Todays accomplices are my homies, Tamsin and Maya. Maya comes from Liverpool, and Tamsin comes from the distant past.
Maya and I met comparatively recently, but Tamsin I actually met on my first ever visit to Shrewsbury.
It was the kind of escapade rarely heard of from me at the time. I was a very different person. My childhood, as I've mentioned before somewhere, was abusive. I rarely go into it because I don't want being a survivor of child abuse to define who I am, but consequentially as a teenager I had absolutely no social interaction, being incredibly introverted and isolated, to an extent that actually hindered my own personal growth and development at the time. But Mother was a bus driver, and my adventurous side one day got the better of me and I decided to see just how far one could reasonably get if one used this little advantage to procure a free bus pass. And that is how I discovered Shrewsbury.
On that particular day, in spite of having the social skills of a satsuma, I met a few new people, one of which was a girl who was meant to be meeting some guy off the internet, which was a big deal at the time. Nowadays it happens regularly and is typically regarded as an ordinary means of making friends, but back in the early days of the internet, before Facebook, and before the trafficking of information became normalised, we were told to never give out personal information online, and meeting up with anyone was like the internet equivalent of feeding a mogwai after midnight.
So of course, that's exactly what people did. My new friend was stood up by Dave, the guy she was meant to be meeting, and given the fact that he was a fellow off the internet, we concluded that he could in fact be lurking around, just not who he said he was. This resulted in the admittedly childish (but fuck it, we were children) antic of referring to everyone that day as Dave. And one of these Dave-people was Tamsin. And that's how we met, on a completely random good-idea-at-the-time trip to Shrewsbury and if I hadn't enjoyed it, I might not have moved here years later and annoyed everyone with my mediocre blogging, so it all worked out well.
Thousands of years later, shortly after my trip to the Eagles, Tamsin randomly contacted me on Instagram, saying that she's an urban explorer now, and that she and Maya were coming to visit from Liverpool, and were wondering if I fancied a team up. I was apprehensive, mainly due to having had horrendous encounters with urban explorers in the past, but I really got on with these two, and that day we managed to annihilate a good chunk of my to-do list, starting with this epic abandoned primary school.
Check out that sign! It's actually referring to the path that runs past the school which leads onto MOD property, but for the sake of an external shot it really serves the purpose of making this lovely little school look a lot more sinister.
Just to negate any sinister vibes, the school greets visitors with a huge wall painting depicting a horde of smiling children and an air traffic collision.
And stuck to the painting is this sign, which declares its intent on raising the children in a christian environment.
Officially named "St Marys Church of England Primary School," this establishment was constructed in 1958, and closed its doors in 2012, when the site moved across the village to a larger premises. At the time, there was a bit of a public uproar due to this and other educational establishments closing, the most notable being Wakeman School in Shrewsbury.
Slipping in to the school was pretty easy, and it shows because evidently the local kids have had the same idea, slipping in and trashing the place.
It looks pretty disastrous, although not as trashed as that other school I explored years ago. Evidently these hallway noticeboards were once decorated with students work.
And there's still some childrens work left on the board. It's just not from a student, and it's much less imaginative. In fact, it's just the word "Gay" scratched into the board. It's hardly the stuff of graffiti legend, although this is a Christian school, so the offensive impact just depends on where the school staff land on the Christianity scale between Jesus and Westboro Baptist Church.
Of course anyone who actually knows the bible knows that it just says "Do not lie with a man as you would with a woman," which to me just means that if a man asks you if he looks fat, it's okay to tell him yes.
Here is the head masters office, next to another office, which I presume was some kind of reception area given that the main entrances smashed window overlooked it.
This was the staff room, which has had a big hole bashed into the wall.
As you can see, someone REALLY needed to use the toilet.
Next to the replica of the bathroom from the Shining is the schools resource room.
Some of the local kids have used the resource room to learn the alphabet in, by carving random letters into the door, totally neglecting the whiteboard next to it.
There's a plastic lid in here which is labeled "Maths resources. Please return to the resource room after use."
I find it kinda hilarious that the lid, which was labeled, has been returned to the resource room, but the box and contents havent.
The contents of the resource room have been oddly collected into one pile of rubbish, pretty similar to that room I found at the back of Radbrook College library, although thankfully this time it's without the condom packets.
I love how this toilet has written in French "The toilet for the teachers." The literal translation seems so much more friendly than the big blunt "Staff toilet."
This classroom is named "Classroom 3" in spite of being the closest one to the front door, with classrooms 1 and 2 being oddly on the other side of the building.
