History in Structure

Stanley Technical High School and Stanley Halls

A Grade II Listed Building in South Norwood, London

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Latitude: 51.4002 / 51°24'0"N

Longitude: -0.0754 / 0°4'31"W

OS Eastings: 533975

OS Northings: 168553

OS Grid: TQ339685

Mapcode National: GBR HP.HNN

Mapcode Global: VHGRL.M2ZF

Plus Code: 9C3XCW2F+3R

Entry Name: Stanley Technical High School and Stanley Halls

Listing Date: 2 April 1989

Last Amended: 4 October 2023

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1252932

English Heritage Legacy ID: 436057

Also known as: Stanley Hall
Stanley Halls

ID on this website: 101252932

Location: South Norwood, Croydon, London, SE25

County: London

District: Croydon

Electoral Ward/Division: South Norwood

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Croydon

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: South Norwood Holy Innocents

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Technical trade school, small hall, art gallery, large hall and residence, to the designs of W F Stanley, built between 1901 and 1909. Now (2023) part of Harris Academy School and Stanley Arts venue.


Technical trade school, small hall, art gallery, large hall and residence, to the designs of W F Stanley, built between 1901 and 1909. Now (2023) part of Harris Academy School and Stanley Arts venue.

MATERIALS: the buildings are constructed in red brick and stone with pink granite panels, colonettes, terracotta dressings and ceramic vases, figurine and roundel ornament, beneath slate, lead and copper roofs.

PLAN: all the buildings stand in a row and are interconnected by doors and passageways located towards the front. They face west where they descend down Norwood Hill. The school and small hall are laid out as classrooms and an assembly hall respectively. The art gallery is arranged as an open space for displaying art. The large hall is an entertainment venue with stage and gallery seating. The former residence rooms are arranged as a cafe and offices and at the rear there are ground and first-floor rehearsal rooms with a side entrance.

EXTERIOR: the buildings are freestyle, with a loosely Italianate character. The red brick elevations are laid in English bond, the fenestration comprising predominantly round-headed and flat arched sash windows with leaded lights and Art Nouveau stained glass, set in stone architraves, many with granite colonette mullions. Decorative elements include terracotta panels, circular shields of bas-relief sculpture, green tile and roundel detailing, polished granite columns and colonettes with foliage capitals. The roof ridges and coped gables have stone pedestals which carry ceramic vases with stylised flowers or slender figurines. The main roofs are multi-pitched with tall brick chimneys and louvred ventilators. The rear and west side elevations of the buildings are plainer.

Technical School (part of the Harris Academy School in 2023)

To the left side, it has a three-storey tower over an entrance and to the right side a hall range. The tower stands above a canopied porch which is supported on granite colonettes and the architrave carries the inscription ‘TECHNICAL TRADE SCHOOL WM FORD STANLEY, ARCHITECT AND DONOR’. The first stage faces and corners of the tower have vertically set oval panels of granite, which are glazed to the roadside. The second stage is set back and has a glazed oculus to each face with corner colonettes. The ogival-domed roof is copper covered and has a finial. The hall is two-storey, over four gabletted bays and has contrasting stone and brick detailing. The windows are paired, four-pane sashes divided by a granite colonette to the ground floor. The aprons are granite to the ground floor and terracotta swags to the first. The gablets have a terracotta roundel and a decorated keystone, topped by a finial. The south side elevation carries a plaque inscribed ‘STANLEY TECHNICAL TRADE SCHOOL 1908’. At the rear, there is a tall, brick campanile with moulded stone bands. The upper stage is open and encircled by stone piers which support an ogival copper roof with finial. There are basement workshops to the rear of the hall which are lit from the rear.

INTERIOR: the technical school was previously recorded as having three classrooms, a library and a computer room to the ground and first floors above basement workshops with modern fittings.

Small Hall (part of the Harris Academy School in 2023)

The entrance is to the left side within a porch supported on granite colonnettes. The timber canopy has ornate drop finials and a leaded roof. The entrance doors are part glazed beneath a semi-circular fanlight with stained glass in rectangular panes and all with a stone architrave. The two-storey hall has a gable end divided into three bays. To the ground floor, it has a lean-to, leaded roof over sash windows framed by stone architraves and separated by granite colonnettes. There is a flush stone band at cill level. The aprons are formed by recessed granite panels above a stone plinth. The first floor has a cill band below round-headed sash windows with Art Nouveau stained glass, contained within segmental architraves. To the centre there is a three-light window and to the left and right similar single lights. Above each, columnar finials break through the stone coping of the gable, those to the left and right retaining terracotta vases of tulips. There are stone pilasters to the corners and stepped brick walling to the right side, delineated by stone pilasters.

