St Mark’s School, on its former Wyndham Road site, was one of the primary schools which served the population of the Milford Street Bridge Project area for many decades. Here’s a bit of history, courtesy of the website of the current St Mark’s School (you can find out more about the current school by clicking here).
“St Mark’s School opened originally in a parish room in November 1888. The red brick building on Wyndham Road, built in the popular Victorian Gothic style of the time, was completed in 1889 and educated children in the area from 5 upwards.
In 1926 the school became an Infant and Junior School (5 to 11 years). The older ‘Junior’ pupils moved into a new building of their own in Somerset Road in 1961, leaving the Infants in the original building.
In 1990 the Infants left their 100 year old school in Wyndham Road to occupy their new building in Somerset Road”.
The old school building was then converted into private dwellings.
What was the school like before it was converted, and before the Ring Road was built?
Michael Winterman recalls:
“My memories of my first school, when I was literally just five years old, was a walk along Greencroft Street and through the Council grounds gardens and up the hill to this great big red brick building which seemed enormous, I remember at the time.
That was in Wyndham Road which was St. Mark’s Infants School and the Junior School was then on the same site. And then there was a hall next door where there’s now I think a big block of flats.
Apart from the playground in the immediate vicinity of the classrooms, there was a big field at the back and we were able to run out into this field. And I remember there were butterflies and there were bees and things. But I particularly remember, at the end of the field, the long grass and the buttercups and the daisies …it was a very pretty area”.
Ken Edwards also remembers the playing field, and other outdoor attractions …..
“At the back of the school in those days, we had a huge playing field, which is now the dual carriageway and the playing field went down to the railway so we could watch the trains go by at the bottom of the field, and we did running in the field. It was a big, big field we had there all the way down before the road went in. But one of the drawbacks I think, was we had outside toilets which was a bit nippy in the winter, ‘ticularly when you had to break the ice to go, y’know. But you didn’t worry, you know. I think people are a bit soft these days”.
Michael describes some of the interior of the building:
“They had some big screens between the classrooms. And they were huge, right up to the ceiling, and they would roll these screens back, and then we saw the children in the next classroom.
And there was some rafters that went across the top, because it was a very tall classroom…. you could see right up into the roof .. and there were great big sort of beams going across.
When I moved up to the Junior school, that was at the lower end of the school. There was a big wall between the two playgrounds, and there was a gate, and you used to have to go through that gate, and I felt really chuffed then, because I was a really big boy then. And of course we used to go through into the school through a different entrance to the little ones, and we used to have a classroom, at the far end of that playground, which went out into the field, and that was an art room”.
We do not have any old photos of the school in its original site. Do you have some that you could share?
Of course, there’s more to a school than just its buildings. What was life like at the school for the pupils who went there all those years ago? Click here to read more about those days.