Old rulers make artwork at former Denmead school

FORMER pupils of a long-closed school shared their memories when they were invited back.

Saturday, 16th April 2016, 6:06 am
Reunion of Anthill School pupils which is now Denmead Community Centre. More than 100 rulers were found under the hall floor whilst it was being restored, which have been used to make a memorial to the school. Bob Bainbridge MBE and Patricia Stallard do the unveiling. Picture: Paul Jacobs (160237-5)

The former Anthill Common Board School, which later became Denmead School, closed in 1972 and was taken over by Denmead Community Association.

Recently the main hall had a major refurbishment and a number of items from the school were discovered under the floorboards.

Former pupils were invited back to have a look at them and the work that has been done on the hall.

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Penny Lehmann, 69, remembers her time at the school fondly.

Among the relics discovered when the floor was dug up to treat subsidence, in the School Lane building, were hundreds of old wooden rulers.

Penny, of Yew Tree Gardens, came up with the idea of making a collage with them.

She said: ‘I went here when it was Denmead School.

‘I remember walking from the village green and stopping in the village shop along the way to buy sherbert lollies.

‘In the summer we’d sit under the apple trees.

‘It was a surprise to find the rulers – there were so many of them.

‘I cleaned them all up and thought they would look good in the shape of the building but it didn’t work. I think the school name is very effective.’

One of Penny’s classmates was Dave Cox, who went on to become the village blacksmith.

The 69-year-old, of Anmore Road, has strong memories of the teachers and having to use the cold, basic outside toilets.

Maurice Hibberd, 94, was the oldest former pupil at yesterday’s event. He said: ‘I remember being asked to do the headmaster’s garden.

‘This place has changed an awful lot since then.’

Manager Bob Bainbridge MBE invited the community in to find out about groups who use the centre.

He said: ‘I found pyramids of rulers – it was probably a game to drop them between the cracks in the floorboards.

‘There were thimbles, a horse’s tooth and a little horseshoe too.’