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Petitioning The City Mayor, Leicester City Council, 3rd Floor, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1FZ Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor and 1 other

Prevent the demolition of this site as well as re-opening the site for use by the local community, City of Leicester, UK

Western Park Open Air School was closed on the 15th July 2005 after 75 years providing education to children and young people with complex medical condi­tions and physical disabilities.  The specialist staff and environment were an important aspect of their education because they were taught how to manage their health problems as well as enabling them to follow an established curriculum.

The site was listed by English Heritage on the 16th September 2011 and gained a grade II listing for the following reasons

The former Western Park Open Air School, built between 1928 and 1930 to the designs of J. O. Thompson, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

1. Rarity: it is a rare surviving example of an open air school.

2. Architectural interest: the school demonstrates architectural quality and thoughtfulness of design, notably in the administrative building which uses neo-vernacular motifs to create a homely and domestic yet subtly dramatic effect.

3. Plan form: its plan form has remained virtually intact with very few modifications, and all the characteristic elements of the school that express the principles of open air education remain legible.

4. Intactness: the interiors retain a high proportion of original fittings and fixtures, including slow combustion stoves, joinery, radiators, fitted cupboards, door and window furniture, allowing for a comprehensive reading of their original configuration and use.

5. Setting: the school retains its parkland setting, which was important to the ambience and functioning of the school.

6. Historic interest: the school embodies the progressive medical and educational ideas of the period and demonstrates the ambition of the Leicester authorities to provide a suitable education for local children in poor health.

The School was based on a pioneering German scheme of a well-ventilated centre for children with chest and breathing problems.

Western Park School was one of the first school purposely built to educate and treat children with respiratory problems e.g. asthma, bronchiectasis and tuberculosis/TB. It was thought, at that time, that Leicester's clean air would cure breathing problems.

This petition is asking the Leicester City Education Authority and the British Government to prevent the demolition of this site. It is hoped that the premises could be re-opened for use by the local community as either an educational establishment, for which it was originally intended, or as a Park Café, museum and information centre. The site is located within a public park therefore it would be ideal in which to establish a living history centre relating to the history of this site or nursery for young children, as its grounds are secure.

The school opened on the 7th November 1930 and provided education, treatment and very happy memories to an estimated 100,000 people until its closure in 2005.

Visit The Western Park Open Air School Website for more information.

The site has been left by the Leicester City Council and allowed to fall into disrepair.  Buyers have been sought but planning permission has been a stumbling block because of access problems within the public park.  Recently the site has been attacked by arsonists.  It is now a matter of urgency to protect and preserve the site and its history for future generations.

My name is Glynn Finney, I am the official historian for Western Park Open Air School.  I am also a former pupil so it has become my aim to preserve the history of this building and also protect the memories of thousands of people who attended or visited the School. For so many people these memories are important.  This school holds special memories and is an important part of our lives. Now, 10 years after its closure, many of us still visit the site to watch over somewhere that is, to us all, a very special place.

Please sign my petition. Help me in my fight to preserve an important aspect of the history of Leicester as well as the memories of everyone, both young and old, who attended this beautiful school.

This petition was delivered to:
  • The City Mayor, Leicester City Council, 3rd Floor, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1FZ
    Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor
  • Education Minister
    Her Majesty's Government

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