Historischer Rundweg - Board 18
Christophorus-Haus (House of St. Christopher)
Upon its erection in 1938 the former school building was one of the most modern in the County of Geldern. Today it serves the village as a multifunctional centre.
The Wemb People’s School was ceremoniously opened with a large and expectant participation from its village folk.
Fairy tale fountain
After the people’s school was built the Krefeld sculptor Theo Akkermann (1907 - 1982) was tasked with the completion of a „fairy tale fountain“, with a „Little Red Riding Hood“ figure (and with a wolf’s figure) standing in the middle of it. Up until today the so-called fairy tale fountain adorns the southern side of the former school. Hidden behind the work of art, however, is a sad story: The figure of Little Red Riding Hood was, above all else, a memorial to Constanze, the daughter of Weeze’s Mayor Wilhelm Heitmeyer. The figure up until today still unmistakably carries the facial outlines of Constanze, who died on March 2nd, 1934 at the age of five years.
Cultivation of silkworms
During the Second World War silkworms were cultivated on the first floor of the building. The worms were fed with the green leaves of mulberry trees, which had been planted on the grounds of the school.
Extension and St. Christopher mosaic
The school was extended in 1960 with, among other things, another classroom and a break room. There, under the guidance of their teacher Laurenz Pannen, the school children created a life-sized portrayal of St. Christopher. It is a colourful mosaic, which the children worked on over a period of several weeks using the design made by the Weeze artist Johannes Mennekes (1911 - 1983).
When the break room was demolished in 2004 the mosaic was carefully removed and rebuilt again on the edge of the Schulstrasse (school street).
Closure of the school
Within the framework of school reforms the building intially became a primary school until the Council of the Municipality of Weeze decided to build a newer and bigger junior school to the benefit of the main town (of Weeze) and therefore closed the school after the school year 1970 to 1971.
After that a class from the Special Needs School Kevelaer used the building. Between 1976 and 1986 the building was frequented by children from the Johannes Secondary Modern School Weeze. Eventually, however, schools from the local area no longer had a requirement to use the classrooms in Wemb.
Usage through clubs and groups
After extensive renovation the building was turned into a multifunctional centre for clubs and associations and other organised groups in Wemb in 1988. In the same year the fire station for the voluntary fire brigade was built in the old school wing.
Since 2007 the building has been run by the St. Sebastianus Shooting Club Wemb, which has looked after and continuously renovated the building with the aid of numerous volunteers and helpers. The old entrance was also renovated in this manner. There is a shooting hall and social room on the first floor. On top of that the darts group and boule players practise here once a week in the winter months.
Of special importance to the villagers of Wemb is the use of the large room (on the ground floor) which is almost 18 metres long. The room is used almost on a daily basis, even by the smallest in the village, such as the toddlers and playgroup and kindergarten. Several groups from the sports club Germania Wemb, the girls gymnastics group, younger football teams as well as aerobic and dance groups train here on a regular basis. The sports club also offers senior citizens the opportunity to engage in sport here. Currently a refurbished room is used as a rehearsal room by a young band.
The usage of the Christophorus-Haus is actively supported by its owner, the Municipality of Weeze.
The Christopher School was upon its construction in 1938 considered to be one of the most modern school buildings in the former County of Geldern. View of the entrance from the south-west, 1938
The so-called „Märchen-Brunnen“ (fairy tale fountain) with its Little Red Riding Hood figure adorns the southern side of the building
The figure carries the unmistakable facial outlines of Constanze (1929-1934), the daughter of Weeze’s Mayor Wilhelm Heitmeyer
Pastor Scholten consecrated the school extension with its Christopher mosaic. A photograph from the day of the consecration on 21.12.1960
Wemb’s clubs and groups, as well as members of the Sebastianus Shooting Club, use the building regularly. Photograph from about 1990, Jan Derksen (Wemb)
The life-sized portrayal of St. Christopher with Jesus as a child was located in the break room since 1960. The mosaic was designed by the Weeze artist Johannes Mennekes (1911 – 1983) and created by the school children. In 2004 the mosaic was carefully rebuilt on the edge of the Schulstrasse (school street)