INTERIOR: the small hall was previously recorded as having a timber arch, five-bay roof above marble pilasters with brass bases and tiled dado rail. The Proscenium arch is flanked by marble niches and panelling and is surmounted by circular iron vents, which are part of the ventilation system. The hall has elaborate plasterwork friezes and cornices. The timber doors are panelled, and marble niches flank the roadside windows. A link passage opens into the art gallery.

Clock Tower (part of the Harris Academy School in 2023)

Between the small hall and the art gallery, there is a three-stage clock tower. It is constructed of ashlar stone with Doric, quarter granite columns to the ground floor, set back at angles to the corners. The front face has an empty round-headed niche above the inscription ‘LABOR OMNIA VINCIT’ (work conquers all). The side face has a round-headed sash window with stained glass. The middle stage has ovate granite panels and the central example to the front, is glazed. The upper stage contains clock faces set between granite colonnettes, under a polygonal cornice and ogival copper dome. On the ground floor and set back to the right side, there is a pair of part-glazed timber doors beneath a simple canopy and an over-light with stained glass.

Art Gallery (part of the Stanley Halls venue in 2023)

The single-storey art gallery has a single bay entrance under a gable end. It has part-glazed, panelled doors beneath a lean-to canopy supported on decorative iron brackets. Above, there is a lit niche with round-headed architrave which has an empty plinth flanked by enwreathed shields and short granite colonettes. The top of the architrave engages with a short, half column surmounted by a pedestal and ball finial. The decorative eaves are constructed of green-glazed tile and topped by stone coping. The gallery extends behind the entrance and has a clerestory of rectangular panes to each side of the hipped roof.

INTERIOR: the linking entrance vestibule has a roundel depicting art, by C Wilkes RA. The main gallery room is long and linear and has a plain frieze and dado. The door architraves are panelled with decorative heads. The main room is top lit by clerestory windows with scissor trusses. The roof is arch-braced and rests on corbels. It has ornamental rondels to the ceiling and between the bays. The floor is tiled in a geometric pattern.

Large Hall (part of the Stanley Halls venue in 2023)

The large hall is symmetrical and of three bays over two storeys, beneath a stone copped gable and stands on a rough-hewn stone plinth. The central entrance has a pair of part-glazed doors beneath a lean-to canopy with spandrel side panels supported on granite colonettes. The door head carries the inscription ‘STANLEY HALL WM FORD STANLEY, ARCHITECT AND DONOR’. A modern metal sign is fixed to the roof above the entrance and reads ‘STANLEY HALLS’.

To the centre at the first floor, there is a four-bay arcade of flat-arched windows in a chamfered architrave. They are surmounted by a row of semi-circular, arched niches, which are divided by granite colonnettes. Above, there are four tall lights beneath slightly pointed arches with spandrels, bosses and capitals. To the left and right, there are sashes with stained glass, set within substantial, stone architraves. The lower stage windows are separated by a granite mullion, the upper stage by a chamfered stone mullion. The stone aprons have recessed granite panels. The lunette at the top of the architrave is intersected by a moulded stone band. It has a central niche for a bust, flanked by granite colonnettes, and to left and right, a glazed terracotta panel of a reclining figure. The keystone carries a mask, above which rise columnar finials with rectangular caps. That above the central window carries a figurine.

To the rear, there is a two-storey loading bay with high-set canopy.

INTERIOR: the large hall is similarly detailed as the small hall. It has a wide vestibule with frieze decorated by brass-coloured swags. The ticket office is timber-panelled and has a round-headed serving window. The adjacent cloakrooms have gold-painted signage. The stairs have barley twist balusters, cast iron newel posts and curved, timber handrails. The main section of the large hall has an arch-rib roof of steam-bent timbers. The proscenium arch is supported on Corinthian columns, flanked by panels divided by pilasters linked by swags. Above, there is a plaster frieze of putti and foliate swags surmounted by three busts within a panel. Above the arch, there is a lunette inscribed ‘JUSTICE, LIBERTY, SCIENCE’ which has three seated figures (replaced in polystyrene). It has wooden radiating sunrays and the roof above is supported on marble pilasters with brass bases and a brass and tiled dado. The clerestory windows are of three lights and the walls have ornamented iron ventilation grilles, connected to the ventilation system. The gallery has 1930s velvet cinema seating and a clock inscribed ‘TIME FLIES, MIND YOUR BUSINESS’.

