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Description: 31 Old Penny School House, 31a and 31b
Date Listed: 14 September 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 293986
OS Grid Reference: TQ8062209428
OS Grid Coordinates: 580622, 109428
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8562, 0.5649
757/22/412 MAGDALEN ROAD
14-SEP-76 (North side)
31 Old Penny School House, 31A AND 31B
(Formerly listed as:
No 31 and Premises of Air Training Corps)
(Formerly listed as:
No 31 (Old Penny School House))
Also Known As: 19, 20, 21, 22, ST JOHN'S ROAD
Former National School and attached school mistress' house, later known locally as the Penny School. Dated 1855, by S S Teulon, in Gothic Revival manner.
MATERIALS: Red brick, above a stone ground floor, enhanced with polychrome brick in flush diagonal bands, in pronounced tumbling on the gables and external stacks and over the doors and windows. Other dressings are of stone, while roofs are of red tile, some in plain tile, some with bands of fishscale tiles.
PLAN: The school and school house comprise an asymmetrical group. The buildings are L-shaped in plan and set into the hill with the two- and three-storey schoolhouse to the south and school rooms to the north; the main elevation faces Magdalen Road. The school comprised two main schoolrooms with smaller classrooms leading off them; the Boys' School occupied the wing lit by the large window in the gable facing Magdalen Road, the Girls' School, the two-window range facing Magdalen Road. At the rear the buildings were laid out round the former playground.
EXTERIOR: Magdalen Road. The school mistress' house (The Old Penny School House, 31 Magdalen Road) is marked by a prominent gabled bay which is set forward, and has a two-storey painted stone oriel window, which carries shields and a worn inscription: 'St Mary Magdalen..........School'. The ground floor window is of three mullion and transom lights, the first floor a canted bay. Above it is a blind trefoil panel. The main entrance, with a pointed arched head, is set under a pitched-roofed, buttressed porch attached to the south-east corner. To the right is a two-light mullion and transom window with cusped lights. At basement level the window looks out onto an enclosed area, formerly the services and coal store.
The entrance to the former girls' school (31A Magdalen Road) is similar to that to the school mistress' house. The former girls' school was lit by a pair of flush, gabled two-light traceried windows. Doors and windows have overlights or upper panels with a circular light, rendered or painted quoins and are enriched with polychromy. Doors are vertically boarded. The larger northern gabled wing which housed the boys' school is set forward, enclosing to the left a pitched roofed porch and entrance (31B Magdalen Road). The window has slender moulded, timber mullions and transoms. Beneath it, the foundation stone, dated 16 December 1855, describes the purpose of the school 'to promote the Glory of God by educating the children of the poor' in accordance with the Church of England, 'in connexion (sic) with the church of St Mary Magdalen'. Internal stacks, set below the ridge, rise from the inner angles of the gabled bays.
The northern elevation of the school echoes Magdalen Road, in an asymmetrical arrangement of gabled wings either side of the main range which has a prominent external stack. Windows are again stone moulded lights with cusped heads.
A second entrance leads into the school mistress' house on the south gable wall, at lower level. It has a chamfered stone doorcase behind a porch and a vertically boarded door. The oriel window on the south elevation has been replaced with a smaller canted window, while the brickwork surrounding it has been replaced in a harsh red brick. At the rear is a shallow gabled wing with a half-hipped roof. An external stack is set at an angle against the gable, and has a deep chamfer on the angle. Although some windows, particularly at the rear, have been replaced, most are of stone with cusped heads and have cast iron casements with diagonal quarries.
The rear elevations of the school are accentuated by a series of three-light first floor windows with cusped heads, and some with stone transoms. Windows are mostly plain metal casements. The formerly open, ground floor arcades, with chamfered revels and polychrome arched heads, were enclosed to create windows when the school was converted. A series of three-light dormers were also inserted into the south and west facing roofs.
INTERIOR: The former school mistress' house (31 Magdalen Rd) has a splat baluster stair with a flat moulded rail, which rises from the basement to the first floor. Many architraves are chamfered and doors and window linings are similarly panelled. The largest room at basement level of the school house (originally the scullery) has a hearth of diagonally set bricks, and a chimneypiece which has been added more recently. There is a similar hearth in the equivalent basement room in 31A Magdalen Road, originally the kitchen, which was connected to the scullery by a doorway which is now infilled. Windows have deep chamfered reveals, some with moulded shafts, and some with tile cills. The former schoolrooms have been subdivided and stairs inserted, but retain stone chimneypieces, while windows have chamfered rear arches and tile cills. Roofs, where visible in the former girls' school are scissor-braced. Heavy stone bosses in the rear range support the moulded arched braces of a substantial timber roof which is hidden above an inserted attic floor.
HISTORY: this former National School and attached school mistress' house, later known locally as the Penny School, were designed by S S Teulon and dated 1855. The foundation stone celebrates the erection of the school by the parish church of St Mary Magdalen to promote the Glory of God by educating the children of the poor. The school house bears the inscription 'Saint Mary Magdalen National School'. Teulon's drawings, which closely resemble the completed building, describe the school house as the Mistress' House.
National schools developed rapidly after the Church of England's National Society for Promoting Religious Education was set up in 1811. While many were small single cell structures, such as the Grade II listed school at Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks (1844), some had two classrooms and provided accommodation for the school master or mistress, allowing greater architectural pretension, seen for example in the schools at Horton (1860) and Marshfield (1861) in Gloucestershire and both listed Grade II.
S S Teulon (1812-1873) was a well-known and active church architect who worked primarily for low-church clients. His work was often made striking by the use of structural polychromy and exotic architectural details. Churches of note include St Mary's, Ealing (1863-4) listed Grade II* and St Stephen's, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead (1869-71), listed Grade I. Private houses included Elvetham Hall, Hampshire of 1859-62 (Grade II*) and associated buildings. In 1859, at Netherfield, Battle, East Sussex, and close to St Leonards, he designed the church (Grade II*), rectory (Grade II) and school and schoolmaster's house (Grade II).
S S Teulon plans and drawings, St Leonards, St Mary Magdalene (sic) National School, BPG /55/1-7 (Aug 1855), East Sussex Record Office
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
This former National School and school mistress' house, dated 1855, by S S Teulon (1812-1873) is listed for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: dated school and attached schoolhouse by S S Teulon, where the strong massing and use of polychromy are typical of the architect;
* Plan: attached school rooms and schoolhouse set prominently on a corner site, on a hill; although converted to houses, the plan of the school rooms is legible and compares with the original drawings;
* Material and fittings: good quality polychromatic brick, moulded stonework and carpentry; doors and windows retain catches and fittings;
* Historic interest: National School endowed by the parish, and later known as the Penny School, reflecting the cost of weekly tuition; survival of Teulon's drawings with which the existing building closely compares.
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.