J block

J block was music and the sixth form unit accessed by doors opposite A Block.

The single storey building had a series of cubicle practice rooms, complemented by fairly drab classrooms. The largest room, the domain of Mr Harker, had a grand piano (slightly worse for wear as I recall from playing it), at the top of the brown carpeted stage area. Battered Yamaha and Cassio keyboards overwritten with letter notes were similarly used and abused.

I recall in the earlier years bemused being required to sing such songs as “She’s leaving home” , “A space oddity” , “We’re walking in the air” and even “The St James infirmary Blues”.

A block on the left and J block on the right. The staff car park off Clarkes Lane straight ahead.

A set of double doors led through to the sixth form common room, which also had its own separate entrance. Theses facilities like the whole block were very poor. Menzies had won a hard fought battle to save its sixth form when the local authority had wanted to shut it down along with others to form a central sixth.  A lecture theatre perhaps went some way to restoring a sense of pride in this building though many of the speakers as I recall were as absolutely barking mad as a  troupe of dogs blowing trumpets. Where did they find them from?

Allied to this building was “the youth wing”. I have little idea what actually took place in this building and it was like a spare part within the school. It did find use however when L block burnt down, and I believe the sixth formers were relocated here for a time.

J block on the right and the youth wing on the left

Open space leading into Clarkes lane to the rear of J block and the Youth Wing. A “City learning centre” would later be built in this area.

J block however was mostly about music. Pianos, clarinets, cellos, violins- a harmony of melodies and abstract thoughts.