Powerstock School reopens two years after fire destroyed hall

The hall during the fire (L) and during re-construction (R)
Image caption The fire in 2011 gutted the Victorian school hall

A Dorset school is to officially reopen two years after its main hall was destroyed by a major fire.

Grade II-listed Powerstock primary school is believed to have caught fire due to an electrical fault during the autumn half-term holidays in 2011.

The Bridport school will officially re-open this afternoon in a ceremony led by the the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury.

The school was founded in 1848 by Thomas Sanctuary, Vicar of Powerstock.

Tudor windows

The oldest part of the building was once a chapel, dating from the 12th Century, in nearby West Milton.

It was moved to Powerstock between 1873 and 1876 to provide an extra schoolroom.

The school has retained its Tudor windows and stonework despite the fire, which gutted the Victorian part of the school.

Head teacher Jean-Paul Draper said the school had only closed for a week following the fire.

"We were lucky because the village hall is on site, and they let us set up a temporary classroom in the village hall," he said.

Other classes were taken in existing temporary classrooms on the school site, which will now be replaced by the new £500,000 building.

Although the Victorian part of the school building was gutted by the blaze, the original bricks were saved and used in the rebuilding work.

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