Hoxton school gutted by fire will rise from the ashes after insurance wrangle sorted
PUBLISHED: 19:34 05 May 2012
Carmen Valino on shift
A £9 million rebuild means a Hoxton school will rise like a phoenix from the ashes this September, nearly three years to the day after it was gutted by fire.
More than 100 fire fighters battled for 10 hours to put out the blaze in July 2009, which destroyed Thomas Fairchild school in Napier Grove.
A legal wrangle over insurance delayed the rebuild by two years, during which the school’s 300 pupils were re-located to two different sites.
The lower school has been using a floor in Whitmore Primary School in Bridport Place, while upper-school children were shipped by coach every day to the Tomlinson Centre for Adult Learning in Queensbridge Road.
Police confirmed electricians had been working in the building around the time of the fire at 1.50pm, but the London Fire Brigade could find no cause for the fire.
The school’s insurance is footing the bill for the £9.3million rebuild, which pupils, staff, governors, parents and the local community helped design.
The state of the art building will have a roof top play area, café for the local community and eco-features like a photovoltaic roof plant and an air source heat pump.
Tanisha Simon, 31, who lives in Murray Grove, with her daughter who was relocated to Whitmore, said her life will be so much easier in September. “It has been awkward for working parents especially to get a different routine to make sure the kids get to school, and it was really upsetting for the pupils to be moved,” she said.
The new building will cater for 105 more pupils than at present, with two forms of entry instead of the one and a half forms currently accepted.
It has been designed to be extended in the future to accommodate for three forms of entry if required.
“I watched it burn down and it was horrific,” said headteacher Shona Ferguson soon after the incident.
“It wasn’t like watching my house burn down, it felt worse because it’s part of so many lives.
“I guess I would never have known how important the school building was until it was gone. You need somewhere that belongs to you and your children.”