A NEVER before seen collection of photographs has captured the life of Gilberd School students during the 1980s.

More than 40 years ago, Steve Turner, past pupil of the Gilberd School, asked his teachers for permission to photograph the school and its pupils over the course of a few days in the autumn term.

Mr Turner took almost 200 photos during his visit to the school, with the Gazette originally reporting on his endeavour back in the December of 1982.

He selected 40 of the images to be published in a book, marking the closure of the North Hill site in 1985, with the rest of his photos remaining unpublished.

Mr Turner died in 2020 but his sister, Carolyn Donnelly, recently discovered the prints and negatives from the project. All his nostalgic photos have been digitised and now can be seen for the first time.

Gazette: Original news clipping from the Gazette, in 1982.Original news clipping from the Gazette, in 1982. (Image: Steve Turner)

Writing in 1982, Mr Tuner explained why he undertook this project: "For some time, I had wanted to return to the Gilberd to make a personal photographic record of the School.

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“It was becoming increasingly apparent to me that the School's function was changing rapidly within uncertain local education policies; this gave a sense of time limit for the project.

"The photographs were taken during a week in the middle of October 1982, and the Autumnal conditions seemed to echo the mood of the School.

“Since the first three years' pupils were no longer there, and several parts of the school were in relative disuse, the overall feeling was very subdued in comparison with my last memories of the school, nine years ago.

“Nevertheless, several aspects of school life struck me as identical to those I remembered; the smell of cutting oil in the metalwork shops, for instance, and the acoustic qualities of the corridors in the main building.

"Some of my teachers were still working in the School, others had gone. In many ways the place seemed both new and strange to me, time and circumstances changing us both. Less than three years after I made these photographs, the North Hill site of the Gilberd was closed.

"The documentary photograph's essential, and occasionally poignant quality, that of recording the visual "evidence" of the past, had already become apparent; most images showed activities within the School that had now ceased, some even showed classrooms that had since been demolished.

Gazette: Photographer Steve Turner, who passed away in 2020.Photographer Steve Turner, who passed away in 2020. (Image: Steve Turner)

"An appraisal of my original contact sheets caused me to reconsider why I had initially undertaken the project of photographing my old school. The combination of personal expression and documentary perspective provided the answer and has, I hope, made these photographs into a record of enduring interest."

All of Mr Turners photos are being published on a website about the school, run by Eddie Ross, the long-serving former head of the Upper School. To view them, visit bit.ly/3A2jxYf.