York Walks /3

Mill Mount Lane

Photographed on 27 July 2004

The sign says merely "Mill Mount", but we seem to call it "Mill Mount Lane". It leads to the school buildings that for decades were the home of Mill Mount Grammar School for Girls, but since the 1980s have been All Saints' RC School, since Mill Mount merged with nearby Nunthorpe to become – you guessed it – Millthorpe.

  Sign: Mill Mount

I have been this way since I left in the late 1980s, but not recently. I called here late afternoon on a day during the school holidays in summer 2004, when no one was around, so I could look through the gates into part of the grounds and take some photos.

My sister and I both went to Mill Mount School. My sister had MS, and died in 2001, aged 42. It wasn't until I was here, in front of the old school buildings, that I realised how much the place is connected in my mind with her. So this visit felt like a rather sad one.

  Main building – formerly Mill Mount School, now All Saints'
Mill Mount Lane   Mill Mount Lane, looking towards The Mount

Above: views of Mill Mount Lane, looking towards the Mount.

Below: Ahhh, memories . . . to the left, the school hall, and on the right the newer buildings, including what used to be the "circulation area", if I remember rightly.

View of school grounds   View of school grounds
View from Mill Mount Lane – possibly old conservatory/art room  

It's not a good photo, but I had to include it, because I think it's the remnants of the old iron-framed conservatory I have such fond memories of, glimpsed over a wall from Mill Mount Lane. The conservatory was, I guess, a Victorian construction, attached to the grand old house which forms the centre of this school. In the Mill Mount days it was used as an art room. We were so lucky – but I don't suppose we realised it at the time. It's the job of teenagers to be ungrateful and complain about everything.

Mill Mount School hasn't existed now for about twenty years. These buildings are now obviously occupied by All Saints' School, as the more recent official signs on the buildings show. But I was touched to see this, on the back of the school hall, above a doorway. The lettering has been removed, but the outline is still there: Mill Mount School.

  Faded reminder: Mill Mount School

And on these gates too, which probably held these initials all the time I was there, but I never noticed. It is quite subtle I guess, but I'm still surprised that they've not been replaced in a general re-badging of the buildings. The "MM" – which I assume denotes "Mill Mount" – is still there, in gold paint.

  'MM' gates

Memories? Oh, loads. Maybe another time, as it would take ages, and there are places like Friends Reunited for that kind of thing. Schooldays are, according to some, the "happiest days of your life". They weren't the happiest days of mine, and life picked up after I left. I'm sure this is the case for many of us – at least I would hope so. So let's move on . . .

Except I want to say thanks to Celia, my English teacher, Mrs Tanner, my art teacher, and Mr Lowe, Latin teacher, all of whom were inspiring and encouraging. Unfortunately I also remember a couple of other teachers who – even as I look back now from a different perspective – appeared to have no empathy for, or understanding of, human struggles and frailties. They shall remain nameless.

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