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From Huts To New Block 1962 - 1964

Image Galleries: New Block i New Block ii Offical Opening

 

 1962

Construction

Work on the new block began in December 1962

“It can't have taken too long to actually build. I vaguely seem to remember that when we left in December 62 that nothing much was out of the ground. I think (could be wrong) that the area had been placed out of bounds and possibly the foundations started.”

"The actual construction site was strictly off limits."

 
 1963

Moving In

"My last term was the winter term of 63, that was the first term in the new block. As I recall there were a series of photo's in the Cadet at the time."

"The camp came down during the summer holidays, when we came back for the winter term it just wasn't there."

It was completed and first occupied in Winter Term 1963. With the New Block open the huts became superfluous and another phase of Conway's life began. As with every change of this sort cadets who had experienced the rigors of the huts thought the New Block was for sissies and too easy a life. The same had been said when New Chums started their Conway sojourn in the House rather than the ship, and when the ship was lost and everyone moved into the huts.

“There was definitely a different feel to it, maybe because of the newness   of the building as opposed to the camp, everything was bricks and plaster   instead of wooden planks and wooden walls, proper classrooms and science labs etc. The Dining Hall and the Kitchens in the New Block were Light Years ahead of   the old Mess Deck at the Camp (food was better I think, but that might have been QB seniority)”

The early morning dash in pyjamas from the Camp to the Kelvin Block in all weathers was replaced by an early morning run from the New Block to the site of the old huts in all weathers so not everything changed!

“No doubt the New Block was a softer touch than the Camp, which I am sure was the case when the ship was lost and the camp created, but the facilities were so much better and if I remember anything much about that term was how good it was.”

 
6 May 1964 The New Block was opened offically by Prince Phillip. The building was designed by Gornall, Kelly and Partners, architects. The cost was £400,000.

new block 1
Click image to enlarge

 

A Masefield poem was engraved on the lintel, all in capital letters.

A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, WHEN SHIPS WERE WOOD
AND RIGGING HEMP. THIS SHIP OF OURS BEGAN
WITH HOPE [ MANS BEST BEGETTER OF ALL GOOD
FOR ENGLAND'S PROPS, THE SHIP AND SAILOR MAN.

THERE IN THE SLOYNE ABREAST OF ROCK FERRY PIER
THIS AUGUST DAY, BEGAN THE THING DESIRED
THE "CONWAY" [WITH HER FUTURE LYING NEAR
THE WORDS OF HOPE WERE UTTERED, HEARTS WERE FIRED.

RELIC OF THOSE OLD "SHIPS" ARE WITH US STILL
SOME OF THE HOPE HAS BEEN ACHIEVED, BUT MORE
WAITS FOR THE LIVING "CONWAY" FULFIL
IN ALL THE SEAS THAT RING THIS PLANETS SHORE.

UP WITH HER "CONWAYS" ALL ABANDON FEARS LET US DO BETTER THIS NEXT HUNDRED YEARS.

JOHN MASEFIELD.

The New Block was a substantial building with classrooms, galley, mess hall, Divisional rooms, four stories of dormitories, staff accommodation and the Captains Quarters. There was a parade ground outside with the Mizzen Mast at one end and the ship's figurehead at the other.

new block 2
Click image to enlarge

 1964

Opening

 

 

 

 

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