Reading the extracts from The Barbican remembering those whose lives the Chapel commemorates, one is struck by the particular language and style so typical of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
That is no more evident than in the story of the building of the Chapel written by the principal architect of its creation – Neville Bradshaw, Headmaster from the school's inception in 1930 through to the building's completion in 1960 (and his retirement). It tells the tale from an initial idea in 1942 through an 18 year gestation to the opening of the building in 1960 and its Dedication.
It is a truly remarkable story of persistence, vision and an outright refusal to give up, maintained over nearly two decades during which time costs spiralled and all manner of obstacles contrived to make the task more difficult.
The narrative provides a fascinating insight into the role of a school headmaster of the time, his relations with his Governors and the local education authority. It highlights huge ingenuity in fund raising and considerable “flexibility” in the curriculum to allow the pupils to participate in the construction of the building. In due course, it is intended to collate the memories of those who participated in the building – pupils from the 1940s and 1950s – and embed interviews conducted by the current pupils of the Priory School as part of their course work, onto this website. In the meantime, we have Mr Bradshaw's story to enlighten us.