Dashwood Mysteries

Can you help solve these puzzles from the archive?

The missing school entrance

The girls’ entrance shown in around 1902 when the school opened.

I hoped the plasterboard hid the old girls' entrance.
1902 Girls entrance pic close
2008 Aerial view modern

Thursday 17th November 2011 – On my visit to the Dashwood site, currently under redevelopment, I was surprised not to be able to see the old girls’ entrance to the school. I had always thought it was obscured by the infill build between the infant and main school, but even with all that removed, I couldn’t see it.

The site manager, Vinny Franklin, speculated that it might still be hidden beneath the plasterboard shown in the picture.

I will try to confirm where the entrance was from the school’s original plans, but in the mean time, if anyone can shed light, please get in touch!

UPDATE Tuesday 22 November 2011 – I have now looked at a 1902 photo of the school from the archive – a picture we could not squeeze into the book. It shows the original girls’ entrance in a wall joining the main school with the infants’ school building –  see the photo, and close-up.

So when was the original girls’ entrance demolished? We don’t have a definite answer, but we can make some educated guesses.

  • In the early 1960s, the Local Education Authority funded indoor toilets for the first time, fitted inside new additions to the playground side of the school (near the boys’ entrance)
  • It’s very likely that the modern addition between the main and infants’ school was added at the same time
  • This infill area was also used to provide indoor toilets, as it was up until the school closed. A plan from 1982 shows the layout
  • We can see the former location of the cisterns in a current photograph!

2 Responses to The missing school entrance

  1. Emma Mobbs says:

    Compare the full black and white 1900s photo of the old version of Dashwood to the 2008 version, you will see that by the three classrooms (left side), you will see that the toilets there (used for the year 1-4s) there is the jut-in of the building on the 1900s pic is where the girls doorway was, I remember from the inside of the building you see an arch instead of a rectangle for a doorway, compared to the other doorways.

  2. André says:


    I am quite certain I remember the old girl’s entrance that you have been referring to, on Dashwood Road itself, whereas we boys had an entrance, with same wrought iron work and labeling on Newland Road. I am pretty sure there was an old, unused, wrought iron gate, with ‘Girls’ as part of the iron work, leading to the old Girls entrance from Dashwood Road, too. It may also have been in use during my first year there, as I do not remember the girls sharing an entrance with us. I also remember there was an entrance/exit to the school Marlborough Place. This led into the playground, where, to the right, on entry, the crates of milk would be left and up ahead was an area where the coke was left, before we had to shovel it into the boiler room. I could be wrong, but wasn’t the playground segregated even then, with the girls using the Marlborough Place end?

    I think the girls did use the Newland Road gate (didn’t that have ‘Boys’ in ironwork?) but they entered the school somewhere towards the boiler room and not through the same way as we boys. I seem to remember, one holiday, possibly the summer hols of 1966, there was some building work at the school and again I (vaguely) think the old Girls entrance went then. I seem to remember we boys would enter through the playground, turn left, walk ahead and then through our entrance, with ‘Boys’ above in the stonework. To the right, inside, were our coat hooks and changing room and then the boys loos, possibly in a ‘new’ extension, so I am sure, unless my memory fails, that the girls entered somewhere else, otherwise they would have seen us!

    To the left of our entrance was a new (then) sports room, where the vaulting horse, mats etc were stored. My guess is the old Girls entrance went in 1966.



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