I visited St Nicholas a month or so ago with my good friend Pat. She had invited me and my friends Tanya and Rob on a tour of the Grammar School and Tudor house on the Green, Kings Norton.
Pat is a volunteer of St Nicholas Place and her enthuasiasm was infectious about this lovely situated Tudor House and school and so I happily agreed to visit and take the tour.
We arrived at the Grammar school for the start of our tour, the sun was shining and it highlighted every nook and quirk of this hidden away gem.
There was only the the four of us so we were able to take our time around the grounds. Pat’s tour began talking outside the Grammar school (which is one of the oldest school buildings in the country) and how it was used throughout the years. The architecture was a breath of fresh air, it’s tudor charm was radiating from it and the old church windows were a lovely added feature to this great building. We went through to the ground floor which was spacious and elegant, the window sills were marked by years of students sharpening their knives for their quill pens. We then climbed the stairs to enter the first floor, ducked through the tiny door and entered the second room. The timbers on the first floor of this beautiful building were a stunning sight. Pat talked us through the carvings on the panels and beams, supposedly to ward off evil spirits, there was a sense of calm as you walked in but it gave me the feeling that I had to behave yourself. There were markings and and initials carved into the teachers desk; the graffiti of names throughout the years of study. The old beams strategically placed and cut so the wood wouldn’t expand or constrast through the temperature changes, the craft and care put into this building was obvious, well thoughtout and a joy to observe.
The Grammar school is on the grounds of St Nicholas church, which Pat took us through to show the churchyard, pointing out old graves of people connected to the church as well as a unmarked grave that was built in memory of a male and baby skeleton that were found under the floor of the Grammar school when the restoration was taking place.
The Grammar School building is a jigsaw of memories, the materials are from a range of different places and times, the amount of stories to unravel I’m sure is immense. It was a joy visiting this fine building, it is so well hidden and dominiated by the presence of St Nicholas, a lovely place to visit and a real signature to tudor architecture and design.