Demolition of the former Secondary School pig sties

The march of progress or the end of an era?

By Neil Fortey

A student working with the pigs at Bottesford Secondary School
A student working with the pigs at Bottesford Secondary School
The school peacocks and some young admirers.
The school peacocks and some young admirers.
A close-up of two of the children admiring the peacocks.
A close-up of two of the children admiring the peacocks.
A school rabbbit gazes from its hutch.
A school rabbbit gazes from its hutch.
The demolition site, with the Play Group building in the background.
The demolition site, with the Play Group building in the background.
The remaining shed, with the Community Centre in the background.
The remaining shed, with the Community Centre in the background.
Demolition of the former Secondary School pig sties
Demolition of the former Secondary School pig sties

2009 was a momentous year in the history of Belvoir High School. One of the smaller aspects of its new lease of life has been the demolition of the one-time pig sties dating from its original opening in 1960 as a rural Secondary Modern, in which agriculture and horticulture were taught. This part of school activities is long gone, but the building which once housed the pig sties remained, a row of brick sheds between the Bottesford Community Centre and the Play Group building. Now it is no more.

To mark its passing, the former school caretaker Mr Chip Sutton came across a set of three photographs dating from about 1970. One shows the peacock cage, another the school pigs being tended by one the boys, and a third shows a rabbit gazing from the door of its hutch.

Two additonal pictures taken on Dec 27th 2009 show what remained of the partially demolished sheds.

Can anyone identify the children looking at the peacocks or the boy in the pig enclosure? Are there stories about the agriculture and horticulture lessons, and the teachers who took them, at the school? Does anyone know who took the pictures in 1970 or thereabouts?

This page was added on 03/01/2010.

Comments about this page

  • Although the pigs had gone before I attended the High School (1973-77), I remember the peacocks clearly. They were the constant soundtrack to my very happy time at this school, and even now when I hear a peacock it always reminds me of being at Belvoir. Happy days.

    By Julia Jones (nee Topps) (26/01/2010)
  • I think the two girls are Denise Broad (who lived on Keel Drive) and Donna Taylor (who lived next door)?

    By Richard Bradshaw (04/04/2010)
  • I clearly remember (1960-1963) the pig stys and having the duty to feed them their hot swill and mucking them out. We took it in turns. One large pig was quite aggressive and used to bite the yard brush leaving teeth marks. Cleaning the pig sty out without getting bitten was difficult. The vet came to castrate the piglets and the bits removed were fed to the sow. One day we had to troop down to Taylors (the butcher near the Cross and Stocks) to see a large pig killed, scalded, shaved and bled before being butchered. I cannot remember if it was from the school or not. Later the joints were salted at the school and hung up in Mr Martin’s classroom. We were given some salted bacon and it was very good. We kept hens in a deep litter building too and these had to be de-beaked with an electric device and then much later killed and plucked for Christmas. Frank – the caretaker/gardener looked after the peacocks which were in a large enclosure for some time before they were released. They made a lot of noise especially when they would not come down from the roof of the boiler house or the school roof. Mr “Spitfire” Martin used his “pursuader” quite often in our class. This was a large and heavy wooden sink cover which when swung energetically towards the buttocks of the naughty boy who was bending over a stool. It hurt. Frank was not allowed to let us use the large powered lawnmower but we did and on one occassion we could not stop it and it ran over a rose bed. I remember “Spitfire” Martin telling us that a weed is only a plant in the wrong place. Would school children today benefit from some these experiences?

    By John Shipman (24/09/2010)
  • Thank you for your detailed comments. We understand from Wendy Cross that her father, Frank Topps, was the caretaker/gardner at Belvoir High School at that time.

    By David Middleton (27/09/2010)
  • Sorry to hear of the demise of the piggery….I have memories of watching them trying to load the bally things into a trailer, & them squealing like murder was being committed! oh the hours we spent sitting in Jack Saxby’s shed (with Ann Parr, Lizzy Isam, & the rest), & dodging ‘Spit’ when we were late for lessons!

    By Nikki Richardson (nee Biggadike) (02/06/2013)
  • I was at Belvoir High School from 1976 to 1979, but I don’t remember the pig sties. I do remember the peacocks though (do they no longer keep peacocks at the school?). What was the name of the music teacher with the slipper called Esmerelda in his drawer and all the walls covered in Notts Forest posters? My recollection of his classes is that most of them consisted of a quiz where you could choose a music question and get 2 points for a correct answer or a football question and get 1 point for a correct answer!

    By Ben Watson (07/02/2016)

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