The OD - Issue 1 - page 20

art rooms with views towards the River
Cherwell provide space for art, design and
technology. While the well-loved woodwork
benches survive (many will remember
‘Barsonary’), they take their place alongside
equipment for computer aided design,
etching, silversmithing and more. The Art
Department also has a large central display
area for pupils’ art, which is often used
for exhibitions and private viewings. The
art rooms had previously been in Dragon
Lane, in a building originally constructed
in the 1950s as a dining room for day pupils
and which now houses the maintenance
department and privately run Park Town
Following the opening of the art facility,
the wonderful space on the ground floor of
the new block was revealed when the new
indoor swimming pool was opened in July
2001. A large, heated pool in a light space
with plenty of spectator accommodation
was a welcome replacement for the old
outdoor pool created thirty years before. It
should be remembered what an advance this
in itself was as prior to the outdoor pool,
pupils had learned to swim in the river,
secured around the waist with a rope tied to
a pole held by a member of staff. The new
pool is used and enjoyed by every Dragon
child and many members of staff. This block
is completed at the southern end with a
tower containing the staff Common Room
on the ground floor with offices, resource
centres and meeting rooms above (named,
of course, Inky’s and Guv’s).
One of the most striking additions to
the Dragon at Bardwell Road is the Forum
with its distinctive roof. This was opened
in September 2004 on the site that was
previously occupied by the Tin Can. The
Forum provides an airy indoor space ‘in
the round’ which has a myriad of uses: it
is the focus of the Middle School (D and
C Block) whose classrooms it contains; it
provides a calm, spacious setting for ‘circle
time’, drama and activities; it is also a prime
location for the Summer Art Exhibition
and the Dragon Sale when stalls and a large
Christmas tree take pride of place.
Small-scale refurbishment is continuous,
but the larger adaptations have continued
in more recent times. In September 2006,
the semi-outdoor Rink was turned into
an attractive and flexible indoor room for
recreation and teaching, alongside several
offices. The new and improved building at
the centre of the school is a very well-used
The 2000s also saw a number of new
developments: two further Astro turfs
were installed, the Cauldron cookery
classroom was created, the Gym was given
a new floor and the Music School was
temporarily extended with the addition of
soundproofed ‘pods’. The latter are state-
of-the art practice rooms for individual
lessons. Most recently of all, in 2009,
The Swimming Pool
additional boarding space for C Block girls
was created, to meet popular demand,
with the conversion of the house next to
the junior girls’ house on Charlbury Road.
Converted from staff accommodation and
linked to the junior girls’ house by a timber
fronted corridor, the new boarding house
(Stringer’s) provides comfortable space and
a pretty garden for twenty-two 10 year-old
girls before they move on to their senior
A great deal of what has been built, re-
built and adapted at the Dragon has been
achieved with the generous help of former
pupils and parents. Now that the school
owns its site at Bardwell Road there are
imaginative plans being devised for further
developments to create new spaces for
learning and performance. It is hoped that
ODs and the whole Dragon community
will support these future changes which
will ensure the same Dragon continues well
in to the future.
A plan of the complete Bardwell Road
site can be found on the website at:
If you would like a printed copy,
please contact us (details are on
the back page).
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