ALMOST 130 years of history was torn apart when a blaze wrecked a former Great Lever primary school building.

The Victorian building — which was built in 1886 and left empty in April — is now set to be demolished as soon as possible after the blaze on Monday night.

Permission was granted on May 20 for the building to be bulldozed but the council is now planning to hand it over to a demolition team immediately, earlier than originally planned.

Cllr John Walsh said: “It is always a shame to see old buildings such as this damaged.

“I sympathise fully with the residents who must have been terribly inconvenienced and distressed.”

Usman Patel, who lives in Leach Street, was sad to see the building burn after taking both of his children to school there.

He said: “It was a great school and my youngest son left it only four years ago.”

Premila Kanji, who also lives in Leach Street, added: “I rang the fire brigade immediately when I saw it.

“I thought work was going on at the end of the road but the noise was glass windows smashing.

“It’s a nice old building, it’s sad to see.”

The school will be replaced with a “green community space”. Clarendon’s new home was built in Heywood Park on the other side of Bridgeman Street.

A Lumsden Street resident, who did not want to be named, said: “It is going to be knocked down anyway but it is a real shame to see it go like this.”

A report from planning officers, which granted permission for the building to be demolished, states: “The building has some heritage value and makes a positive contribution to local distinctiveness.

“However, it is accepted that it lacks modern facilities for education, was not constructed with access for all in mind and has been neglected in terms of repair for some years as the replacement school has been planned for some time.”

Bolton Council warned people to stay away from the site.

A spokesman said: “We’ve appointed a demolition contractor who will take control of the site once the fire service have completed their work.

“For their own safety, we would urge people not to climb any fencing or enter the site by any means.”