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The School and Schoolmaster's House, Barwick

from The Barwicker No.58

Having bought the building in September 1999 - and as a historian by profession - I was delighted to discover the existence of the Barwick Historical Society. Subsequently, I have read with much interest Nos. 56 and 57 of 'The Barwicker' and I was, of course, fascinated to read your excellent book about the school.

While reading Freda Hewitt's article in No.57, I came across 'The old school is now empty......we now await with interest to see what the new development......will be'. If this 'interest' is indeed widely held, I thought it would be helpful if I informed reader's of our plans for this handsome but hitherto neglected building, the front of which makes an important contribution to the Barwick Landscape.

Although the planning application that was granted in 1995 was for the conversion to 3 residential units, it is our intention to form only 2. The former Schoolmaster's House will remain as one dwelling and the former classrooms will become the other. The conversion will involve almost no change to the front of the building. We are proposing some change at the rear which should considerably smarten up the unsympathetic 1960s extension, and the clumsily detailed work that was undertaken when the school closed. Any internal features - for instance, fire places or doors and door surrounds - have already gone; probably they were victims of the 1960s 'improvements'. However, there are the remains of a number of impressive roof trusses which we intend to repair and keep.

I am a long standing member of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, and subscribe fully to its principles of conservation; definitely there will be no plastic windows of the type which have become surprisingly ubiquitous in Barwick.

For my future wife and I, it was the school's setting that initially attracted us. The grouping of the church and the school is especially pleasing. We hope that by removing the tarmac of the playground and with the addition of some judicious landscaping, the site can be made even more appealing. The 1995 planning application allowed the destruction of the magnificent flowering cherry tree in front of the school, but there is now no question of its removal.

Although the building is hardly an architectural masterpiece, it no doubt holds many memories for those who began their education there.

We hope to move into the Schoolmaster's House this summer and we look forward very much to joining the community and especially the Historical Society.

A.D. 2000

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