The former junior school of Dixon Road School, a Birmingham Board School constructed to a design by Martin and Chamberlain in 1879.
Reason for Listing
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
* Architect: a handsome junior school by Martin and Chamberlain, one of the leading architectural practices in late-Victorian Birmingham
* Historical: the former Dixon Road School is one of the earliest of twenty-six surviving schools built by the Birmingham School Board, which together form one of the most important groups of board schools in the country
* Intactness: the original junior school building remains largely as built, with the street frontage unimpaired by later additions; the original plan is still legible internally, whilst some original features remain
* Group value: with the associated former infant school (qv) standing directly to west, with which it has strong visual links
The Birmingham School Board was brought into being by the Elementary Education Act of 1870; the Act, which empowered school boards to create new schools and pay the fees of the poorest children, was largely the result of campaigning by the Birmingham-centred National Education League. By 1902, when the Education Act abolished school boards and passed the responsibility for education to local authorities, the Birmingham School Board had built fifty-two new schools, as well as the Board's offices. All but four of these schools were designed by the architectural practice Martin and Chamberlain - from 1900 Martin and Martin - appointed Architect to the Board in 1870.
John Henry Chamberlain (1831-83) and William Martin (1828-1900) formed the practice Martin and Chamberlain in 1864. Following Chamberlain's death, Martin was joined by his son, Frederick William Martin (1859-1917), and the practice continued under the same name until the death of William Martin when it was renamed Martin and Martin. The board schools operated as focal points within each district, serving as symbols of municipal pride and civic achievement; Martin and Chamberlain created a house style for their schools, which were characterised by their red-brick construction, tall ventilation towers, proliferation of gables, and decorative use of tiles and terracotta, sometimes displaying naturalistic forms. Chamberlain believed that beautiful and well-planned school architecture might offer children some compensation for drab, cramped homes, and in 1894 the Pall Mall Gazette commented that, `In Birmingham you may generally recognise a Board School by its being the best building in the neighbourhood... with lofty towers which serve the utilitarian purpose of giving excellent ventilation, gabled windows, warm red bricks and stained glass, the best of the Birmingham Board Schools have quite an artistic finish'.
J. H. Chamberlain, the leading creative force within Martin and Chamberlain, was profoundly influenced by Ruskin and his promotion of Venetian Gothic; Chamberlain played a unique role in defining Birmingham's civic architecture during the 1860s and 1870s, helping give shape to the city's celebrated movement of social and artistic improvement. He designed a number of other important public buildings, including libraries, baths, and hospitals, but in setting the style for the board schools he made an especially significant and lasting contribution to Birmingham's built environment.
Dixon Road School opened in 1879, providing places for 977 boys, girls and infants; a separate infant school with attached master's or caretaker's house stands immediately to west. The road bordering the schools to east was previously nameless, and the road and schools were named in honour of George Dixon, the Liberal politician and educational reformer who, as president of the National Education League, had been influential in the establishment of the school boards; Dixon was chairman of the Birmingham Board from 1876. The main Dixon Road school building was given significant extensions during the 1890s, and the early C20. The building was still in use as a school in 1961. In 2010 the building underwent renovation and some alteration, prior to re-opening as the Hazrat Khadijatul Kubra Girls School and Madrasah. The name of the school honours Khadija, wife of the prophet Muhammad, and the first woman to embrace Islam.
School, 1879, built by Martin and Chamberlain, for the Birmingham School Board. Alterations and extensions c.1894, 1911, and 1931, with a late-C20 addition to north-east. Of red brick, with tiled roofs with decorative ridge tiles, and brick stack. Dressings are of cut brick, and stone, with some terracotta details. The majority of the timber windows in the older parts of the building appear to be original. The building fronts Cooksey Road, with a ventilation and stair tower rising at the west end. The principal extensions lie to the south-east end of the building.
The building is two storeys high, with attic. The street frontage of the original range is of five bays, each bay containing paired rectangular windows, the upper windows being shorter. Windows with cambered heads are set within recesses of beaded brick, with gauged brick lintels and stone sills. The windows rest on raised brick bands, whilst a third band runs above the ground-floor windows. A billet moulding runs beneath the gable eaves. Towards the west of the range, the roof is broken by two dormer windows, with half-timbered gables. The shaft of the tower has two narrow windows with small quatrefoil openings above to south-west; to north-west, paired arched openings with hood moulds. Chamfered corners rise towards the top of the tower; angle buttresses with gablets terminate in a 'belfry' with wooden louvres framed by ringed columns with leaf bases and capitals. At the apex, a gable, with quatrefoil; above it, an iron finial. A lower gabled bay sits below the tower. The two-storey rear face of this principal range is divided into four gabled sections, each containing three or four windows surmounted by gables; the central two gables hold a form of Diocletian window. There has been considerable alteration to this frontage, with windows having been adapted to provide door openings. On the south-east frontage, the end of the original school has a late-C19 addition with angled gables and irregular fenestration; to right, gabled additions of the late C19 and early C20, with the later C20 flat-roofed extension to far right. At the centre of this elevation, a sign board.
The interior has been considerably altered in the C20 and early C21, though the internal plan is still legible, and some notable features survive. The ground and first floors each contain a hall to the front of the building, from which classrooms opened to rear and sides. The first-floor hall has a hammerbeam roof with arched braces and pierced sexfoils to the spandrels; the space beneath the roof is divided by low C21 timber partitions. The ground-floor hall has a vaulted fireproof ceiling and boarded dado panelling with moulded rails. A number of the original classrooms have been subdivided. On the ground floor, the openings between hall and outer rooms take the form of wide pointed arches, some of which contain original doors with chamfered rails and muntins, within glazed surrounds.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.