Art salvaged from school demolition

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Builders involved in the demolition of an historic Blackpool secondary school have managed to salvage a key piece of art to be restored as part of the new facilities.

Collegiate High School, on Blackpool Old Road, is being pulled down by contractors Carillion to make way for new £14m buildings on the site.

Demolition work underway at Collegiate High School in Blackpool.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'16-6-2014

Demolition work underway at Collegiate High School in Blackpool. PIC BY ROB LOCK'16-6-2014

And they have managed to salvage a key piece of the decades-old school’s history which will be rehomed in the new Aspire Academy.

The handcarved sculpture of the old Collegiate logo and motto had pride of place on the front wall of the school with its motto in Latin. It was formerly Blackpool Grammar School,

Deputy headteacher John Topping said: “It’s a beautiful sculpture.

“It would have been a tragedy to demolish it so we looked at how we could take it out.

“The contractors very carefully cut around it and removed the bricks and masonry behind it.

“There were signs of weathering on it but they have

miraculously managed to keep it in one piece.”

The two inch thick Lakeland green slate is inscribed with the school motto of ‘Meliora Sequarma’, meaning ‘strive for greatness’ in Latin.Mr Topping added: “Now we’re wondering where it should go, I personally think in the gardens by the foundation stone.

“Clearly we want to hold on to the heritage of the school.

“When the new building is nearer completion we’ll make a judgement on the best place to maintain this stonework.

“This slate is of heritage and sentimental value, people are very passionate about our schools.”

Contractors are working on demolishing the original buildings as Collegiate is set to merge fully with Bispham High School and the site of the former Blackpool Grammar School, getting a multi-million pound facelift to house both under the new Aspire Academy name.

The school’s current Year 11 students are still schooled on the site in temporary accommodation while building work goes on. But builders are working to strict hours to ensure they do not disturb exams.

Mr Topping added: “Contractors are now nibbling away at various parts of the building but are keeping to a strict time scale and when exams are on they will stop.

“It’s quite sad to see what was a fine building in its time reduced to rubble, but we know we’re going to have a spectacular building in the future.”

The remainder of Collegiate’s pupils are now taught at the Bispham High School site, on Bispham Road.

All pupils are expected to move to the Collegiate site when building work is complete in September 2015.