Former girls’ school, Chirk
This building, now home to the Shannon Sales furniture store, was built in 1843-44 as Chirk’s National School for girls. It was designed in Gothic style by the renowned architect, designer and writer Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852). His best-known work is the Houses of Parliament in London, on which he worked alongside Sir Charles Barry and where the rich ornamentation is largely down to Pugin.
The school was funded by Mrs Middleton-Biddulph, who lived at Chirk Castle. Next to the school building, towards the town centre, is a house built originally for the headmistress. The school was upgraded later in the 19th century and extended in 1905.
In 1900, pupils plaited the May-pole at a fete on Chirk’s cricket field. This delighted residents who felt that the “rural customs of Merrie Britain” were gradually dying out.
Two pupils at the school, Emily and May Rogers, were featured in the Daily Mail in 1905 for not missing a single day of school in nine years and four months (Emily) and in five years (May).
The school was also used for adult education by Denbighshire Education Authority. In 1905, for example, there were evening classes in Mining and in Ambulance (separate classes for men and women).
The old school became the Shannon Discounts Warehouse in 1970. Previously Sonny and Ann Jones had sold furniture and carpets from a van. They devoted much energy to restoring the school building, which had been empty since 1967. Almost all of the windows had been broken and thieves had taken the lead from the roof.
Postcode: LL14 5NA View Location Map