From our Student Leaders

Stories of SCOTS PGC College | Boys’ Boarding Blaze

Alexis Zerner | Publications Prefect

Whispers of stories roam our campuses, full of the secrets of SCOTS PGC. The masses of old buildings on our campuses hide untold tales and the ghosts of School House have their own stories too (I’m kidding… maybe).

In our segment, Stories of SCOTS PGC College, we hope to uncover these stories and explore the amazing history of our school.

On 14 June 2009, a fire broke out on the school campus, burning the ‘Finlay Wing’ of Cunningham House to the ground. This dormitory is part of the Junior Boys Boarding House, closest to the river.

As many of you know, winter in Warwick can be bitterly freezing! So, heaters and other warming methods are a must during these colder months. During the early hours of the morning, it is suspected that a piece of clothing fell onto one of these heaters, sparking this terrifying blaze.

Thirty-six junior boys, two staff and three senior students all escaped the inferno unharmed, however, many of them lost prized possessions and personal belongings. A German Gap student, who was staying in this part of the boarding house at the time of the blaze, lost his passport and other documentation in this blaze. It is assumed that Paulus returned safely to Germany a few weeks later once a new passport was issued.

After researching this story for quite some time, I managed to find a picture of the damage, featuring our previous Principal (and Principal at the time of the fire), Mr Harding.

Thanks to a local newspaper article, I have also found quotes from this incident, highlighting the quick thinking and bravery of the junior boys boarding students. I believe these quotes were spoken by Mr Harding in an interview following the fire.

“One boy woke up, got everyone going and another boy hit the alarm. Everyone in the dorm kicked into overdrive to get out of there safely.”

“The fire was still very small when the student hit the manual alarm. The smoke alarms went off very soon afterwards,”

“Everyone was well and truly outside before the fire got going.”

Of course, many years later, no trace of this incident lingers around the school. Since this chaotic event, both senior and junior boys’ boarding houses have been rebuilt and renovated, further hiding this exciting event.

Who knows what other unknown stories are hidden around our campuses?

See you in a fortnight for our final article of the Term!