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Grange Road, St John's Primary School (Former Grange School) Including Boundary Walls

A Category B Listed Building in Alloa, Clackmannanshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.1164 / 56°6'59"N

Longitude: -3.8058 / 3°48'21"W

OS Eastings: 287814

OS Northings: 692988

OS Grid: NS878929

Mapcode National: GBR 1J.LNYY

Mapcode Global: WH5QD.HJXF

Entry Name: Grange Road, St John's Primary School (Former Grange School) Including Boundary Walls

Listing Date: 12 June 1972

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 356218

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB21007

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Alloa

County: Clackmannanshire

Town: Alloa

Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire South

Traditional County: Clackmannanshire

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Description

Kerr and McCulloch, 1908-9 with later additions (1939 & c.1960) and alterations. 2-storey and basement, 10-bay (arranged 3-4-3), roughly rectangular-plan, symmetrical Art Nouveau school; swept gabled end bays; shorter 2-storey, 4-bay balustraded outshot to side elevations; ground falling away to W revealing basement. Squared, snecked and droved red sandstone with red ashlar quoins and margins. Predominantly flat arched openings; tripartite openings with stone mullions to gabled end bays; some semi-circular openings to side elevations. Chamfered cills. Round-arched canopy with carved concave corbels and carved panel to infill, above flat arched entrance opening with projecting keystone to E return of outshots. Tall, single-storey, 4-bay, rectangular-plan gym hall with flanking outshots adjoined to N elevation, dry-dashed brick with ashlar base course and moulded ashlar window surrounds. 2-storey, 8-bay classroom extension to W of gym hall; cement rendered.

E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: ground floor openings of central bays with projecting carved keystone and hoodmoulding; carved plaque to centre with raised inscription 'Grange School' and '1908', and curved canopy supporting flagpole; lintels at 2nd floor with projecting keystone and coping swept in to curved parapet wallhead. Gabled end bays with raised red ashlar lettering and stylised floral motif to corniced panel between ground and 1st floor, that to left with inscription 'Alloa Burgh' and that to right with inscription 'School Board'; segmentally-arched tripartite openings at 1st floor with distinctive carved projecting keystone breaking hoodmoulding; coped wallhead.

S ELEVATION: roughly 5 bay with lower 4-bay outshot to centre. Taller flanking bays to 5-bay section, with swept gable and central chimney stack to return; 2nd floor openings breaking eaves with projecting keystone and coping to lintel. Swept gable to centre breaking wallhead; semi-circular opening at 1st floor to centre with distinctive projecting carved keystone; projecting carving to apex of gable. Distinctive carved balustraded parapet to outshot; tripartite window to basement currently blind; semi-circular opening to centre at ground floor; triparitite windows to centre bays at 2nd floor.

N ELEVATION: similar to that at S Elevation.

REAR ELEVATION: similar to that at E Elevation with less architectural detailing. Wide segmental arched openings with projecting keystone to basement, filled-in late twentieth with uPVC glazing.

Predominantly later timber sash and case windows with horns, some later uPVC windows to ground floor and basement, some stained glass. Pitched grey slate roofs and central leaded chamfered ventilators with leaded flat roof sections; partially glazed over central hall; leaded flat roof to outshots; flat roof to gym hall; hipped grey slate roof to classroom extension. Square end stacks, coped with cydrindrical clay cans.

BOUNDARY WALL: low squared rubble with half-round coping, topped with simple painted iron railings; tapered gatepiers, those to left with shallow pyramidal capping, those to right truncated.

INTERIOR: (seen 2010) double height, top lit central hall; galleried at 1st floor; glazed tiled dado at ground floor and 1st (see NOTES); tapered painted columns with distinctive art noveau capital at 1st floor. Large class rooms set to E and W of hall. Mezzanine level above ground floor set to S and N of hall accommodating offices, segmental arched openings with distinctive keystone motif to hall. Tapered timber architraves to door and window openings of offices, small glazed green tiled fire surrounds to offices.

Statement of Interest

St John's Primary School is a rare and well-detailed example of an Art Noveau School in Scotland and is one of the best surviving examples of the work of George Kerr. The principal building retains much of its high quality original detailing. This includes the distinctive Art Noveau carved stonework motifs to the balustrated parapet and keystones, which are reinterpreted in the interior detailing of the hall. The plan form is largely intact and a good example of the 'central hall' model of school design, which was widespread in Britain between 1873 and 1920. It makes a significant contribution to the streetscape which is characterised by sandstone villas.

The school was commissioned by the Alloa School Board in 1907 to accommodate 800 pupils. The competition was confined to local architects as the Board wished to boost the work of this profession as local commissions were limited. George Kerr's scheme was described as 'a very nice school and when erected it would prove a decided ornament ot the town' (Alloa Journal, 1907).

George Alexander Kerr was born in 1865. He was articled to various architectural practices until 1896, when he set up his own practice in Alloa. Initial commissions were for private houses but work diversified to commercial properties, churches and schools in Clackmannanshire after 1902 when Kerr took William McCulloch into partnership. The partnership ended around 1911, following MuCulloch's emigration to Tasmania, but Kerr produced several more public buildings before his death in 1927. Kerr was accomplished in the Art Noveau style with work such as Soda Fountain Bar, Alloa (1921)

Kerr had a great interest in religion and a wide knowledge of symbolism. This interest is reflected in some of his interior detailing for the central hall. A series of four tiles are repeated in the glazed dado around the hall, which depict the Christian symbols of the Cross, the star of Redemption, the Crown, and a map of the world. The keystone of the interior entrance archway to the hall has the raised inscription 'STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD.', a verse from the King James Version of the bible.

List Description Updated 2011

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