Sunday, 3 February 2013

FOUR WALLS - WINDOWS OPTIONAL...


1987, and the end windows still provide access to the view. When this
photo was taken, things were still pretty much as they had been in my
day. My dog Zara (lying down on the right of the picture) waits
patiently for me to complete my task 

As previously stated on this blog, when I was much younger and
still at school, I was prone to daydreaming. On pleasant sunny days, I'd
sit and gaze out of the window and imagine that I was flying through the
clouds and soaring into the stratosphere at super-speed, doing all the things
that beings gifted with the powers of flight are prone to. Well, apart from
pooping on pedestrians below. I was a superhero, not a seagull. (Yup,
I was a nutter even back then.)

2010, and the windows are now blocked off. Note also the old folks'
home on  he left of the picture, and the railings (with razor wire on the
roof of the small building on the right), giving the school a less than
appealling appearance
  
On rainy days I was more relaxed, preferring just to look out at the
gray skies beyond, as rivulets of rain raced down the pane, leaving little
trails in the dirt on the window. As I type this, it's raining outside, and it's
with difficulty that I tear my gaze from the sky to apply myself to the task
of producing yet another historically accurate, rousing reminiscence with
which to thrill and enthrall you. I hope you appreciate all the sacrifices
I make on your behalf.

Me in my old classroom circa 1986
  
In previous posts, I've alluded to the fact that all our horizons seem
to be narrowing, as fields and play areas are consumed and crammed
with sheltered housing for the elderly or squashed, tiny houses or flats
for those climbing the property ladder. For someone who grew up in a
new town in the 1960s, with its wide open spaces and acres of greenbelt
for as far as the eye could see - and beyond - the disappearance of those
green areas is casting a claustrophobic shadow over what was once an
open and spacious place in which to live.

Close-up of part of the view from the back windows

My town currently has a new schools programme underway, in
which a new school is built and then the old one demolished, suppos-
edly freeing up land on which to erect housing. One thing that strikes me
about these new buildings is that they have far fewer windows than their
predecessors, in many cases resulting in pupils only having four walls
to stare at (although no doubt the classrooms are bright and well-lit), as
opposed to a view beyond a window. It must be like living in a prison.
Even where the classrooms do have windows, they're high-up, narrow
ones, which allow no sight of the scenery (such as it is) beyond.

The same room as above and below. As you can see, the pupils had
quite an expansive view before the windows on one side were blocked off

Take a look at the accompanying photographs of one of my old
primary classrooms. The above photo was taken around 1986, about 16
years after I had left for secondary school. Apart from new desks, every-
thing was much as I remembered it. As you can see, two of the walls have
large windows, through which the pupils have a view of houses and fields
outwith the school. In the photo below, taken in the same class in 2012, one
side has had its windows covered so that it can be utilised for pinning up
pictures, etc. This wasn't restricted to that one room; that entire side of
the school had all the windows blocked off, restricting the pupils'
view of the wider world outside.

2012. Dull, dreary, dismal and despairing. I'm glad it wasn't like
this in my day

Maybe there's no correlation, but I can't help wondering if narrowing
people's horizons may also narrow their dreams and aspirations. As a
schoolboy, I used to explore the clouds from the comfort of my desk, and
felt free and unfettered. What do today's schoolkids dream of, or explore
in their imagination with only the claustrophobic confines of four walls
to 'inspire' them?

     Any thoughts on the matter?      

8 comments:

DeadSpiderEye said...

Hard to believe it's a school, looks like it could be a building harbouring a dozen sweatshops or even less salubrious businesses wishing to hide their affairs from public gaze. Can't believe the school governors and parents association would put up with this rubbish but I suppose it's a good indicator of how folk just acquiesce to all the crap that's heaped on them, no matter how insane.

Kid said...

It's a crazy world and no mistake. I think perhaps they were trying to make the building as unattractive as possible so there'd be no objections about building another and pulling the original down.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of daylight is inspiring and good for kids.

Anyways its good they let you in the school to take your pix.

Kid said...

It was especially good of them considering how I looked at the time. Just look at that 'flasher's mac'.

Anonymous said...

That must explain why everyone scarpered. :-)

Kid said...

Nah, I arranged to go in after school hours. I didn't want a bunch of kids getting in the way of the fixtures and fittings.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Surprised if they don't have a SMART Board yet.

Kid said...

They may have one in the new building, Chris. I've not been in it yet, don't know if I ever will be. It's only the old school I have an interest in, seeing as it's the one I went to.