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The Drama Centre (former King Henry VIII Grammar School)

A Grade II Listed Building in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

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Latitude: 51.826 / 51°49'33"N

Longitude: -3.0207 / 3°1'14"W

OS Eastings: 329753

OS Northings: 214646

OS Grid: SO297146

Mapcode National: GBR F5.W3CT

Mapcode Global: VH796.LCFJ

Plus Code: 9C3RRXGH+CP

Entry Name: The Drama Centre (former King Henry VIII Grammar School)

Listing Date: 20 October 1995

Last Amended: 10 November 2005

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 16470

Building Class: Recreational

Location: On the east side of Pen-y-pound and one of the varied group of historic buildings on the main north-eastern access to Abergavenny.

County: Monmouthshire

Town: Abergavenny

Community: Abergavenny (Y Fenni)

Community: Abergavenny

Built-Up Area: Abergavenny

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

Tagged with: Theatre School building Arts centre

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Built in 1898 and designed by E A Johnson. It replaced the Grammar School in St. Johns Street now the Masonic Lodge (qv) where it had been since its foundation in 1543. The school building was extended to the north in 1904, and were given three new classrooms, a gymnasium and a library in 1926 (not included in the listing). It was closed as a school in c1970 and has now become a Drama Centre.


Built of coursed rock-faced red sandstone rubble with yellow ashlar dressings, natural slate roofs with tile cresting and stone stacks. Main range running north-south with the central entrance flanked by the Hall on the south and two Schoolrooms on the north, these all with ridges at right angles. Tudor Gothic style befitting the founder. Single storey, with the main rooms open to the roof. The main elevation has twelve windows with the first five from the left in the 1904 extension. This is 3 2 with stepped buttresses, the second window has 3-lights, the others 2-lights, all with mullion-and-transom and cusped heads. The Schoolrooms have paired gables with panelling, each gable with a large 4-centred 4-light window, continuous dripmould. The four entrance bays are recessed, canted bay for the Master's Study, 2 2 2 lights, then 3-light windows flanking the entrance. This has flanking octagonal turrets, a recessed porch with a 4-centred head and four lights above, pepper-pot tops to turrets and central gable. Finally the Hall gable is taller and has a large 5-light window as before. Steeply pitched roofs with many fine panelled stacks, the belvedere lantern over the Hall has been removed.
Left return has short plain wing with another chimney.
Right return of Hall has buttresses and paired gables with 3-light window in character as before.
Rear elevation has plainer windows than on the front but the sizes match.
Additional detached blocks at rear not included in the listing.


The planning and detail of this building are almost unaltered, apart from the introduction of firedoors and the conversion of the assembly hall into a theatre. The Hall and classrooms retain their original canted boarded ceilings, panelled dadoes, and all their doors and other joinery. The extension of 1904 is finished in a slightly plainer manner but other wise matches the character and finish of the original build and is equally unaltered.

Reasons for Listing

Included for its special interest as a well preserved late C19 school which has retained its character, is the design of a noted local architect and which has group value with the other listed buildings in Pen-y-pound.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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