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Stonebridge School, Including Former Caretaker's House, Playground Shelter and Cookery and Laundry to Nw, Former Manual Instruction Room and Playground Shelter to Se, and Boundary Walls, Gates and Rai

A Grade II Listed Building in Stonebridge, London

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Latitude: 51.5406 / 51°32'26"N

Longitude: -0.2637 / 0°15'49"W

OS Eastings: 520508

OS Northings: 183838

OS Grid: TQ205838

Mapcode National: GBR 8P.Q5R

Mapcode Global: VHGQQ.CJYV

Entry Name: Stonebridge School, Including Former Caretaker's House, Playground Shelter and Cookery and Laundry to Nw, Former Manual Instruction Room and Playground Shelter to Se, and Boundary Walls, Gates and Rai

Listing Date: 28 September 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393460

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505554

Location: Brent, London, NW10

County: London

District: Brent

Electoral Ward/Division: Stonebridge

Built-Up Area: Brent

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Michael Stonebridge

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


28-SEP-09 Stonebridge School, including former c
aretaker's house, playground shelter a
nd cookery and laundry to NW, former m
anual instruction room and playground
shelter to SE, and boundary walls, gat
es and railings

Primary school. Built 1899-1900 by Willesden School Board, Middlesex, to the design of GET Laurence.

MATERIALS: Red brick with cut and moulded-brick detailing; Portland stone dressings; clay tile and green copper roofs.

PLAN: Symmetrical rectangular plan on 3 floors, aligned NE/SW. It follows the standardised ER Robson Board School plan of a hall on each floor, with classrooms clustered around it on three sides: 3 parallel to hall on SE side; and 2 to NE and SW in crosswings. Polygonal tourelles set diagonally to NW and SW angles, each containing two entrances (Boys' and Girls') and two staircases.

EXTERIOR: Queen Anne manner. Windows have gauged-brick keyed arches, mainly cambered, and moulded brick cills; those to first floor with scrolled aprons. Moulded string-courses between floors continuing beneath cills. Moulded cornice above. Flemish gables with pinnacles to either side in red-coloured render, on moulded brick corbels. Segmental-pedimented dormers with carved tympana. Main body of school has mullion-and-transom windows with paired timber sashes and top-hung casements above. Principal (NW) elevation of 2-2-2 bays, outer bays set forward and surmounted by gables with tall round-headed windows flanked by small rectangular windows. The tourelles flank this elevation; each comprises a large main tower with octagonal roof and small cupola with lucarnes, and a slender canted stair tower to either side, also with an octagonal roof; top stages are set back. Stair towers have separate Boys' and Girls entrances in stone with carved segmental pediment; tablet on side of latter inscribed 'Stonebridge School'; scrolled pediments to first-floor windows; octagonal green copper roofs. Similar Infants' entrances set in inner angles of tourelles. Modern extension is not of special interest. Rear (SE) elevation of 2-2-2-2-2 bays; central 6 bays are similar to front elevation; outer pairs of bays are set back and have dormers with segmental pediments. Left-hand (SW) bays have repeat fenestration of the right-hand (NE) bays except that the lower parts of the former are intentionally blind (not blocked); attic also blind. Two ground-floor modified as doors. Side elevations (SW and NE) are of 4 bays with gable to inner 2 bays; the outer 2 bays of the latter have part-blind windows.

INTERIOR: Interior generally plainly finished. Plan generally as built, but with some classrooms subdivided. Most doors replaced. Second-floor hall has arch-braced roof. Stairs with simple iron balustrade and brown glazed-brick walls. Brown glazed-brick dados to most areas (some overpainted).

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Cast-iron gates and railings on low brick boundary wall; gate piers with stone domed caps.

Outbuildings in complementary Queen Anne style. Along the NW boundary of the playground is a range comprising a long playground shelter supported on cast-iron columns, flanked on the SW side by a single-storey building: the former cookery and laundry (identified in an inscription to carved segmental pediment over the door), with a Flemish gable matching those of the school, and on the NE side by a 2-storey caretaker's house, both buildings with timber sash windows. The house has a timber doorcase on the front (NE) elevation; the right-hand bay breaks forward and has canted bay window to ground floor and large tripartite dormer above with carved segmental pediment and cut-brick scrolled apron; identical dormer to SE elevation. Hipped roof. To the SE boundary is the former manual instruction room (identified in carved inscription to door lintel) of one storey with dormers and Flemish gable end, attached to which is a playground shelter. This range is plainer than that to the NW boundary. Interiors not of special interest.

HISTORY: Until the Elementary Education Act of 1870, education was largely left to voluntary initiatives, with the churches or local charities as the main providers for the poorer classes. The Act, steered through Parliament by William Forster and thus known as 'Forster's Act', actively supported by Gladstone, was the first to set a national, secular framework for the education of children aged 5-13. A driving force behind the Act was the need for a literate and numerate workforce to ensure that Britain remained at the forefront of manufacture and improvement. It required partially state-funded elementary schools to be set up in areas where existing provision was inadequate, to be managed by elected school boards. The churches and other pressure groups had opposed state-provided education. Reactionary opinion generally favoured church schools, and was concerned that secular and radical (as it was perceived) education provided by the board schools may threaten the status quo by teaching the labouring classes to think, but the Act's intention was to supplement rather than duplicate denominational schools in areas of most need. The new legislation resulted in a surge of school building across the country. The Education Act of 1902 steered in by Balfour's Conservative Government abolished the 2,568 school boards and replaced them with Local Education Authorities (LEAs).

ER Robson, appointed as architect to the School Board for London (SBL) in 1871, developed the characteristic Queen Anne style as a secular alternative to the Gothic of Anglican schools. This interpretation of the red brick, sash windowed, vernacular idiom of houses of the late C17 and early C18 lent itself to a template for the large-scale designs required for schools, as well as for the large windows needed to light classrooms. Robson's 1874 book 'School Architecture' was highly influential, and his standard Board School plan was widely emulated.

Until the late C19 Willesden was still on the rural fringes of London but was transformed into a densely built-up suburb of largely lower-middle and working-class housing after Willesden Junction station was opened in 1866. By the 1880s a clear deficiency in the number of voluntary school places available was emerging and, in the face of considerable opposition from local Anglican churches, the Education Department made an order for the compulsory formation of a school board in Willesden in 1882, and compelled the board to open a temporary school in the Wesleyan lecture hall in Harlesden in 1885, and to build its first board school there in 1891. Before it was superseded in 1904, Willesden School Board opened another 12, mainly large, schools and several special schools. The 15 voluntary schools provided 10,217 places and the board schools another 10,876.

George Evelyn Tidmarsh Laurence (1860-1922) was articled under FE Morris of Colchester and worked for 7 years as an assistant to ER Robson at the SBL. He designed several schools for the Willesden School Board and its successor body, Willesden Education Authority, and for Edmonton, Tottenham and Wood Green school boards, Middlesex. While evidently continuing to practise in London, Laurence became sole architect to the Swansea Education Authority c1891, for which he designed a number of schools, in which capacity he acted until his death.

SOURCES: A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden (1982), pp. 247-254
Cherry, B and Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England, London 3: North West, 1991

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Stonebridge School is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Special architectural interest as a London suburban board school built on an urban scale, which demonstrates the high standards of school design achieved by some school boards on the metropolitan fringes;
* A bold and distinctive rendition of the Queen-Anne style with good detailing and a striking silhouette;
* The school, and outbuildings with their handsome inscriptions, constitute a well-preserved ensemble with strong group value

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

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