Parson Street school opens new community room

Published on: 27 Oct 2017

The Lord Mayor and head Jamie Barry with the children of Parson Street

Picture: The Lord Mayor talks to children  it turns out some  of them think she's a pirate!

A GIFT made almost 100 years ago has given a new lease of life to part of Parson Street primary school.

The Bedminster school now has a smart and cosy community room, just inside the front gate. It makes somewhere informal for parents to meet teachers, and it means visitors don’t have to be signed in and given a security pass.

It was open by Bristol’s lord mayor, Cllr Lesley Alexander.

Some of the children mistook the lord mayor for a pirate – but she explained to them that she was wearing all of her official robes and chain of office, along with a black-feathered tricorn hat. Which, it has to be admitted, is quite like a pirate’s hat.

The new Primrose Room is named after Primrose May Salter, who attended the school in 1918. Her husband gave the school £5,000 in her memory when she died. This money was invested and has been used ever since for school trips and helping less well-off pupils.

The small building inside the gates was built as a boys’ toilet when the school was constructed in 1908. 

Brian Rich, the school’s caretaker for 30 years, now retired, once converted the room himself as a design and technology classroom, and again as an activity room. Later it became a store – the school was always short of space, even though there were temporary classrooms in the grounds for decades. This was because the school was bombed during the Bristol Blitz in 1941, and the infants’ building destroyed by incendiaries. The damaged area was left derelict until the mid-1950s, said Brian.

Now the school has a new use for one of its oldest buildings, paid for with the last of the Primrose legacy. It’s been made into a sitting room with comfy sofas and a kitchen area to make tea.

Jackie Smith, chair of the school’s governors, said: “We hope that people who don’t normally come to the school will feel more inclined to come to this room and find out more about what we do.”

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