Search for oldest pupil to open the Tithe Barn

Old pupil needed to open barn

TRUSTEES of Nailsea’s Tithe Barn are searching for the oldest former pupil who attended the school to officially open the venue next summer.

The massive project to restore the historic building is expected to be completed in April 2011 and the official opening of the barn is due to take place in June.

A Nailsea councillor had suggested inviting Prince Charles to cut the ribbon, but the trustees have confirmed they would rather keep the celebration local and involve people who have strong ties to the building.

David Francis, chair of the Tithe Barn Trustees, said: “The plan is to try to find the oldest person we can who was a school pupil there. We are going to launch a search in the spring.

“There are so many people who have been to school there over the years and they have such affection for the building.

“We’d rather have someone who has got that sot of attachment to the building than a celebrity. I think it will be a shock when the former pupils see it as it doesn’t look like it used to.”

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The total cost of the project is expected to cost around �900,000, of which the Heritage Lottery Fund has provided a �500,000 grant.

Once the grade II listed building is completed it will become a base for Nailsea Town Council as well as a central hub for community groups, wedding receptions and private parties.

The trustees of the barn are also hoping to take advantage of the building’s rich history and have been working with schools on projects about the evacuees who attended the former school during the war.

Mr Francis said: “We do see the building as being important in terms of its heritage. We see the building not just as a community and social resource but we want to put a lot more into using its history and helping people to connect with both Nailsea and the building. The barn has lots of stories to tell.”

Its rich history is evident in some of the artefacts which contractors, W Coombes and Sons Ltd, have found while carrying out the work, including an ink well from the old school and markings from the original craftsman on some of the building’s timbers dating back to the early 16th central when the barn was first built.

Anyone who believes they know the oldest person from the former school is being asked to contact Ian Morrell at Nailsea Town Council on 01275 855277.