Old Hall
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School Hall - then Old Hall - now the Studio

 

It is difficult now to imagine that the whole of the school could fit into the old Assembly Hall, although it seemed so capacious when the building was new. Old girls frequently remark that it looks much smaller now, and, indeed, the gallery and space under it are now no longer part of the Hall.

“A fine Wapiti head has been kindly placed in the hall by Mrs Bennet.”
From the 1903 magazine

"We have to announce with great regret that the fine Wapiti Head, which has so long graced the hall, will soon be gone from its place never to return! Many of us did not realise that it was only a loan to the school. "
From the 1912 magazine

 


Hall in 1934 - the Honours Boards can be seen

 

"A new scholarship board has been placed in the Assembly Room, to contain the names of girls who win scholarships outside the school"
From the 1906 magazine

 


This modern picture of the end of the Hall shows the walled-in gallery, with the railings still visible. The black curtains are part of the conversion to a drama studio.

 

 

After the New Hall was built, the Hall was renamed the Old Hall. It now had many uses as a small lecture theatre or concert hall, a music teaching room, exam room, etc.

" Permanent changes have been carried out in old hall, and we now have a very pleasant careers room in what was the gallery, and two most useful rooms in the space underneath To our surprise, the old hall actually looks better now that it is somewhat curtailed, and the attractive old benches that have been brought down from the gallery were an unexpected find."
From the 1979 magazine

 


The Hall in 1906. Note the gas lighting - and the Wapiti Head!

 

"The hall is of course available whenever it is desirable to assemble the whole school or any large part of it. It is used for lessons in drilling and class-singing, and for recreation in bad weather, and last, but most important, it is here that all assemble before beginning the daily school work to ask for God’s blessing in that work, and for his help in the right use of the powers with which he has entrusted them. "
From a report of the 1886 Prizegiving

 

 


 

"Through a most generous gift made by Miss Cossey as a ‘Friend of the Trust’ last Autumn, we began term with a magnificent set of furniture on the platform in the Hall. The beautiful table and chairs were made for use in the Dockyard, of oak from ancient ships, and we value the gift and the workmanship very greatly."
From the 1952 school magazine

 



Look carefully and the stage and steps of the original Assembly Hall can still be seen. The Hall is now a Drama Studio, hung with curtains and full of props.

 

Finally, in 2000, with Drama firmly established on the timetable throughout the school, Old Hall had a makeover and a new name. As the Studio, hung with black curtains and lighting gantries, it is hardly recognisable as the old assembly hall, but behind the curtains, the old stage and stairs are still there. Meanwhile, Drama lessons and productions have brought it to new life.