PUPILS left behind their traditional classrooms for the last time in 1993 as the doors closed at the old Walney School on Ocean Road.

The school had opened in 1917 to replace a smaller building on Walney Promenade and 76 years on its 300 pupils moved to an expanded school on Sandy Gap Lane.

Auctioneers sold what they left behind before the arrival of bulldozers.

The Mail, on Friday, February 12 in 1993, noted: "The office is filled with the aromatic smell of Hamlet cigars and though the school is empty you can feel the benign presence of 1,000 ghosts.

"Classrooms that once echoed to giggling children are silent."

A month earlier there had been a reunion of former pupils where memories were rekindled of people like James H. Cockshot - headmaster from 1956 to 1958 - and Sid Mudge, the long-serving metal and woodwork teacher.

Others to bring back memories included Stella Queen, the music teacher and Francis Cooney, who taught the girls needlework.

Angelina Bowers remembered the school's opening day in 1917 - she was then aged eight.

She said: "We had been in a little tin hut while it was built.

"It was all sparkling and new when we went in."

In the early days, the boys went in one door and the girls in another.

She said: "There was a wall between the two playgrounds so we never saw the boys at all."

Deputy head Bob Redhead had taught at Walney School for 32 years and looked back fondly on his time at Ocean Road.

The article noted: "Bob taught geography and PE during his early career.

"The school still had outside toilets in 1984 and Mr Redhead remembers the cold winter days when staff struggled to stop the water from freezing over.

"The school's cloakrooms were also the PE changing rooms - despite the fact the only washing facilities were three hand basins."

In 1973 the school combined with the West Shore School on Sandy Gap Lane to become Walney Secondary Modern and the original school building became the lower school catering for the juniors.

By 1988 the lower school building was pencilled in for demolition as plans were drawn up to eventually move to a single site - which involved development work at Sandy Gap Lane costing £1.5m.

Headteacher Stan Aspinall said sad to see the old school go but recognised the difficulties of teaching across two sites.

He said: "Obviously a split site is not a happy situation.

"It has become increasingly difficult in recent years to teach the national curriculum with limited facilities."