BOUGHT by Wiltshire County Council in 1935 to cater for the growing educational needs in Chippenham, the Hardenhuish School estate has changed drastically over the years.

In 1939, the new Chippenham Grammar School was opened on the site, with the Georgian House located in the grounds used for lessons and administration, while new buildings were developed to the east.

A new secondary school for girls was opened in 1956 – which is still used today as Hardenhuish’s languages centre – while a boys’ school was opened in 1959 further down the hill.

While these were opened, more buildings were developed behind the house to add to the Grammar School, including the science centre, which is still in use today.

In 1975, the three existing schools were merged into two comprehensive schools under the names Hardenhuish and Sheldon.

The boys’ school became Sheldon and Hardenhuish took on both the grammar and girls’ school buildings, spanning right across the estate.

Neil Southwood is a former pupil of Hardenhuish School from 1992-99, and has worked as the school’s librarian for more than 13 years.

“I think the quality of the buildings is what really stands out now,” he said.

“I had lots of lessons in the old east wing and by the end they were very old-fashioned.

“The thing that has stayed the same though is the quality of the site.

“The history of the school is important, pupils study it in Year 8 and I did it myself when I was in Year 10.

“The pupils go around the house and talk about the architecture of the house and they do get a sense of history.”