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Description: The Auction House
Date Listed: 1 August 2005
English Heritage Building ID: 1407433
OS Grid Reference: SU8093468810
OS Grid Coordinates: 480935, 168811
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4126, -0.8376
DESCRIPTION Former British School, now auction rooms. Built in 1841, extended late C19 and C20. Architect unknown.
MATERIALS: Red brick laid in rat-trap bond, front elevation painted. Slate roof. Windows mainly cast-iron; timber sliding sashes to rear extension.
PLAN Original building: rectangular single-room plan; later extensions to front, side and rear
EXTERIOR Classical style with a pitched roof and deep bracketed eaves to front. Front elevation has blind arcade with imposts. Main entrance to right obscured by modern porch extension which continues round part of the north side. Gable has a central cast-iron pivoting lunette window with diamond lattice glazing bars, set in a rendered surround, with moulded cill and apron beneath. Cast-iron framed windows to side elevations with 18-over-18 square lights, upper sections pivoting. Late C19/early C20 extension at the rear with timber sash windows. North elevation has a blocked window and a later blocked doorway.
INTERIOR Schoolroom with timber king-post truss roof. Soffit of roof boarded. Walls brick, painted, with timber match-board dado panels. Window reveals splayed. Rear gable has an off-centre cast-iron lunette window matching that to the front, obscured externally by the extension.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES Brick boundary wall to south side of building, also laid in rat-trap bond.
EVALUATION OF IMPORTANCE The principal interest lies in the original 1841 building, which, despite later accretions, is a well-preserved example of a British School on the Lancastrian model. The porch and side extensions are not of special interest.
HISTORY Built by subscription in 1841 by Wokingham Baptist Sunday School to provide education for poor children of all denominations according to the principles of the British and Foreign School Society (founded 1814), which promoted education for the poor on the model of the influential educationist Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838). Lancaster's model plan for classrooms was centred on a 'monitorial' system whereby older children - 'monitors' - would instruct younger pupils. The master stood on a platform at one end facing the children seated on rows of benches. To either side were passages where small groups of children would gather in semi-circles around lesson boards hung on the walls. Great importance attached to ventilation, daylight and reduction of noise, hence the common usage of open-truss roofs rather than ceilings (to reduce noise deflection) and pivoting windows to improve ventilation.
SOURCES M Seaborne The English School: its architecture and organisation 1370-1870; The British and Foreign School Society Archive, Brunel University
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.