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Description: Hillyfields Sixth Form Centre
Date Listed: 27 April 1992
English Heritage Building ID: 203484
OS Grid Reference: TQ3723475213
OS Grid Coordinates: 537234, 175213
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4593, -0.0260
The following building shall be added:
BROCKLEY EASTERN ROAD
779-/13/10001 Hillyfields Sixth
School. 3 builds. North part of 1884-5 by Charles Evans as the West
Kent Grammar School, extended southwards by the London County Council
for the Brockley County Secondary School in 1918-14 and 1921. North
part of 1884-5 asymmetrical in Jacobean style. Red brick with stone
dressings, tiled roof and brick chimneystacks. 2 storeys; 5 windows.
End gables with kneelers, each having double casement window to each
floor under brick relieving arches. Central wooden octagonal cupola
with lead roof and iron weathervane. Parapet. Left bay has casement
window to each floor, Central bay has stepped casement to ground floor
in round-headed arch and right side has 2-storey canted bay with
balustraded parapet and pedimented entrance with half columns. Large
southward extensions to the south by the LCC in 1913-14 and 1921.
These include an assembly hall to the east, 1 storey red brick with
gable to east with large traceried window, 2 hipped dormers and 2
smaller traceried windows to the side elevations. Internally the front
vestibule has some indifferent quality murals with historical subjects
by Geoffrey Cook, David Hitchcock and R Smith and there is a staircase
of 1913-14 of iron railings with mahagony handrail and blue, tiled
dado. The exceptional feature of the building is the series of mural
paintings carried out in the Assembly Hall between the years 1933 and
1936 by 4 painters connected with the Royal College of Art; Charles
Mahoney, Evelyn Dunbar, Mildred Eldridge and Violet Martin. The hall
is a Perpendicular style building of 5 bays with hammer beam roof and
gallery to east, with 5 wall panels, a mural to the gallery front and
murals under the gallery. The north side west panel depicts "Fortune
and the Boy at the Well" by Charles Mahoney, the north side east panel
depicts "The Country Girl and the Milk Pail" by Evelyn Dunbar, the
south side east panel is entitled "The Bird Catcher and the Skylark"
by Mildred Eldridge (dated 1934) and the south side west panel "The
King and 2 Shepherds" by Violet Martin. The gallery front has murals
by Evelyn Dunbar depicting the Hilly Fields. There are allegorical
figures to left and right, one holding a plan of the school, the other
a plan of Hilly Fields. Boys in contemporary dress return from school
along the railings entwined with plants. Above are 2 figures of boys,
one in rugby clothes, the other as a scholar. The wider gallery
spandrels and lunettes are mainly by Evelyn Dunbar but 3 panels are
by Charles Mahoney, mostly from Aesop's "Fables". The paintings belong
to the Romantic and Narrative School of English painting influenced
by the Pre-Raphaelites. The best known painters of this group were
Stanley Spencer and Eric Ravilious. These murals are considered some
of the most important achievements of C20 mural painting. Such murals
are rare, including these, Whistler's Tate Gallery Refreshment Room
murals of 1926, murals at Morley College, Lambeth of 1929 by Edward
Bawden, Eric Ravilious and Charles Mahoney (some destroyed by bomb
damage) and murals in the village hall at Wood Green Hampshire by
Robert Baker and Edward Payne. The high perspective viewpoint of the
hall panels, raised 6 feet off the ground, is of particular interest.
Also, no work of comparable scale by Evelyn Dunbar exists; Charles
Mahoney's work at Brockley is better than his murals in the Lady
Chapel of Campion Hall and Mildred Eldridge painted only one other
The panel "Fortune and the Boy at the Well" has featured in an
exhibition at the Barbican, "The Last Romantics" in 1989.
[See Alan Power's article on the Brockley murals in "Country Life" 30
This building is listed solely because of the high quality and rarity
of the mural paintings carried out between 1933 and 1936.
Listing NGR: TQ3723475213
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.