A school building of 1868-9 by James Fowler.
Reason for Listing
The school building now known as The Studio, Schoolhouse Lane, Louth, erected for the King Edward Vl Grammar School in 1869, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: the façade is finely composed with meticulous carved stone detailing; the architect, James Fowler, is nationally significant and has numerous buildings on the statutory list;
* Interior: the neo-vernacular plan survives well and most fixtures and fittings survive; the hall’s exposed roof structure is distinctive and the remaining fireplaces, carved cornices and niches add significance to the building;
* Group Value: The Studio has group value with other listed buildings in the area and with the adjacent Bedehouses, designed along with The Studio by Fowler.
The town of Louth in Lincolnshire, often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Wolds’ has Saxon origins, and at the time of the Domesday survey was one of Lincolnshire’s seven market towns, with a population of 600. Its medieval core is still discernable in the town’s street pattern, and was bounded by the River Lud, the streets of Gospelgate and Kidgate to the south and Church Street to the east. Street names including the suffix ‘gate’ abound in the medieval core, which is signed from a great distance in every direction by the spire of the St James Church, completed in 1505, the tallest such spire of any parish church in England. Louth’s medieval prosperity was derived from exporting wool and grain, and its magnificent parish church is testimony to the wealth generated by agriculture in the region, and by Louth’s relative proximity to the east coast.
The town’s population was reduced by three-quarters by outbreaks of plague in the 1630s, and by the early C18 economic prosperity had understandably waned considerably. However, the opening of the Louth-Tetney canal in 1770 heralded a new era of prosperity, and the growth of industries related not only to the region’s agriculture such as malting and grain processing, but also activities such as tanning, boatbuilding and warehousing. Much of this development took place around the canal terminus at Riverhead, and the growth of the town eastwards, along Eastgate James Street and Walkergate.
In 1848, the East Lincolnshire Railway came to Louth, extending trade and communication links beyond those of the canal, and further enhancing the town’s economic strength. An expanding population stimulated the development of terraced housing and villas, churches, chapels, schools and a range of public buildings all graphically captured in the remarkable ‘Louth Panorama’ a two section painting by a local man, William Brown. The Panorama presents a view of the town from high in the spire of St James Church. It portrays Louth at the height of its development and prosperity, shortly after the arrival of the railway, set in its surrounding rural landscape, with the east coast seascape in the background. The structure of the town has changed remarkably little since the Panorama was created, and Louth has mercifully escaped the large-scale post-war redevelopment experienced by many communities in England. Louth remains a thriving historic market town with a high proportion of well-preserved C19 buildings.
King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth claims to be one of the oldest schools in the country, with its origins in the C8. Documentary evidence indicates that from the C13 it was funded by the town’s religious communities, guilds and a charity funded by Thomas of Louth in 1317. Following the dissolution of religious guilds in 1548, the town petitioned King Edward VI to secure the future of the school. In September 1551, the King granted the school a royal charter, under which it was handsomely endowed, to be administered by a Foundation which remains to this day. The school’s buildings were located on various sites to the south of Westgate, on Schoolhouse Lane, but the main school complex is now located on Crowtree Lane.
In 1864, the Trustees of the King Edward VI Grammar School applied to the Charity Commissioners to demolish the old school and build a new one. The Commissioners allowed for limited expenditure, boosted by public subscription, and James Fowler submitted his plans for the new school building and Bedeshouses at the corner of Schoolhouse Lane and Gospelgate as a single design. The completed buildings which cost about £3000 were opened by Bishop Christopher Wordsworth on 6th August 1869.
James Fowler (1828-1892) was born in Lichfield but moved to Louth at the age of twenty to work for the County Justices on Louth Prison (known as the House of Correction). He established an architectural practice in the town and became known as Fowler of Louth, but he also worked in London and other counties. Fowler was a prolific architect, designing or restoring over two hundred buildings during his 38 years in practice, including 24 new churches, 40 vicarages or rectories, 13 schools, 4 almshouses, and over a hundred churches that he restored or rebuilt. Fowler had trained as a lithographer, as his surviving plans for the school and Bedehouses show. His notable work in Louth includes the Orme Almshouses (1885) and his restoration of the Church of St James (1868-69). He was also appointed Diocesan Surveyor, a Louth Borough Councillor and five times the Mayor of Louth. There are 67 buildings on the statutory list associated with Fowler.