There clearly used to be a sink here, which has since been removed. The sink appears to have had the tiles decorated, in a similar fashion to my previous adventure in Oaklands School. The tiles have since been vandalised.
This is Classroom 4.
It was here that I found a map of the school, which is how I've been able to identify the rooms. The main entrance is at the bottom of the map, and the map itsself is in Classroom 4, as evidenced by the pink fire exit directions.
Here's Classroom 5.
The most baffling part about this room is the writing on the blackboard, which at first appears to have been left by the class when the school shut. But it's dated Wednesday, 1st December, 1999. Given that the school closed in 2012, it doesn't seem likely that this chalk writing remained here, in an active school, for over a decade. Maybe somehow it's genuine, or maybe some previous trespassers set it up as a prank, and wrote an older date to make their photographs of an abandoned school seem creepier.
Again, the sinks have all been removed, which I find odd. Why were these taken away?
Here's another bashed down toilet door. Did someone spike the school with laxatives and lock the toilet doors as a prank on the last day, or something?
"Praise the young and they will flourish."
That's actually a nice message for a school to have. Shame it's on the floor of the abandoned school, where nobody will see it, except trespassers.
I was a little shocked to see that all the students names were still on their designated coat hooks.
The classrooms and hallways are all wrapped around this central hallway which seems to double up as a gym and cafeteria.
There seems to have been a huge painting decorating the hall, but large portions of it have since been ripped down. However, it is by far the most photogenic room in the building.
More intriguing is this crudely drawn map of the school, which has since been ripped up. I'm not sure why anyone would bother with this, since there's a map in one of the classrooms.
The hall would have also been a cafeteria, which shows in these nutrition posters, and its direct link to the kitchen. The kitchen door was previously shut, but someone has forced it open.
This door has also been forced open, in a messier, more spectacular fashion.
The kitchen is similarly barren. Nothing remains of the old appliances.
However, there are a lot of keys here.
The student toilets are tiny and make me feel like a giant.
They're a bit smashed, and designed for little people, but they're still in better condition than the toilets in some pubs and clubs.
Near the toilets was this huge cupboard, which I assume from the signs was once filled with cleaning products.
So here's where the sickness mop would have been. I have no idea why the word "sickness" has been partially replicated with graffiti.
This hallway was particularly creepy, because it was narrow and retaining the students work, which was mostly unvandalised but falling victim to natural decay from a leaky ceiling. It all gave it quite an eerie atmosphere.
So this is Classroom 1, in spite of being all the way at the opposite side of the building from the main entrance. Since the numbering system has no logic in terms of layout, I can't help but wonder if maybe it's more in relation to the age of the students.
The evidence is here, with the alphabet on the wall, indicative that classroom 1 had younger students than the kids in, say, classroom 5, who are perpetually trapped in 1999.
Lastly there's classroom 2, which features more of the same, with the missing sink. and vandalised tiles.
There's some graffiti here. Who needs sex ed when you've got urban explorers and graffiti, right?
What, isn't your urethra a two-inch gash across the entire head of your reproductive organ? No? You must be deformed, mate. These people are true artists, with pinpoint accuracy.
There's still the faint remains of writing on the blackboard here.
As far as the interior goes, that's it, but all classrooms had exterior doors that led into the play area, which had its own creepy vibe to it.
There's a dead pigeon out here. It's a good thing the school is closed. I'm sure the local kids would hate to come on their break and find the skeletal remains of the local wildlife.
Actually, the kids would probably be fine. The teachers would probably freak out and then make a fuss about the effects on the kids afterwards to justify their own revulsion. Kids are way better at handling this sort of thing.
Most of the playground stuff is number and literacy related, to make playtime somewhat educational.
There are dinosaur related stuff too, just in case numbers get boring. Everyone loves dinosaurs, right?
Towards the edges of the playground, nature was slowly taking it all back and growing over everything.
Oddly, there's a random lego brick out here. I'm fairly sure this must be left over from the school, but it's still kinda cool that it's gone forgotten and unnoticed for all these years.
As far as Shawbury School goes, that's it. As far as I'm aware, the building is under offer, so someone has plans for it. Whether they do anything in the near future remains to be seen.
Tamsin, Maya and I drove off into the Shropshire wilderness to find the mythical lost village, but that's a blog for another time. Aren't road trips great? It means I get an entire string of blog posts out of one day. Kinda like Operation Cobra, except we're not getting chased by the totally not fictional Welsh Mafia.
However seeing as I alternate this blog between Shrewsbury and not-so Shrewsbury, my next blog post won't be part of our little excursion. It'll be more local, and it'll be great.
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Thanks for reading!