Having attended Bowland High for four years, I have much to say about the school and my experience there so far.
However, one particular aspect of the school that greatly interests me is its history.
I’m still am very grateful that I got into Bowland and throughout my years there, I have learnt much about its history.
Unlike other schools within the Ribble Valley, Bowland wasn’t built intentionally as a school; the main building was built around 1865 to be used as Foxley Bank Hydro.
Following this, the building became a hotel during the Edwardian era.
Later on, during the 1920s, the school’s building became an orphanage, another very interesting part of the school’s history. The Orphanage was under the control of and directed by Sister Ella Curnock and provided a home for orphaned children. However a more gruesome part of the building’s history was caused by a young boy, Jeremiah, who jumped out of a window and killed himself.
There have always been stories of Jeremiah’s ghost still floating around the school’s old building and the haunting moments of door slamming and light flickering, which was probably just draughts and old electrics, but I imagine the idea of scaring new pupils with stories of the supernatural was much more entertaining for my teachers.
The school’s old building was then used as a home for refugee children during the wartime, and through further research I found out that there was a 50th anniversary reunion for the refugees in 1989, and a short film was made for television called “They Came to Riversmead” in commemoration of this key point within the school’s history.
In 1949, the building then developed into and opened as Bowland High School, originally called Riversmead.
In one of my school assemblies last year, I was saddened by the news of plans to knock the old school down to build a new, more modern building.
Many people – pupils, ex-pupils and parents alike – were upset that the building that held so much history was going to be demolished. But, after the bats that had made the building their home moved on, the plan went through.
Now the old building is no longer here and the new building is in the process of construction, and, although I do miss the musty smell and the moulding walls, I now understand that the new building will be much safer and a much better learning environment and will remain so throughout the coming years.