Grade II-listed schoolroom restored in five-figure project
PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 June 2019
A 19th-century schoolroom is in desperate need of repairs and work has finally begun to bring it back to its former glory.
Weare's grade II-listed schoolroom building is being gutted out and transformed after the hard work of a small committee to raise thousands of pounds.
It is a Victorian schoolroom built in the mid-1840s and was gifted to Weare by Reverend Henry Barker.
It ceased being used as a school in the 1890s and went on to be used as a men's club for a short time.
Up until a few years ago, the grade II-listed building was used for Sunday school, toddlers groups, birthday parties, parish council meetings and wedding and funeral gatherings.
The work has seen 88sq.m of asbestos panelling removed and replasted with lime plaster.
The electrics have been updated and the drains renewed.
It will also see the original Victorian windows restored with the second one due to be reinstated shortly.
Restoration committee member, Sarah Pettifer, said: "The next phase of work will be to create a new doorway with new paths for better access across the churchyard then the redecorating of the schoolroom and toilet can commence.
"The final phase of this project is to build an extension which will house new toilets, a kitchen and storeroom.
"The existing kitchen will then become an office."
The small committee have been working on the project since 2015 and has funded the project with grants and their own events.
It has hosted pudding clubs, quiz nights, open gardens and lunchtime concerts and has so far raised up to £3,000 through a JustGiving page. In total, £20,000 has been raised.
The next fundraising event will be the Parish Flower Festival on Saturday and Sunday at St Gregory's Church, in Sparrow Hill Road in Weare.
The theme will be 'weddings' and there will be floral arrangements from across all six villages in the parish, alongside a display of old wedding dresses and old wedding photos of local families.
There will be live music each afternoon and the Old Vicarage Gardens will be open and teas will be served outside the schoolroom.
The children of Weare First School will be joining in on the occasion by making buttonholes which will also be on display.