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Two war memorial plaques have been uncovered at Leek High School

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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Two war memorial plaques have been uncovered at a Leek school – and now the search is on for a venue to have them re-hung.

The plaques, which name former Leek High School students who lost their lives in the First World War and also the Second World War, were found by historian Brian Lewis when he was researching through archives for his recently published book about the school.

Mr Lewis, aged 77, was assisted in his research through the school's large archive collection by former Leek High teacher Lynn Morgan.

Leek High School was first situated at the now Leek College site off Stockwell Street, before moving to Westwood Road in 1939 at the site of the current St Edward's Academy, before moving to it's current Springfield Road site in 1986.

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Mr Lewis, who is a former Leek High student himself, said: "The plaques have moved with the school, and ended up in a cupboard along with old documents and books."

Mr Lewis is now hoping to find a public place within Leek to have the plaques re-hung.

He had hoped that the Nicholson War Memorial would be that venue. He said: "I have asked about the plaques going on there but the criteria which has been set does not allow them to be placed on there.

"The criteria has been set that those named on the outside of the war memorial are only from Leek. However, some of the students named on the two Leek High plaques lived in surrounding villages."

Mr Morgan, aged 68, added: "I would like to see the plaques up in Leek and in a place where the pubic will have access to them."

Leek High School history teacher, Adam Simcock, said: "They could be put up in school but they would not be on public display. I agree that they should be kept in Leek on public view."

The First World War plaque has 29 names, and the Second World War one has 19. Both plaques were paid for after fund-raising initiatives within Leek High.

Other venues Mr Lewis thinks may be apt for the plaques include The Nicholson Institute in Stockwell Street; inside the Nicholson War Memorial; or at the current Leek High School itself. However, he said: "The school could be the venue but it is not a place for the general public to be able to see them. Also, there is not much space left inside the war memorial and it is only open to the public every third Saturday of the month."

Leek town councillor Pam Wood, who is chairman of the Friends of the Nicholson War Memorial, which is at the end of Derby Street, said: "This is not something that we can make a quick decision on.

"It is something that we are going to consider over the next few months.

"We are not sure how many roll of honour boards, such as these two, are in Leek. These two could be a tip of an iceberg. Until we know what exactly we are dealing with, we can't make any decisions."

Mrs Wood added: "I feel quite dismayed that these plaques have ended up in a cupboard. It doesn't seem right. I do want to help find the right place for them."

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