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Hillyfields Sixth Form Centre

A Grade II* Listed Building in Ladywell, London

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Latitude: 51.4593 / 51°27'33"N

Longitude: -0.026 / 0°1'33"W

OS Eastings: 537234

OS Northings: 175213

OS Grid: TQ372752

Mapcode National: GBR K7.XSM

Mapcode Global: VHGR7.HLL5

Entry Name: Hillyfields Sixth Form Centre

Listing Date: 27 April 1992

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1252990

English Heritage Legacy ID: 203484

Location: Lewisham, London, SE4

County: London

District: Lewisham

Electoral Ward/Division: Ladywell

Built-Up Area: Lewisham

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Lewisham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Listing Text

TQ 3775

Hillyfields Sixth Form Centre

(formerly Brockley County School)

School. Three builds. North part of 1884-5 by Charles Evans as the West Kent Grammar School, extended southwards by the London County Council for the Brockley County Secondary School in 1913-14 and 1921. North part of 1884-5 asymmetrical in Jacobean style. Red brick with stone dressings, tiled roof and brick chimneystacks. Two storeys; five windows.

End gables with kneelers, each having double casement window to each floor under brick relieving arches. Central wooden octagonal cupola with lead roof and iron weathervane. Parapet. Left bay has casement window to each floor, central bay has stepped casement to ground floor in round-headed arch and right side has two-storey canted bay with balustraded parapet and pedimented entrance with half columns. Large southward extensions to the south by the LCC in 1913-14 and 1921. These include an assembly hall to the east, one storey red brick with gable to east with large traceried window, two hipped dormers and two smaller traceried windows to the side elevations.

Internally the front vestibule has some indifferent quality murals with historical subjects by Geoffrey Cook, David Hitchcock and R Smith and there is a staircase of 1913-14 of iron railings with mahogany handrail and blue, tiled dado.

The exceptional feature of the building is the series of mural paintings carried out in the Assembly Hall between the years 1933 and 1936 by four painters connected with the Royal College of Art; Charles Mahoney, Evelyn Dunbar, Mildred Eldridge and Violet Martin. The hall is a Perpendicular style building of five bays with hammer beam roof and gallery to east, with five wall panels, a mural to the gallery front and murals under the gallery. The north side west panel depicts "Fortune and the Boy at the Well" by Charles Mahoney, the north side east panel depicts "The Country Girl and the Milk Pail" by Evelyn Dunbar, the south side east panel is entitled "The Bird Catcher and the Skylark" by Mildred Eldridge (dated 1934) and the south side west panel "The King and 2 Shepherds" by Violet Martin. The gallery front has murals by Evelyn Dunbar depicting the Hilly Fields. There are allegorical figures to left and right, one holding a plan of the school, the other a plan of Hilly Fields. Boys in contemporary dress return from school along the railings entwined with plants. Above are two figures of boys, one in rugby clothes, the other as a scholar. The wider gallery spandrels and lunettes are mainly by Evelyn Dunbar but three panels are by Charles Mahoney, mostly from Aesop's "Fables".
The paintings belong to the Romantic and Narrative School of English painting influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. The best known painters of this group were Stanley Spencer and Eric Ravilious. These murals are considered some of the most important achievements of C20 mural painting. Such murals are rare, including these, Whistler's Tate Gallery Refreshment Room murals of 1926, murals at Morley College, Lambeth of 1929 by Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and Charles Mahoney (some destroyed by bomb damage) and murals in the village hall at Wood Green Hampshire by Robert Baker and Edward Payne. The high perspective viewpoint of the hall panels, raised 6 feet off the ground, is of particular interest. Also, no work of comparable scale by Evelyn Dunbar exists; Charles Mahoney's work at Brockley is better than his murals in the Lady Chapel of Campion Hall and Mildred Eldridge painted only one other public work.

The panel "Fortune and the Boy at the Well" has featured in an exhibition at the Barbican, "The Last Romantics" in 1989.

This building is listed solely because of the high quality and rarity of the mural paintings carried out between 1933 and 1936.

Listing NGR: TQ3723475213

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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