The Bluecoat School Post-16 Centre
The historical connection between St Peter's and the Bluecoat School was touched upon in my article of November 1995 as background to an Appeal, subsequently successful, for donations towards the School's share of funding for construction of a new Sixth Form Block. (Some of those details are mentioned in the article on this site.) That link was placed in a very modern context recently during the official opening ceremony for the new accommodation on 7th February 1997. Among the many displays to demonstrate school activities was the impressive and well-equipped new computer suite. Needless to say, in order to be at the forefront of new technology the School is now linked to the Internet, and that facility was on display. Prominent on screens as visitors toured the suite was information on the Internet about St Peter's including a range of historical information, sketches and magazine articles.
Stopping at traffic lights on the way to the opening ceremony, I glanced casually towards a car alongside. The familiar profile of Lord Runcie, former Archbishop of Canterbury, was visible in the passenger seat of the Head of Sixth's car as he was being ferried from the Midland Station, escorted by the Head Boy and Head Girl. Clearly one VIP guest had made it! Lord Runcie, as one of the Patrons of the Appeal, had been invited to open the new building officially, although in fact it has been in use very successfully since September.
Of course, Robert Runcie has links with both St Peter's and Bluecoat, the former through his sister Kathleen, wife of Canon Inglis (Rector here between 1948 and 1979 and Vice-Chairman of the Bluecoat Governing Body) and the latter through having been invited to speak some forty two years ago at Bluecoat School's former premises on Mansfield Road. He recalled that visit during his highly absorbing and humorous Commemorative Address, reflecting that perhaps he had not been thought well of on that occasion as it had taken forty two years to invite him back!
The opening ceremony took place in two parts, the first being a formal Service of Thanksgiving for the School in the Great Room, this being led by Canon Leslie Morley and well supported by the school choir and orchestra. Many civic and other dignitaries were present, including the Lord Lieutenant representing the Queen, and the Bishop of Southwell.
Back in 1853, when Bluecoat School moved from its Weekday Cross site to Mansfield Road, there was a great procession through the streets with banners, from the old to the new premises. On this occasion that procession was recreated in a modest way by the congregation being invited to walk from the Great Room to the new Block for its Dedication by the Bishop of Southwell, and the formal Opening by Lord Runcie and the unveiling by him of a commemorative plaque.
All in all, it was a good day to celebrate a successful venture which has laid the foundation for the advancement of education for many present and future students at the school. By way of explanation, the title of the new building has changed since the Appeal opened, from Sixth Form Centre to a Post Sixteen Centre. This recognises the fact that while the facility has been designed primarily as an educational resource for Sixth Form students (Year 12 and 13 in modern terms), it will also cater for others from the wider community. The facilities in the new block include:
Finally, the Governors are extremely grateful to everyone who has made a contribution to the Appeal. It is now their intention, with the help of further donations, to undertake many desirable improvements to existing provision in the old accommodation, and these are underway at present with the extension and upgrading of the science laboratories. The Appeal is still open...