Over 700 turn up for open day at Whitcliffe Mount school ahead of demolition

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As the demolition of Whitcliffe Mount’s original building approaches, Spen Valley Civic Society held a special open day.

Members of the society were joined by staff, pupils and former scholars.

Civic Society member Richard Grylls is the grandson of Reginald M Grylls, one of the five Cleckheaton men who founded the original school in 1910.

Richard presented a framed early photo of the building to current headteacher Jennifer Templar, with the intention that it will be displayed in the new building when it officially opens its doors later this year.

Speaking to assembled guests, Richard said “This is a bittersweet occasion.

“Nobody has ever explained why no alternative use for the building has been considered during the long development and planning process.”

Richard added: “Over 700 visitors toured the school during the four-hour event, including some who attended the school as far back as the 1930s and 1940s.

“Some people had travelled long distances for a chance to see the building before it is demolished.”

Current pupils helped visitors tour the school and take in the sights and smells of the tiled corridors and parquet wood floors.

Visitors spoke of fond memories of their schooldays and their sadness that such a sound building will disappear without trace within a matter of weeks.

The Foundation Building was paid for by public subscription, the 20th century version of crowdfunding.

When the education authority decided that Spen Valley should only have one high school (in Heckmondwike), hundreds of Cleckheaton residents ensure that local children would have the opportunity of secondary schooling.