Two ranges of school buildings, built in 1926-8 by the practice of Harvey and Wicks in a loosely Neo-Georgian style.
Reason for Listing
Bierton School is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: the group of school buildings, designed by the noted practice of Harvey and Wicks in 1926, has considerable interest by virtue of its inventive grouping and detailing;
* Intactness: despite some later additions and alterations, the group retains many features of interest;
* Setting: the buildings provide the principal, central accent of architectural interest in this development of suburban houses.
The former Bierton schools were designed in 1925 by the practice of Harvey and Wicks and built in 1926-8. They consisted of two blocks; a front range of two storeys, which formed a junior school for boys and girls with a central archway. This arch led, across a yard, to another block which was the infants’ school. The school appears to have been designed at the same time that the surrounding housing estate was being laid out. The streets there have a near-symmetrical plan which is echoed in the form of the school. In the mid-C20 a large, L-shaped gymnasium block and lift were added to the rear of the southern block.
In the later C20 the building was converted to use as council offices and then to be a disability centre. At the time of survey (June 2012) the front range was being re-converted to use as a primary school.
Two ranges of school buildings, built in 1926-8 by the practice of Harvey and Wicks in a loosely Neo-Georgian style. The buildings are of brown brick with a pantile roof. The southern range is of two storeys and the northern range is single-storeyed. Both buildings are symmetrically planned around a common central axis.
SOUTHERN RANGE (JUNIOR SCHOOL)
EXTERIOR: the entrance front of the southern block faces onto Bierton Road. It has a central archway which originally formed the ceremonial entrance to the school precinct, but which has been enclosed with glass screen walls to both its south and north sides to form an entrance hall (apparently in the 1960s or 70s). The archway has a flat lintel supported on brackets and the semi-circular tympanum above this has the coat of arms of Birmingham City carved in stone and painted, probably sculpted by the stone carver William Bloye, who often worked with Harvey and Wicks. At either side are pilaster buttresses with banded rustication. The brickwork to the attic of this central bay, which rises higher than the rest of the front, has inset patterns. Stone dressings to this central bay consist of an acreterion crowning each buttress and a carved stone band to the top of the wall with another acreterion to its centre. There is also a carved keystone to the centre of the arch and flush bands at the level of its springing. At either side of this central bay are slightly lower ranges with four bays, including staircase windows with interlacing glazing bars to their arched tops. Beyond these are taller, projecting, two-storey blocks, each having nine bays of sash windows. To the ends of the façade, and recessed, are two further arched staircase windows, as before. The flanks of this range each have a projecting porch entrance with intersecting glazing bars to the fanlights and with curved projecting keystones. The rear has the blocked through-arch to the centre with a triple window above it at first floor level. To either side are the projecting, two-storey halls which have arched heads with intersecting glazing. To far right and left are projecting, single-storey ranges with hipped roofs. The later L-shaped gymnasium projects from the western block and now blocks the former vista through the front arch to the Infants' School. This later addition is not of special interest.
INTERIOR: beneath the former central entrance arch which is now enclosed, are pairs of double doors at either side leading to the different sides of the building. Ground floor doorways in the corridors have decorative fanlights of cast metal, although their doors have mostly been replaced. Classrooms are rectangular on plan with three sash windows to each room. Further, internal, windows light the corridors. Panelled, half-glazed doors to the majority of the classrooms remain in situ, but with changed door furniture. There are four staircases of two types; one type with open, rectangular well and one with a solid rectangular newel of masonry. Each has a metal handrail, with square ‘stick’ posts and these are decorated with arched heads to each panel in front of the window, to match with the interlacing tracery at the window heads.
The building originally had two large hall rooms, one to each side. The western one of these was adapted to form part of a large gymnasium extension built in the mid-C20. The eastern one survives with a later stud partition wall inserted. This has arched heads to the windows and a series of beams across the width of the room, the sides of which are decorated with a cornice of Gothic arch motifs. To the west of the entrance is a room with arched niches and blocked fireplace which appears to have been the head teacher’s office. Herringbone, woodblock flooring survives in many of the original corridors and rooms, beneath later carpeting.
NORTHERN RANGE (INFANTS' SCHOOL)
EXTERIOR: The southern face is symmetrical and has a central doorway with stone surround with a swan's neck pediment. At either side are canted bay windows and there are three dormer windows above. A concrete ramp was put in front of the door in the later-C20. At either side the front has a series of sash windows, clustered in groups of three, representative of the classrooms inside. Both flanks have panelled double doors with basket-arched fanlights with intersecting glazing bars. The hall to the centre of the rear, projects and has five bays with arched heads to the windows and similar intersecting glazing.
INTERIOR: Not inspected.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.