Residence (part of the Stanley Halls venue in 2023)

The residence is connected by a passageway with stone head, which has a circular architrave containing a stylised tree of life, surmounted by a brick balustrade. The residence is two storey and of two irregular bays with the entrance to the right side. The first bay has a three-bay window to each storey containing rectangular sashes to the ground floor and semi-circular sashes to the upper floor. The second bay has a similarly detailed single-bay window. The upper lights of the first-floor windows have stained glass and the terracotta aprons have swags. The finials have terracotta dressings and there is a pediment over the three-bay window with a central pedestal, bracketed by decorative scrolls. The part-glazed entrance doors stand within an angled porch supported on heavy granite columns. The floor and walls have majolica and other glazed tiles.

The east elevation is of nine bays and stands on a plinth of granite blockwork. It is of similar design to the front elevation for the first three bays. The remaining six bays have regular, flat-arched sashes to the ground floor beneath a run of five bas-relief shields to the first floor. Paired doors stand under a lean-to lobby which has a stone head inscribed ‘SOCIETY ROOM’. To the rear, there is a single-storey, late-C20 extension.

INTERIOR: the residence stairs are lined with majolica wall tiles as are the risers, newels and balusters. The steps are stone and the adjoining floors are of tessellated marble. The offices have Edwardian or C20 tiled fireplaces. The upper rehearsal room has steam-bent timber arches with drop pendants. The ridge has an early-C20 venting system. The walls of the stairs have classical figures in roundels and are faced with majolica and brown wall tiles up to the dado. Those to the rehearsal room include two brown-tiled decorative fireplaces.


The Stanley buildings at South Norwood, formerly known as Stanley Technical High School and Stanley Halls, were built between 1901 and 1909, starting with the large hall and art gallery. The small hall was added around 1904, the technical school in 1907 and the residence in 1909. They were designed and funded by W F Stanley (1829-1909) who was an inventor, manufacturer of precision instruments and Utopian philanthropist. Something of a polymath, he was also a member of the Royal Society of Arts, a painter, musician and photographer, as well as an author of a variety of publications, including plays, books for children and political treatises. As a philanthropist, he gave over £80,000 to education projects during the last 15 years of his life. On his death, most of his estate (valued at £59,000) was bequeathed to the technical school and one of his houses was used as a children’s home. Stanley and his wife Eliza were held in high regard within South Norwood and a cast-iron clock tower was erected at the junction of Station Road and the High Street in 1907 to mark their golden wedding anniversary.

The technical school was based on the German ‘Gewerbeschulen’, which was introduced to Bavaria during the C19 and delivered vocational training alongside community and social studies. It is thought to have been the first example of a trade school in England and was designed to educate boys between the ages of 12 and 15 in general studies, as well as trade. It was constructed to Stanley’s own design, including an astronomy tower and a blown air heating and ventilation system.

The railings and gates to the front elevation have been largely removed with some replacement in reproduction ironwork. Some of the ceramic decoration to the pedestals has been lost or altered and a number of stone busts and figures have been removed, along with the clock tower weathervane and the flagpole above the residence entrance porch. A later-C20 single-storey building has been added to the rear of the residence.

The technical school and small hall are now part of the adjacent Harris Academy School and the large hall, art gallery and residence are managed as the Stanley Arts venue (2023).

Reasons for Listing

Stanley Technical High School and Stanley Halls, a former technical trade school, small hall, art gallery, large hall and residence, to the designs of W F Stanley, built between 1901 and 1909 and now (2023) part of Harris Academy School and Stanley Arts venue, is listed for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a good example of freestyle, early-C20 architecture designed in a loosely Italianate style, including well-detailed principal elevations and good quality, largely intact interiors.

Historic interest:

* as an architectural work by W F Stanley, an inventor and manufacturer of precision instruments, who was also a member of the Royal Society of Arts, a painter, musician and photographer, as well as an author of a variety of publications, including plays, books for children and political treatises. The Stanley buildings are thought to be his only known architectural work;
* as a privately funded technical school based on the German ‘Gewerbeschulen’ concept, it is a rare building type and is thought to be the first in England. Facilities such as the observatory tower and the blown air heating and ventilation are indicative of the desire to provide a balanced education, alongside instruction in a specific trade, all within a healthy environment.

Group value:

* associational value with the nearby Grade II-listed clock tower (National Heritage List for England entry 1079271) which was erected in 1907 to commemorate the golden wedding anniversary of Mr and Mrs Stanley.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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