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Latitude: 52.0627 / 52°3'45"N
Longitude: -0.8078 / 0°48'28"W
OS Eastings: 481829
OS Northings: 241156
OS Grid: SP818411
Mapcode National: GBR CZV.LLZ
Mapcode Global: VHDSZ.YFB1
Entry Name: Former St Georges Institute and Sunday School (Madcap)
Listing Date: 4 November 2005
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1392922
English Heritage Legacy ID: 493227
Location: Wolverton and Greenleys, Milton Keynes, MK12
County: Milton Keynes
Civil Parish: Wolverton and Greenleys
Built-Up Area: Milton Keynes
Traditional County: Buckinghamshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire
Church of England Parish: Wolverton St George the Martyr
Church of England Diocese: Oxford
891/0/10037 CREED STREET
04-NOV-05 Former St George's Institute and Sunday
BUILDING: philanthropic institute and Sunday School (now Arts Centre); built 1908, extended 1910.
ARCHITECT: Charles Marriott Oldrid Scott. 1910 extension by draughtsman at Wolverton Carriage Works.
MATERIALS: Purple stock brick, English bond with red brick dressings, painted wood eaves, plain red tile roofs.
PLAN: Rectangular, with wing to rear right and stair tower to rear left.
FAÇADE: Of two storeys with part-basement. Principal elevation of two storeys and ten bays faces Creed Street. Slightly raised red brick pilasters mark the corners, end bays, and two-bay divisions across the centre. Main door in left-hand end bay at first floor level approached by concrete steps with iron handrail and wrought iron lamp standard to outer angle of first-floor landing. Double leaf panelled door, with relief plaque above of St. George with inscription FOR GOD HIS CHURCH. Ground floor entrance to third bay from right with red brick detailing to surround. Tall, timber, mullion and transom windows withy leaded panes to ground and first floors. Giant thermae window to left (south) gable with four-light mullion and transom window below. Blind thermae window to north gable with narrow timber windows. Deep eaves.
INTERIORS: First-floor auditorium with original proscenium arch to stage. Steel and timber truss roof. Green room with original chimney piece. Ground floor rooms lightly modernized but little if any change to original layout.
HISTORY: From 1826 the new railway companies began to establish their own works for servicing locomotives and rolling stock. Almost always these were sites that were almost, or entirely virgin, away from towns: at Shildon, Crewe, Swindon, and Wolverton. If men were to be attracted to these works, and retained, good quality accommodation was needed, and thus companies erected towns alongside them. At Crewe, for instance, a salaried architect was employed for eight years laying out all aspects of the grid-plan town, and although no architect is associated with Wolverton something similar presumably happened there; both places, after all, were created by the same company.
Wolverton began to grow close to an existing canalside village after the London and Birmingham Railway (incorporated in the London and North Western Railway in 1846) established its works here in 1838, at a midway point between the two cities where engines could conveniently be changed. Locomotives were made here until 1861; thereafter carriage building largely took its place. In 1886 the works covered 37 acres and employed 2,000; by 1907 both figures had more than doubled, staying at these levels until the early 1960s. In 1986 the workforce was reduced to under 1,000. Today the works are largely vacant and some demolition has already taken place. Wolverton was incorporated in the new town of Milton Keynes in 1967, and although the town has retained its individual identity there has been some substantial redevelopment.
The Institute and Sunday School is of 1908, and was designed by Charles Marriott Oldrid Scott (1880-1952) who worked in his father's practice of J. Oldrid Scott & Son, of 8 Dean's Yard, Westminster and who here and elsewhere was well-connected with leading metropolitan architects. In 1910 it was extended to a design by George Vicars, a draughtsman at Wolverton's Carriage Works. Minor late C20 alterations. Now used as an arts centre.
Such institutes multiplied in the years around 1900, a product of the philanthropic muscular Christianity (cf. the relief of St. George above the Institute's front door) which was influential between the 1860s and the First World War (Girouard 1981, cap. 16). Thus the Institute also reflects the tradition of care for the town's working folk which was prevalent throughout Wolverton's history.
The Institute of 1908 is an handsome building - restrained, slightly austere in a knowing and clever way, in which a restrained palette of materials is used in subtle ways - which makes an important contribution to the town and to its Conservation Area. It is a scholarly and well-tutored building by a leading London practice with family links to Buckinghamshire. It stands alongside and forms a group with the mid C19 St. George's church (listed grade II*) and its former vicarage (now The Cedars, listed grade II) yet stands apart from them in its adoption of a simpler, pre-Palladian, influences, notably in the row of first-floor windows. It well merits adding to the list at grade II.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The former St George's Institute and Sunday School is a pleasingly austere yet handsome building of 1908 which makes an important contribution to Wolverton's Conservation area. Designed by a leading London practice it forms a group with St George's church and its former vicarage, both already listed.
SOURCES: J. Simmons, The Victorian Railway (1995); N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (2000); M. Girouard, The Return to Camelot (1981)
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