone are the windows on the left of the corridor which opened onto metalwork, engineering and textile workshops. 3. The corrider of class-rooms  19-24 built as part of the extensions of 1951. On the left the bricked up windows which use to form the class- room walls.
HALL Hall seating
4.  Barry Robinson surveys what we used to call  The Hall. Venue for Morning Assembley (daily), music lessons (weekly), GCE and ULCI exams (annually) and 6th form dances (occassionally). In the further darkness the stage (where the Film Club met weekly in the late 50s) may still exist. 5.  The seating
Canteen Old Art Room
5. The Canteen (the gym in the original 1941 school) since the school's reconfiguration  in 1951. 6.  To those of us from the '50s and 60's this was the art room. Prior to the 1951 extensions it was the library.
Girls Yard QUAD Where is the Bicycle Shed
7.  Peter has labelled this the "Girl's Yard" - prior to 1956 it was the Junior Boys' Yard. Woodville Road runs alongside the yard boundary. 8.  The Quadrangle. With a '50s / '60s perspective, we are looking towards the Hall with  toilets and cloakrooms to the left. The photograph has been taken from the corrider outside the 1st floor Library (now a biology lab / classroom).. Teaching spaces have been build out into the quadrangle. 9.  The space between the two classsroom wings of  the 1951 extensions. Peter asks  "Where is the Bike Shed??"  Double sided and roofed, it had accomadation for about 60 bicycles - and was well used in the 50s.
New Metalworek room  27-11-08 barry Robinson surveys the woodwork room
10.  The  metalwork room in the new IT and Crafts block built on the Todmorden Road side of the school entrance. One lathe survives.
PETER CHADWICK comments, "the solitary lathe in the new block is not operational - disconnected from the mains. A far cry from the well equipped metalwork room of the 60s (my era - 59-66). Time spent here launched me into a career in engineering."
11.  Barry  studies the facilities of the 'new' woodwork room.

Corridor to Gymn Changing room corrdor Gym
12.  Corridor to the Gym (up the stairs in the far distance). The "Girls' Yard" is through the door on the right, and the 1951 classroom wings are reached through the door on the left and another on the left at the bottom of the Gym stairs 13. The corrider at the top of the stairs curves round to the Gym with two changing rooms (with showers between) on the left. These are now offices. 14. The 1951 gymnasium looks little different now to how it was when I fiirst knew it in 1952 (GT). Changing facilities today are in the sports hall on the far side of the "Boys' Yard" with a connection into the inner classroom wing. The gym  provides examination space in today's school.
Chemistry Preparation Room Old chemistry lab Old physics lab
15.  The old Chemistry Lab preparation room where we did "A"-level chemistry with Dr Miller. Above this room was the TTHS Prefects' Room - after 1956 the Boys Prefects' Room.. The Boys Yard and one of the 1951 classroom wings is visible through the window. 16  This used to be the chemistry lab with two  fume cupboard along what is now the blue wall.. Through the window can be seen the block which used to have the staff room on the ground floor and the Technical Drawing Office above.. 17   This is the 1950s / 60s Physics Lab. Both labs (are they labs any more?) retain their views towards Cliviger, but the window-walls onto the corridors have been bricked up. The posters in the old-physics lab were mainly botanical in nature; and, perhaps, more physical in the old-chemistry lab - statistical tests, planetary systems and cloud formation.
Old Library Old room 11 Technical drawing
18.  The Library of the 50s and 60s has a biological feel 19.  The foirmer Room 11 (Technical Drawing Office) has today a large number of informative posters which seem to come under the general heading of 'Environmental Science'. [Note the antique Analytical Balance  on top of the book-case. Original equipment in the old-chemistry lab]