St. John the Baptist School, Wigan
Visited solo in May 2016, a bit of a struggle to access the inside of this former school but once in I spent a good few hours exploring the interior and photographing every inch of it.
It is now 16 years since the corridors and playground of St John the Baptist Junior School in New Springs echoed to the sound of children’s voices. The school closed for good in 2001 and has remained without use ever since.
The premises closed as part of major shake-up of local education and hopes were high that they would soon be pressed into service.
But, occupying a prominent position on Wigan Lane and boasting the blue plaque of film and music hall comedy legend, the red brick building has sat there decaying and overgrown ever since.
The junior school closed in 2001 with its pupils moving to the infant site. This in turn eventually closed with the establishment of the new Canon Sharples Primary School.
A covenant had stipulated that if the premises ever ceased to be a school or have any other educational purpose then it would revert to the estate of the Earl of Crawford, he of Haigh Hall fame. However it is understood the current Earl, these days based in Scotland, waived this rule and so the Church of England was able to sell it to its current owner Mr Jones who originally planned to turn it into homes until the recession knocked the bottom out of the market.
In 2017, Vicky Bannister, interim chief executive of Wigan and Leigh Homes, said: “We were looking at the site as a potential development for 12 homes but the plans have not yet been able to get planning permission due to a number of issues with the road access. We have met with Mr Jones to look at his proposal and to explain the progress we have made so far and the issues we are facing.
In 2021, it still stands empty, decaying further and awaiting its fate.