The common was requisitioned by the War Office in June 1940 and passed through stages of being a tented camp for the 127th Brigade of the 47th Division to a hutted camp for the Americans in February 1942. A total of 764 buildings were erected on the Common and there was a 347 Station Hospital from May 1944-45 taking casualties from D-Day. An inscribed stone has been erected on the Common to mark its role in the war effort, unfortunately it is very difficult to read. "Dedicated to honour the members of the 347th Station Hospital US Army World War 2 12th May 1944 - 30th July 1945 who were stationed in England on Marlborough Common. Total capacity of 1,164 beds, 764 buildings, 390 tents, 43 Officers, 75 Nurses, 400 Enlisted Men, 3 American Red Cross Officers plus the local volunteers from Marlborough." "Total number of patients treated in the first seven months 32,878."
The site today:
IMPORTANT MILE STONES:
It would appear that the short comings of the School were identified as early as 1952 in a letter to the Counties head of Education the Governors state that “The huts in which the School is housed are in very poor condition in the view of the Governors some of them will require a complete rebuild within three years.
In the meantime, the school must continue working under conditions which, in spite of all that has been done and the Governors are fully appreciative, make for serious difficulties and control.
These difficulties are further increased by the unwillingness of applicants for posts on the staff to come to a school with such obvious make shift and temporary accommodation. More often than not applicants for posts on the staff at the School withdraw their applications after a visit to the site.
The site is of course, extremely exposed – a fact which adds to the discomfort, and also hastens the process of material deterioration.
The Governors, therefore, instruct me to ask what place, if any, the school holds in the programme of future building operations, and to urge most strongly that it may be considered for replacement by a permanent building at the earliest possible moment." (Secretary to the Governors, 8th November 1952)
The first proposed site for the new school in 1954 was Preshute (Just outside Manton) off the main Bath Road. Later in 1955 a 13.7-acre site in Barnfield (Close to the Common) was being considered.
Cost of the new school in March 1960 was £186,329 this was for 540 pupils.
The Arch Deacon of Wiltshire dedicated the School in Chopping Knife & Colonel Spencer-Chapman was the chief guest on Thursday 13th October 1966. Sir Peter Scott, Sir Francis Chichester & Sir John Hunt although asked were unable to attend.
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It is interesting that in 1966 after a delay the final cost of the school was £220,000. The present building has now come to the end of its life and is due to be demolished shortly. The site has been sold off and houses of varying types are being built on the site, bottom of the range costs £200,000.
On Saturday 26th September an open day was held for ex pupils to have one last look around. Although I only attended for six months I went and had a look around and took a few photos.
The first two photos of the entrance and exit
The first phase of houses going in on the site at £200,000 a pop.
The view to Nash's Farm from classroom window
The Shed the one area you could keep dry if it rained
Opening day programme
Now its all gone!