St. Thomas' Infant School
Heath Road, Ashton
Part of Group:
At Risk: No
From “Come Let Us Worship”, S Hibbert, 1993:
“The provision of free education and the increase in population in the early part of the twentieth century caused a rapid and sustained rise in numbers and on Monday, September 7th 1903, the Infants Department removed to an entirely new building for infants alone, further down Heath Road. The vicar, Rev H Siddall, gave land for this school and playground, worth about £220. Mr Oldham of Manchester, who had built the Church, was asked for plans which were soon prepared and were promptly accepted, and passed by the Board of Education.
The estimated cost was £1850, and the contract was taken by Mr Pennington of Ashton. The school was begun in January 1903, and was to hold 300 children. There was one long room 90 feet by 24 feet, which was divided into four separate rooms by patent, moveable, glass partitions. Another quite separate room provided for 64 babies. In addition there was a marching corridor with wood block floor, 60 feet by 16, where the children could exercise. There were two convenient cloakrooms with fireplaces in them, and a snug teachers' room for meals or study. HM Inspector, on seeing the school for the first time, said it was the best school in the district.”
The building served its original purpose until 1978, when pupils of eligible age transferred to the present combined infants and junior school on Hodnet Drive. The Heath Road building was subsequently used for a variety of purposes, most recently as a health club/fitness centre. On 30 June 2014 conditional approval was given to Greenacres Buildings Ltd for the construction of “8 two storey dwellings, following demolition of existing building”. It appears from the planning documents that the Church retains freehold ownership of the site.
Text and image provided by the Makerfield Rambler.