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While waiting for a music lesson outside the Shinkfield Building, there was a lively debate surrounding a door that was noticed on the second floor of the building – a door that appeared to go nowhere. Nazir Rana (Year 3) was fascinated and put forward some interesting suggestions, but ultimately there was no answer to the purpose of the door.

I contacted Andrea McKinnon-Matthews, School Archivist, who works at Athelney House who agreed to meet myself and the students find out the origins of the door. Nazir Rana (Year 3) and Lucas Chen (Year 3), and I met with Andrea and we we looked carefully at old plans of the Shinkfield Building. We discovered that the upstairs rooms were originally student dormitories for the Boarding House, and the door was a fire escape, which would have had an iron staircase attached. We also discovered there would have been another door, but this had been built over as the residence was developed and extended.

We had a wonderful time using magnifying glasses to read the small print and trace back the heritage of one of our oldest buildings in the Junior School. Thank you to Nazir for his curiosity, to Lucas for his excellent questions and to Mrs McKinnon-Matthews for taking the time to locate the plans and help us with our inquiry.

Mrs Ceri Slinger
Head of Junior Years, Learning and Teaching Excellence