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Skinners' Company School for Girls

A Grade II Listed Building in Hackney, London

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Latitude: 51.5727 / 51°34'21"N

Longitude: -0.0734 / 0°4'24"W

OS Eastings: 533614

OS Northings: 187740

OS Grid: TQ336877

Mapcode National: GBR HB.Q5H

Mapcode Global: VHGQM.PQ2Q

Entry Name: Skinners' Company School for Girls

Listing Date: 18 September 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392846

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505108

Location: Hackney, London, N16

County: London

District: Hackney

Electoral Ward/Division: Springfield

Built-Up Area: Hackney

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Andrew Stoke Newington

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text

735/0/10226 STAMFORD HILL
18-SEP-08 117
Skinners' Company School for Girls

Girls' school. 1889 by EH Burnell for the Skinners' Company. Additional building in the 1890s by W Campbell-Jones.

MATERIALS: Red brick, with white brick and stone dressings, some rendered and painted, slate roofs. In Queen Anne manner.

PLAN: A symmetrical front block in two storeys, attics and basement, centred on a three stage tower leads to a central hall, lying east-west, with two storeys of classrooms leading off to north and south. Attached to the south-west angle of the building is a gymnasium dated 1893. Later C20 additions to the northwest corner of the school are not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: A symmetrical entrance front in 11 bays, arranged 3:2:1:2:3, the outer bays and centre breaking forward. The centre of the front is dominated by a three stage tower surmounted by a cupola. The lower stage, enriched with fluted pilasters at the angles of the bay, has a doorcase under a swan neck pediment containing the Skinners' Company arms. The doorcase is round-arched over a fanlight, has an enriched keystone, and a foliate frieze and spandrels and a pair of eight-panelled doors. The first floor is filled by an eight-light mullion and transom window under a swagged frieze and between Ionic pilasters. The upper stage is similar with a smaller two-light window in an enriched architrave on each face and is surmounted by a balustrade. An octagonal open-sided cupola on a slate-hung base has a tall finial. The flanking bays have tall 6 over 6 pane horned sashes in plain brick openings, on the ground floor with a rendered keystone, on the first floor under a shaped gauged brick arch. A white brick storey band continues to the side elevations. Outer bays have mansard roofs with a pair of pedimented dormers with 6 over 6 pane sashes under a curved head. Inner bays each have a similar dormer with a single sash under a segmental pediment. Tall brick multiple stacks with raised brick bands sit between the main bays and at the back of the front range. An attached pierced parapet surrounds the semi-basement, on which are foundation stones dated June 1889. The return elevations each have four sash windows to each floor. The left return has a pair of pedimented dormers, the right return a flat-roofed dormer. There are small pedimented dormers on the rear roof. The north two-storey block of classrooms has art rooms on the upper floor which were top-lit. Upper floor windows of 8 over 8 fixed lights and casements are set directly under the eaves to form a continuous window with the roof lights. Brick bands and mouldings continue from the front elevation. The south block of classrooms was rebuilt probably in the early C20, and houses science rooms which are lit by large upper floor Palladian windows in stone architraves. The hall, set between the blocks of classrooms has a small bell cote on the roof. Attached to the south-west angle of the building is the gymnasium. The west elevation walls where visible are marked by buttress piers and white brick dressings. A large clerestorey window is surmounted by a pediment with a pargetted panel and cartouche dated 1893. The south roadside elevation appears to have been rebuilt extending the building southwards and has a C20 metal framed window. Similar buttress piers in red brick mark the north-west angle of the school building, possibly also extended later in the C19.