In 2013, the building is still used by the Grammar School, but has had a variety of uses including a canteen; it is now known as The Studio. Fowler's plan for the building, and historic photographs, indicate that The Studio is little changed, externally and internally. A notable exception is the construction of a kitchen range against the north elevation; the opening for a roller shutter has been inserted in the north wall of the crosswing to enable food to be served. At the south end of the building, Fowler's plan indicates that a fives court was accessed from the cloister, but that is not thought to survive.
A school building with attached cloisters to the south and railings to the west, built for King Edward VI Grammar School in 1868-9 and designed by James Fowler.
MATERIALS: red brick with stone dressings and slated roofs.
PLAN: a broad 'H' plan comprising a central hall with entrance lobby and crosswings housing facilities to the south (right) and classrooms to the left (north).
EXTERIOR: designed in a Tudor Gothic style, the single-storey building rests on a chamfered stone plinth and has stone string courses, gable roofs with cresting and carved stone copings,and three moulded brick stacks. Iron rainwater hoppers give the date 1869. The principal elevation faces west and consists a five-bay hall with crosswings at the south and north end. Each bay is marked by stepped pier buttresses with stone copings and has a large square, three-light stone mullion and transom window with cusped heads and hood moulds with carved head stops. Both crosswings have a canted bay window of similar style, with a deeply moulded surround and cornice, the latter with bosses featuring the carved heads of Archbishop Cramner, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and others. Above is a plain brick frieze with stone coping and a lancet window with a stone surround at the apex.
At the south end of the building the cloister shelters stone steps leading to a porch beneath a gable roof. The main entrance into the building lies at its south elevation, and comprises a timber batten door, with original furniture, set within a pointed arch opening.
The rear elevation is generally blind and plain in treatment; the crosswings have small windows with stone surrounds. At the centre of the hall's rear elevation is an external stack with moulded stone and brick details.
A finely carved figure of King Edward VI in a canopied niche at the north end of Bedehouses overlooks The Studio's playground, but is included in the list entry for the Bedehouses.
INTERIOR: Fowler's plan-form survives largely intact. The room divisions in the south crosswing, panelled doors and joinery survive; there is a quarry tile floor covering to the entrance corridor. The main hall is a lofty, full-height space with an exposed timber arched-brace roof, with quatrefoil decoration to the spandrels, and the trusses resting on stone corbels with carved shield motifs. There is a dado rail and exposed floorboards. The windows have deep reveals and shallow arched heads. A memorial to a former student and a brass plaque commemorating the opening of the building are attached to the rear wall. There are two panelled doors leading to each crosswing. To the left of the doors to the south crosswing is a richly carved niche with a canopy (empty). Between the doors at the north end of the hall is a stone, arched niche containing a bust of Captain John Smith, the founder of Virginia who was born in Willoughby, Lincs and educated at the King Edward VI Grammar School between 1592 and 1595. A carved inscription in a stone shield below states that the bust was made and presented to the school by Major General Baden-Powell (founder of the Scout Association) in 1906. In the north crosswing are two former classrooms, that to the front (west) lit by the canted bay window and the rear room is lit by a raised lantern, the glazing of which has been replaced. The rooms have a timber cornice carved with quatrefoils. A fireplace with a carved stone, four-centred arch surround lies in the south-west corner of the rear room. The roller shuttered opening to the kitchen has been inserted into the north wall of the building and a door leads to the rear.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: a cloister with a pent roof supported on timber posts and brackets is attached to the south end of the building, to the front of the entrance steps, and turns at 90 degrees to meet with the rear elevation of the Bedehouses. The complex is enclosed to the west by a low brick wall capped with stones on which there are iron railings; the double vehicular iron entrance gates are C20 in date.
The kitchen range attached to the north wall of The Studio does not have special interest.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.