THE NEW GYM & THE STALAG
The New Gym uses the same building style as the Main Hall, which was also completed behind schedule. The most interesting feature of the exterior is probably the enigmatic aborted flyover. Neither end of the flyover (which has no walls or ceiling, and runs between the New Gym and Main Hall) meets the adjacent buildings. It may just be a covered walkway, or more likely the Gym and/or Hall plans were changed during the building of the Phase I campus.
Inside, the New Gym tended to be a mess of peeling blue paintwork. Upstairs as you enter are the PE dept offices, and down below are the changing rooms. The stair-well had THAT POSTER of the tennis player scratching her arse, if I remember right, though it may've been a different poster on a similar theme.
The entrance to the New Gym (taken from between the Main Hall and the Swimming Pool carpark, late 1995), showing that mysterious flyover thing. In the background can be seen the tennis-court floodlights and the plateau. The building down in the hollow is the English Block of the Tennis Court Buildings (the RE block having been burnt down). Also just visible is the New 6th Form Base (behind the girder at the extreme right).
The New Gym itself follows on from this lobby area. It was used mainly for basketball and circuit training, not to mention department meetings. For many, this was the first view of the PE department - coming in on the first week, and being dragged into the New Gym (leave your shoes in the lobby to get thrown about the place and lost, for this is a holy place), sitting on the dusty floor, and being shouted at by Mr Harkin for not bringing your kit in on the first day on the off-chance you had PE timetabled. It was only natural therefore that, especially if you were not the most physically inclined, the New Gym became the epicentre of anti-PE hatred.
The last section of the building is taken up by two stores: the first is accessed from inside, and contains all the indoor equipment for the New Gym. The second is accessible only from outside and is called The Stalag [cue ominous music]. This holds javelins, disci, hockey sticks, and other stuff to be nicked. There is no record of it ever being used to lock up unruly students and sick-notes, but its name is certainly appropriately evocative of the department's regime.
The New Gym is one of the few buildings that you can (moderately) easily get on the roof of, thanks to that mysterious fly-over. This is very handy, as the roof is flat, and an easy place to lose a football. The windows on the eastern front have a history of re-glazing too. Interesting to note that the changing-room walls are "hole-in-the-wall" window blanks rather than brick or cladding. Was this an oversight or a result of pre-fab school-building? Even from a pre-fab perspective though, it seems curious.