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Marylebone Lower House North Westminster Community School

A Grade II* Listed Building in City of Westminster, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5218 / 51°31'18"N

Longitude: -0.1691 / 0°10'8"W

OS Eastings: 527124

OS Northings: 181914

OS Grid: TQ271819

Mapcode National: GBR 68.7M

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.00ZP

Entry Name: Marylebone Lower House North Westminster Community School

Listing Date: 6 May 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1119735

English Heritage Legacy ID: 469257

Location: Westminster, London, NW1

County: London

District: City of Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: Church Street

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Paul, St Marylebone

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text

TQ 2781 NW PENFOLD STREET, NW1
(North East side)
1900/42/10152 Marylebone Lower House,
North Westminster
Community School

GV II*

Secondary boys school, now mixed lower school of comprehensive on three sites. Designed 1958, built 1959-60 by Leonard Manasseh for the London County Council. Reinforced concrete, with steel-framed hall and gymnasia of cavity brick construction and steel trusses. Roof top pyramids clad in green slate, otherwise flat roofs. Plan characteristic of LCC comprehensives and secondary schools on tight sites. Main teaching block, 91m long, 3-storey block houses all teaching accommodation, main offices, caretaker's flat, dining hall and boiler house. Hall, flanked by a gymnasium to either side, linked to main building by central glazed link which continues line of entrance hall from projecting entrance on Penfold Street. To north of hall range a ROSLA block added in 1975 is not of special interest. Reinforced concrete frame, mainly precast, with 3-storey high structural columns at 3'8®" centres exposed inside and out, which give the building its rhythm. Internal lip supports glazing and blue-grey infill panels. Deep beams, similar in width to the columns, span inwards from each elevation to a central corridor, where concrete walls infilled with glazed brick give bracing and rigidity, aided by staircases at either end. The outer walls of long elevations a virtually continuous run of windows between these columns, with vertically pivoting openings. Slate-clad water tank on roof, in form of upside down pyramid. Pair of projecting curved concrete boiler flues. Grid of glass and mullions continues, but with transoms to give more horizontal pattern through link (where glazing set forward of structural members) and hall. Hall glazing is in heavy section timber frames which take part of the wind load. Broad timber fascias to hall and link. Aluminium glazing to gymnasia. Pyramidal slate roof to centre of hall. Glass and timber doors.
Projecting timber canopy to Penfold Street has steel gates to front, flanked by dark brick walls to either side. Wall continues down north side of canopy, with railings on south side. Horizontal slit in wall to south where sculpture can be viewed. Similar dark brick is used for raised planter in courtyard, in angle between hall and link. Raised brick platform and steps in this courtyard also part of the composition - planter top and platform with similar square pavings.
INTERIOR: Central entrance hall lined in Carrara marble, with lined marble floor and timber ceiling. Sculpture by Hubert Dalwood an integral part of the original building. Every detail of finishes and light fittings carefully considered. Spinal corridors to teaching block originally blocked by storerooms, but now continuous on all floors. Varnished concrete and tiled surfaces designed to be 'boy-proof'. Black dado band continued across simple timber doors with narrow glazed strip above. Second (top) floor with (renewed) continuous roof light. Ground floor with curved-arched ceiling to make higher corridor (where curved expressed by fanlight arches) and lower offices to side. Staircases with open timber balustrades, set behind glazed screens to corridors. All classrooms with deep concrete beams exposed and varnished; art and science rooms and workshops with timber cupboards inset along window edge. Library with angled coloured glass window designed to catch the evening sunlight and with marble shelf; the motifs in this glass originally repeated in shaped cabinet in entrance hall, this removed for reception area. Hall with central flat floor under pyramidal roof surrounded by balcony on three sides; stage on fourth side now converted to other accommodation, masked by curtains. Timber stairs lead down to hall floor, timber linings to walls. Open stairs with timber balustrades lead either side of entrance doors to balconies, which retain original tip-up seating.
HISTORY: Marylebone Lower House was built as Rutherford school for 780 boys, as part of the London County Council's secondary school building programme. A model was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1958. The structure was designed for rapid erection, and was innovative in its use of large precast elements. The columns give a rhythm and brise soleil to the main building, while the use of quarry tiles and glazed bricks internally are a reminder of traditional finishes in London board schools. Marble is another tough, 'boy proof' material, which is a distinctive feature of Manasseh's work. ASSESSMENT: Leonard Manasseh considers this to be one of his most successful works, and it is certainly one of the most important, by an architect who was also a noted teacher and planner. Michael Marland, headmaster of the school, has called the building `distinguished in concept and finish, with a very good sense of relationship to terraces in the area but with an unusual structure itself. For the local historian Jack Whitehead it is `a piece of sculpture, perpetually altering as one walks through it, functional and exhilarating at the same time.' The Architectural Review considered it `a new and important private contribution to the enrichment of educational architecture.' Every detail of the school is carefully considered, firmly composed and combined imagination with practicality. Though innovative structurally, the school eschewed gimmickry in favour of a particularly humane environment. It marks a high point in the development of secondary school design.

Sources: The Builder: 16 May 1958, Architectural Review: January 1959: pp 48-9, Architectural Review: November 1960: pp 346-53, Architectural Design: December 1960: pp 510-13, Jack Whitehead: The Story of Marylebone Lower House, nd

Listing NGR: TQ2712481914

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