INTERIOR: The hall is of eight bays under a boarded barrel roof supported on slender moulded ribs springing from piers. The eastern bay contains a gallery with a robust turned timber balustrade which runs across the building. At ground floor, set back under the gallery, square piers frame the entrance to the hall. These are flanked by circular stairwell windows overlooking the hall and lobby. At upper level a pair of columns in antis with rich foliate capitals supports a foliate frieze which continues between the piers on the side walls and west wall. To each side is a robust ovolo moulded mullion and transom stairwell window. A tall four light window on each side, flanking the gallery, is now bisected by the extended gallery. At storey height on the side and west walls is a swagged frieze. Pairs of ground floor doors in moulded architraves lead to classrooms and offices. Upper floor clerestorey windows are partly infilled leaving glazed upper sections. The west end has a large round-headed window with C20 commemorative coloured glass, flanked by mullion and transom windows. Below are a pair of double doors. To each side of the hall entrance is a tightly fitted spiral staircase rising the height of the building. Each has an iron frame and masonry steps, a metal balustrade of alternate straight and wavy balusters and bulbous cast newels, and a moulded timber rail, and is lit by windows in composite stone surrounds which overlook the hall and lobbies. Upper floor and north-east ground floor rooms have simple composite stone fireplaces. The gymnasium has an arch-braced roof the upper part boarded in. The trusses spring from moulded rubbed brick piers with a dado between. At the north end is a galley with a cast iron balustrade.

A brick wall with an open arcade, and with brick piers with stone or composite dressings encloses the site on the Stamford Hill and Northfield Road elevations.

Later C20 additions to the school are not of special interest and are not included in the listing.

HISTORY: The school opened in 1889. It was the fourth school to be set up or maintained by the Skinners' Company. It was designed by EH Burnell (1819-1892) who was also responsible for buildings (1863-4 to 1880s) at The Tonbridge School, Tonbridge, which was founded in the C16, and at Skinners' School, Tunbridge Wells (1886-7). The third school, The Judd School, Tonbridge was established in 1888 and moved site in 1896 but it is not known if the first building was by Burnell. After Burnell's death in 1892, W Campbell-Jones was employed by the Skinners' Company and was probably responsible for the later 1890s work at the rear of Skinners' Girls' School.

It was the intention of the Skinners' Company to set up a girls' school. From the outset it was fee paying and aimed at middle class families, as the district changed from one of large houses into streets of moderate sized houses. By 1902 it had 350 pupils. It became a direct grant school after the Second World War. The school was set up in a climate of expanding provision of education for girls. The Girls' Public Day School Trust (GPDST) was founded in 1872, first setting up a small school in Chelsea. By 1895 it had opened 20 more schools in London and in cities across the country. Canon Francis Holland founded a school for girls in Baker Street, London in 1878. It was followed by a second school at Graham Terrace Belgravia which opened in 1881. In 1915 the Baker Street school moved to its present site at Clarence Gate near Regents Park, into buildings designed by HT Hare, which are listed Grade II. St Paul's Girls' School, Hammersmith, which opened in 1904, is housed in buildings of 1903 by Gerald Horsley (Grade II). The Livery Companies were keenly interested in extending education to a wider population. Haberdashers' Aske's Hoxton School for Girls opened in 1875 and in 1898 Haberdashers' Company opened a new girls' school in Acton for fifty nine pupils. Coborn School for Girls, Tower Hamlets, built in 1897 and Grade II, resulted from the amalgamation by the Charity Commissioners in 1891 of the Coopers' Company schools and Coborn foundation schools in Bow. The expansion of sponsored schools runs in parallel to the growth in numbers of Board Schools which followed the 1870 Education Act and took off in the 1880s.

A certificate of merit dated 1918, but probably designed earlier, illustrates the school before the rebuilding of the south block of classrooms and with a single storey building on the site of the gymnasium. An early photograph of the school hall shows the original smaller curved balcony above the entrance, full clerestorey windows, and doorcases with swan neck pediments . The portrait of Mary Hannah Page, first headmistress is visible, hanging in the same position as today.

SOURCES: Margaret Bryant, The London Experience of Secondary Education (1986)
Malcolm Seaborne & Roy Lowe, The English School - its architecture and organisation, vol. II,1870-1970 (1977)
EH Burnell obit, The Builder, April 16, 1892, p312

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Skinners' Company School for Girls built 1889 by EH Burnell should be designated for the following principal reasons:
* It is an example of a well-documented, purpose-built, late C19 girls' school built for the livery company following contemporary thinking on school building, executed to a high architectural standard, and with special interest in the development of private and sponsored education for girls in the late C19.

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

Reasons for Listing

Skinners' Company School for Girls built 1889 by EH Burnell is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is an example of a well-documented, purpose-built late C19 girls' school, built for the livery company following contemporary thinking on school building, executed to a high architectural standard, and with special interest in the development of private and sponsored education for girls in the late C19.

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