Many of our readers attended the old Sir William Nottidge
Secondary Modern School in the second half of the twentieth
century and most will have many happy memories of "Bombhead",
"Porky" Hatton, Mr McKenna and Polly Parrott. They will
also know that in recent times the establishment was renamed The
Community College Whitstable.
What they won't necessarily know is that the whole
place has been rebuilt in the last year and I doubt that a single
1950s brick or slither of plate glass still remains. So, those
with a deep sense of nostalgia might want to turn away rather than
examine the photos below.
The new photos were all taken from Bellevue Road
on Easter Monday (25 April) 2011.... but I have added some old
photos for comparison purposes.
1-2: Starting in the West
We start at the western end of Bellevue Road and
work east towards the junction with Downs Avenue. This is what it
looked like in 2006....
Above: As it was
.... but now it looks like this....
Above: As it is
3-4: The Old Main Entrance
In 2003, the front fascia contained the school's
main entrance and it didn't look very different from the 1950s...
Above: As it was
in 2011, it is no longer the main entrance and it looks like
Above: As it is
It has a much more open appearance and there is
some "interesting" use of colour.
5-7: The Bellevue Road Frontage
From the western end, the Bellevue Road frontage
used to have a "uniform" look as shown in the two 2003
Above and Below: As
it was in 2003
However, nowadays, there is perhaps a bit more variety
to the shape....
it is now
8-10: The New Main Entrance
The new main entrance involves an impressive
access road off Bellevue as shown in the two photos
and Below: The scene on Easter
Our ex-Nottidge pupils will recall that this was
no more than the route to the cycle sheds and playground in the
1950s. Later, it also provided access to the Whitstable Sports
Hall - a facility that the school shares with the local council. In
2003, it was still a narrow and unimpressive bit of utility road
as shown below....
access road in 2003
11 and 12: Landscaping, Fencing and Beyond
A significant amount of landscaping is taking
place - including some hefty banking with new shrubs. Heavy timber
has been used for some of the fencing.....
If we enlarge a section of the above shot, you can
see that the rear of the site comprises a massive, curved
building with sloping roof (see below).
13-17: Building Features
There is a wide variety of disparate structures.
In fact, it looks as if half a dozen estranged architects had a crack at it
and someone welded their emails together in panic during the
final few days of design when a target date loomed! ;-)
There is an immense variety of shapes
(cubes, oblongs, curves and circles), umpteen different building materials (wood,
steel, glass and brick), a collection of assorted roof shapes (flat, arched and sloping) and
a random selection of hues from the Dulux colour card.
You name it.... and, somewhere, you'll find it. It's almost as if some petulant
child has showered his toy box across the living room carpet
and then superglued the contents together where they came to rest!!!! There
is "something in it for everyone" for no other
reason than "somehow, everything is in it".
Let's take a look at some of this. The photo below
shows just one narrow view but the variety is startling....
As you can see, the oblong building fronting Bellevue Road
deploys brick, glass and steel... but then terminates in a curved
turret faced with light wood panelling. In the background to the
left is a windowless cube with a heavy, curved, timber fence
in front. We also have a single-storey structure jutting out
with white plaster facing and a diamond-shaped appearance. However, take a few steps to the east and
you discover that the diamond isn't a diamond after all....
because it has a curved side wall (see below). It's also a lot
bigger than it seemed.
The windowless cube has been offloaded alongside
the new "main entrance" road and its shape is enhanced by the use of
rectangular decorations in three shades of grey/blue (see below).
It's fascinating but the decorations are vital because, without
them, it would simply become an ugly box.
If you removed the "school" signs along Bellevue
Road, a visitor might have trouble working out what
it was all about. In fact, from some angles, it could be mistaken
for something quite industrial.... as in the photos below.
Nevertheless, to a large dgeree, the finished site provides a light,
open and airy feel and I suspect that kids will love the carefree
and spacious environment that it creates. It's certainly a
creation that "catches the eye" and fascinates... even
if there are some "bad angles" amidst the good ones. I
suspect that people will either love it or hate it.
Mind you, with so many changes, I wonder what our
ex-pat, ex-Nottidge pupils will feel about the demolition of their