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Brockley Primary School (South Block)

A Grade II Listed Building in Old Bolsover, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2519 / 53°15'6"N

Longitude: -1.299 / 1°17'56"W

OS Eastings: 446869

OS Northings: 372996

OS Grid: SK468729

Mapcode National: GBR MZCT.KZ

Mapcode Global: WHDFC.0JQC

Entry Name: Brockley Primary School (South Block)

Listing Date: 15 June 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393324

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506516

Location: Old Bolsover, Bolsover, Derbyshire, S44

County: Derbyshire

District: Bolsover

Civil Parish: Old Bolsover

Built-Up Area: Bolsover

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Bolsover St Mary and St Laurence

Church of England Diocese: Derby

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Listing Text


1261/0/10025 CLOWNE ROAD
15-JUN-09 Shuttlewood
Brockley Primary School (South Block)

Infants School formerly Elementary School, with attached railings, gate piers and gates. 1927 with later minor alterations and additions. Designed by George Widdows, architect to Derbyshire's Education Committee from 1904 and Chief Architect to Derbyshire County Council in 1910-1936.

MATERIALS: Red brick with Welsh slate and plain tile roof coverings.
PLAN: U-shaped open quadrangular plan, with tall central hall and storied entrance bays to site frontage, and rear parallel classroom wings to rear enclosing a courtyard playground area.

EXTERIOR: The front (west) elevation has a tall central 4-bay hall beneath a hipped mansard roof. The hall has 4 full height windows with Upvc 8-pane frames. Flanking the hall is an attached storied entrance and administration areas, each with a full height canted bay windows to the front, and 3 flat-roofed dormer windows to the outer slope of their mansard roof. The doors are set back within flat-roofed single storey offshuts to the side of the storied bays. To the rear of the frontage range are the 2 classroom wings sited on either side of the courtyard playground they enclose. The wings are single-storied and have mansard roofs, each with continuous high-level north-light windows forming one roof slope and with plain tiling to the other slope. The classrooms are set within open verandah corridors which extend on both sides of the classroom wings. The roof slopes extend down to the corridor wall plates which are carried on wooden arcade posts with miniature curved braces to their heads. The posts stand on low padstones and are linked by plain low-level wooden balustrading. Attached to the rear wall of the hall is a verandah corridor which links the inner corridors of the 2 classroom wings.

INTERIOR. The hall has panelling to the lower parts of the walls, and a stage with proscenium arch at the north end with giant pilasters. At the south end, a doorway giving access to staff and administration rooms is flanked by similar pilasters. The shallow-arched ceiling is divided into bays by ribs which extend to wall piers with plain capitals. The classroom wings each contain 4 classrooms of identical form. Each has 8-panel part-glazed partition walls with hopper vents, pairs of panels or doors recessed within a substantial frame. Each classroom has a fitted storage cupboard with drawers below.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES. The street frontage to the school is enclosed by nail-headed railing set on low brick plinth walls with terminal and intermediate square-sectioned brick piers with moulded flat caps. They extend the full length of the school frontage and flank each entrance to the school.

HISTORY: Brockley Primary School (South block) was designed by the architect George H. Widdows (1871-1946) and was completed in 1927. It was one of a large number of new schools built to Widdows' designs by Derbyshire County Council in the early C20. Derbyshire had the greatest percentage increase in population in the country in the 1890s, particularly due to the growth of the coal mining and textile manufacturing communities in the east of the county. Widdows had come to Derbyshire in 1897 as Chief Architectural Assistant to Derby Corporation. Following the 1902 Education Act, responsibility for schools in the county passed to Derbyshire County Council. In 1904 Widdows was appointed architect to the Council's Education Committee. In 1910 he was appointed Chief Architect to the Council, although schools remained his predominant concern. By the time he retired in 1936, he had designed some sixty elementary and seventeen secondary schools.

Widdows was at the forefront of the movement to build schools in which high standards of hygiene were as important as educational provision. The first major conference on school hygiene was held in 1904, and in 1907 the Board of Health brought in legislation which required schools to become subject to regular medical inspections. Widdows worked with his Medical Officer, Sidney Barwise, and two deputy architects, C. A. Edeson and T. Walker, to develop a series of innovative designs introducing high levels of natural daylight and effective cross ventilation in schools. His designs, often in a neo-vernacular style, were characterised by open verandah-style corridors linking classrooms with generous full-height windows. His distinctive and influential plan forms were based on a linear module which could be arranged in different configurations to suit the size of school required and the shape of the available site.

The advances Widdows made in school planning were quickly recognised by his contemporaries. In an article on provincial school building in 1913, The Builder stated that his work 'constitutes a revolution in the planning and arrangement of school buildings... a real advance which places English school architecture without a rival in any European country or the United States.'

G. H. Widdows, 'Derbyshire Elementary Schools: Principles of Planning', paper presented to Royal Sanitary Institute on 25 February 1910, in Royal Sanitary Institute Journal (1910), 92-116.
'The Derbyshire Schools', The Builder, Vol. 105 (31 October 1913), 460-461.
The Builder, Vol. 107 (10 July 1914), 44-45; (17 July 1914), 74-75.
G. H. Widdows, 'School Design', RIBA Journal, Vol. 29, No. 2 (26 November 1921), 33-45.

Brockley Primary School is considered to be of special architectural interest for the following principal reasons:

* It is a notable example of the work of George Widdows, who is nationally acknowledged as a leading designer of schools in the early C20 and an exponent of advanced ideas on school planning and hygiene.
* It is one of the best preserved of Widdows' inter-war schools, in which the original plan form remains clearly legible, having not undergone significant alteration.
* It retains of the notable elements of its original design, including unenclosed verandah corridors, classroom partitions onto the corridors and roof north light glazing. Minor recent alterations and additions have not significantly affected the building's special architectural interest.
* The exterior is of distinctive character and appearance, particularly in respect of the classroom wings and their verandah corridors, arcades and balustrading.
* The interior retains a number of original fixtures and fittings of special interest, including window, door and arcade joinery and, in the central hall, wall panelling, giant pilasters and the school stage and proscenium arch.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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