LOSTOCK Open Air School was originally called Lostock Industrial School.

It was sited at Lostock Junction because it was considered one of the healthiest places in Bolton at a time when scores of mill chimneys poured out smoke and industrial pollution.

The idea for the school was conceived by a local philanthropist Mr PR Arrowsmith, who was keen to rescue children from poor living conditions.

The school was built at an original cost of £5,000 in 1870.

Trustees of the school handed over the building to the Bolton Education Committee in 1925, and three years later it became an open air school.

This meant that many classes were taught in the outdoors for "delicate children" and for those suffering with respiratory and other medical problems.

At its peak up to 100 children lived and were taught there.

It had a heated indoor swimming pool as well as dormitories for the pupils. It closed as an open air school in 1986 and reopened as a place of learning for children with social and emotional needs.

But the school was earmarked for complete closure in 1995 after Bolton Council decided it could not afford the £399,000 a year running costs.

In 1996 the last of the remaining 31 pupils went to the new Stocks Park School in Horwich.

DAVID Walsh started at Lostock Open Air School in 1952 when he was nine years old.

David remembers that when he first started at the school, the headmaster was Mr Davies, but then Mr Rees became headmaster and his wife was matron. Lynette and Gareth were their children.

The living accommodation was on the church side and the school on the other side.

David was in the choir at the church. Children attended the school for a variety of reasons including asthma, but David doesn’t remember why he was sent there. He says he was very thin, so it was possibly because of that. He remembers his hook where he used to hang his clothes — they were all double letters and it happened to be that David’s was DW, which were his own initials.

He remembers that the head nurse was called Mitchell and another nurse was called Donnelly and she had blonde hair.

David recalls that one of the teachers was called Miss Hilton.

David said that he was very happy at Lostock Open Air and that it made him the person he is today.

He wanted to be a joiner when he left school in 1958, but ended up working at Mrs Podmore’s seed merchants on Deansgate in Bolton.

HARRY Baxendale, aged 66, of Little Lever, is hoping to get in touch with former pupils of Lostock Open Air School, which he attended 52 years ago.

He went to the school for two years, at the age of 12 or 13.

He said: “The day I left, I turned up from home after the weekend and they sent me back home and I went to high school. It would be nice to catch up because I did not get the chance to say goodbye to everyone.”

Mr Baxendale remembers the headmaster and headmistress, Mr and Mrs Reeve, a teacher, Mr Hall, and fellow pupils Stephen Williams, Tony Dunne, Maureen Smith and May Smith. Anyone who remembers Mr Baxendale can contact