School Log Book November 1962

Nov 14th 1962

A gas explosion in the Takeley telephone exchange at 7.30 a.m. caused severe damage to houses in the immediate vicinity and some damage to the school.

Mrs Robinson had already sent most of the children home when I arrived at 8.40 a.m. and the remainder were taken home by parents and teachers.

The danger from further explosions prevented general access to the school, but I was allowed to collect valuables and lock them in a safe place.

Mr Primmer came at about 10a.m. by which time the area was declared safe. We made a cursory inspection and were then joined by Mr Heazel who arranged for emergency repairs to be made. The following is an account of the damage.

All the windows of the school house except one had some panes of glass shattered and in some cases the lathes were splintered. Both back and front doors were slightly damaged and the external brickwork above one window facing the road has opened up slightly.

In the main building (Classes 2 & 3)one window frame was badly damaged at the back of Class 3 and many cracks appeared in the ceiling, one section of plaster having to be removed for safety's sake. The tiles [slates] on the roof facing the road had all lifted and this will have to be re-laid. I have roped off the playground beneath this area to ensure the children's safety.

In the H.O.R.S.A. hut (Class 1) 5 panes of glass were broken and several cracked. Several sheets of asbestos from the ceiling were down or hanging and had to be removed and the door bolts were badly damaged. The end wall facing the W.C. appears to have moved sufficiently to loosen paint.

The playground was used as a control centre for emergency services and a mobile canteen.

Mr Primmer decided to open the school kitchen and use school stocks to provide free meals and I collected Mrs Cotterell and Mrs Goodman who together with the W.V.S. supplied over 100 meals to all who needed them.

The teaching staff, caretaker, Mr Farrow and Mr Claydon swept up the broken glass and generally tidied the school.

Mr Piper's workmen repaired the doors and covered the windows with polythene sheeting and generally made the school habitable.

By four o'clock all possible had been done at the school, but meal were still being served in the Hall. I went home at 5p.m. but returned at 7.30 because I feared that heavy rain might have penetrated the roof. This had not occurred.

The G.P.O. telephone department were using the playground for their heavy vehicles and will continue to do so possibly for two months with Mr Primmer's permission.

Nov 15th 1962

I opened the school as usual, but only 60 children attended. The majority of those absent were the ones who come on the coach, Classes 1 and 2 were combined and Classes 3, 4 and 5.

The school kitchen provided meals for workmen at a charge of 2/1 on the instructions of Mrs Hilton who visited Mrs Cotterell last night.  

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