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Our Lady of Victories Rc Primary School Including Covered Play Area and Boundary Wall

A Grade II Listed Building in Courtfield, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.493 / 51°29'34"N

Longitude: -0.1797 / 0°10'46"W

OS Eastings: 526469

OS Northings: 178686

OS Grid: TQ264786

Mapcode National: GBR 3L.VZ

Mapcode Global: VHGQY.TQWV

Entry Name: Our Lady of Victories Rc Primary School Including Covered Play Area and Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 18 September 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393436

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506993

Location: Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW7

County: London

District: Kensington and Chelsea

Electoral Ward/Division: Courtfield

Built-Up Area: Kensington and Chelsea

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Holy Trinity with St Paul, Onslow Sq and St Augustine, Sth Kensington

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text

KENSINGTON

249/0/10297 CLAREVILLE STREET
18-SEP-09 Our Lady of Victories RC Primary Schoo
l including covered play area and boun
dary wall

GV II
Board school, 1880, by ER Robson for the School Board for London. Minor later alterations.

EXTERIOR: The school is a three-storey, stock brick building with red-brick dressings, stone voussoirs, keystones, brackets and ornamental plaques, and windows with timber sashes or casements, painted white. The roof is hipped and tiled with gabled dormers and tall chimneys, some reduced. The west (Clareville Street) front has a projecting centre to the street, integrated with the line of the high boundary wall. This has tiers of windows in the centre rising to a straight gable and flanked by blank walling punctuated only by ornamental plaques in round-arched niches. There are two depicting sunflowers, one which gives the original name of the school, and a fourth identifying it as built by the 'School Board for London'. There are wings set back to the left and right, of unusual design, with open corridors and arches between storeys, the latter square-headed between the ground and first storeys, round-headed between the first and second storeys. The lower corridor arcade is glazed. The east elevation is symmetrical with regular fenestration and gables to the top storey punctuating the roofline, the outer gables with additional ornamental plaques. The south end elevation has a triplet of tall windows in the centre of the top storey interrupting the ends of the hipped roof and another plaque in the sunflower design. The north end elevation has just one bay of windows.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The BOUNDARY WALL is the original and has three openings with stone lintels where the inscriptions 'BOYS', 'GIRLS' and 'INFANTS' are just traceable. In the playground is an IRON CANOPY providing a COVERED PLAYING AREA; this features on historic maps and was a common structure in board schools; it is likely to be original to the building too.

INTERIOR: The boys and girls would have entered the school on the south and north sides respectively of the projecting centre to the western elevation. These doors, with flat red brick arches, give access to the building's two staircases leading to all floors. The infants entered their ground floor accommodation directly from the playground on the western elevation. The two stairwells have stock brick walls, which would probably always have been painted, and metal balustrades in the upper flights. Small rooms at the landings were originally staff and head-teacher's rooms. The three floors have a similar arrangement of rooms, with a row of classrooms accessed via corridors running along the western side of the building. On the top floor, the original roof with its exposed timber trusses and metal tie beams survives; elsewhere the ceilings have metal I-section beams. Some joinery in the classrooms survives (fanlights above doors, for example), along with niches in the walls which would have originally housed stoves. In one classroon the original parquet floor is visible.

HISTORY: Our Lady of Victories RC Primary School was originally called Gloucester Grove East School after the street that runs along its western boundary. This thoroughfare has since been renamed Clareville Street, but the older nomenclature is remembered in the plaque affixed to the school reading 'Gloucester Grove East Schools'.

The pioneering Elementary Education Act of 1870, steered through Parliament by William Forster and thus known as 'Forster's Act', was the first to establish a national, secular, non-charitable provision for the education of children aged 5-13. A driving force behind the new legislation was the need for a literate and numerate workforce to ensure that Britain remained at the forefront of manufacture and commerce. Moreover, the extension of the franchise to the urban working classes in the 1867 Reform Act also alerted politicians to the need to, in words attributed to the then Chancellor, 'educate our masters'. The Act required partially state-funded elementary schools to be established in areas where existing provision was inadequate, to be managed by elected school boards. The School Board of London was the first to be founded (in 1870), and the most influential. The Board was one of the first truly democratic elected bodies in Britain, with both women and members of the working classes on the board. It comprised 49 members under the chairmanship of the former Viceroy of India, Lord Lawrence, and included five members of parliament, eleven clergymen, the scientist Thomas Huxley, suffragists Emily Davies (an educationalist) and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (a doctor), and a working-class cabinetmaker, Benjamin Lucraft. The Board's politics were ambitious and progressive, as epitomised by its passing of a by-law in 1871 compelling parents to send children to school; this was not compulsory nationally until 1880.

Such was the achievement of the London School Board in the last quarter of the C19, that by the Edwardian period few neighbourhoods in London were without a red brick, Queen Anne style, three-storey school designed by ER Robson, the Board's architect, or his successor TJ Bailey. The Board's adoption of the newly-fashionable Queen Anne style was a significant departure from the Gothic Revival deemed appropriate to educational buildings up until that point, and created a distinctive and highly influential board school aesthetic. Around 500 board schools were built in London, many in densely-populated, poor areas where they were (and often remain) the most striking buildings in their locales. The Board did not escape criticism, however, both on the grounds of expense to rate-payers and for potentially radicalising the urban poor through secular education. Yet its supporters were unapologetic, as the words of Charles Booth, justifying the expense of more elaborate schools in the East End, indicate: 'It was necessary to strike the eye and hold the imagination. It was worth much to carry high the flag of education, and this is what has been done. Each school stands up from its playground like a church in God's acre, ringing its bell'. Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Naval Treaty' (1894) also lauded the new metropolitan landmarks as 'Beacons of the future! Capsules with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wiser, better England of the future', thus epitomising the reformers' confidence in the power of universal education to transform society. The striking design of many of these schools is illustrative of this special history.

SOURCES
SAVE Britain's Heritage, Beacons of Learning (1995)
Elain Harwood and Andrew Saint 'Report on Listing of London Board Schools' held at NMR (1991)
Timothy Walder, 'The evolution of the classic school design of the School Board for London (1870-1904): a reassessment of the role of Edward Robert Robson' (Institute of Education, University of London MA dissertation, 2006)
James Hall, 'The London Board Schools 1870-1904: Securing a Future for these Beacons of the Past' (University of Bath MSc. dissertation 2006-7)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Our Lady of Victories RC Primary School, formerly Grosvenor Grove East Schools, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* well-preserved and architecturally unusual example of ER Robson's later board school style;
* an exemplar of Robson's skill at creating an architectural effect on a tight plot and budget, through carefully-placed carved plaques, stone dressings and gables, and the arrangement of windows;
* a unique instance of Robson experimenting with the idea of open corridors, several decades before the idea became de rigeur in school architecture with the influential designs of George Widdows in Derbyshire.

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

Reasons for Listing

Our Lady of Victories RC Primary School, formerly Grosvenor Grove East Schools, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* well-preserved and architecturally unusual example of ER Robson's later board school style;
* an exemplar of Robson's skill at creating an architectural effect on a tight plot and budget, through carefully-placed carved plaques, stone dressings and gables, and the arrangement of windows;
* a unique instance of Robson experimenting with the idea of open corridors, several decades before the idea became de rigeur in school architecture with the influential designs of George Widdows in Derbyshire.

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