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TS Mercury - The Transition Years

It took a number of years before the final future was decided of both the land that TS Mercury occupied and also of HMS President. During these years Mercury old boys frequently passed by the school and monitored the agonisingly slow progress of HMS President’s restoration as HMS Gannet. These pictures cover this period.

The school circa 1973. All that remains is the clock tower and the gymnasium.

The school in 1971. All buildings are still standing except the chapel (see below). The hallowed TS Mercury cricket field is a little overgrown.

In 1971 the bandroom still had the programme on a blackboard for the closing ceremony of 1968 (which was televised on Southern TV). The band played: When The Saints Go Marching In; Our Director; Le Reve Passe; Men of Harlech; The New Colonial; The Pirates of Penzance; Under The Double Eagle, My Fair Lady; Evening Hymn/Sunset; The Queen; Auld Lang Syne; Congratulations; HM Jollies and Rio Rita.

In 1971 the chapel was the first building to go. Presumably because the bricks were of value.

The bungalow circa 1971. Still standing but gradually being overrun by the vegetation.

The pier in 1971 almost as it was in 1968 with the obvious lack of HMS President.

 

Circa 1975 with the creek looking much as it did when the school was open. It is, of course, missing HMS President in the river beyond the reeds.

1981 and life returns to the school albeit as a newly built Wimpy estate. The entrance road has been named ‘Mercury Gardens’.

HMS President moored near Gosport undergoing the initial stages of its conversion to HMS Gannet. However, its future is still very much in doubt.

At last, with her future secure, HMS President becomes HMS Gannet and her restoration is well underway in the Historic Dockyard, Chatham.