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Assembly Hall and Reception, Gordon's School

A Grade II Listed Building in West End, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.3432 / 51°20'35"N

Longitude: -0.6462 / 0°38'46"W

OS Eastings: 494391

OS Northings: 161324

OS Grid: SU943613

Mapcode National: GBR FB2.RFZ

Mapcode Global: VHFV0.RH8P

Entry Name: Assembly Hall and Reception, Gordon's School

Listing Date: 29 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424598

Location: West End, Surrey Heath, Surrey, GU24

County: Surrey

District: Surrey Heath

Civil Parish: West End

Built-Up Area: Woking

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Bisley and West End

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

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Assembly hall and offices, completed in 1887. Designed by William Butterfield in Gothic Revival style.


Assembly Hall and offices, completed in 1887. Designed by William Butterfield in Gothic Revival style. C20 additions are not of special interest.

MATERIALS: mainly red brick in Flemish bond with some black brick decoration and stone dressings. The roof is tiled with two brick and stone chimneystacks clasping the ridge.

PLAN: a two-bay, single-storey Assembly Hall and offices over two storeys.

EXTERIOR: the principal front faces south overlooking the playing fields. It comprises two large gables each with a giant five bay, two tier Caernarvon-arched window within pointed stone arches, with chequer-work brick and stone decoration to the tympanums, a series of stone bands and cross-shaped saddlestones. Between is a projecting porch with similar saddle-stone and chequer-work details to the gable, and a cambered arched doorcase within a four-centred arch with a C20 double door.

The north side facing the parade ground has two similar gables with stone saddle-stones and bands but with three-light Caernarvon-arched windows on the first floor, and slightly-projecting two-light Caernarvon-arched windows on the ground floor. The ground floor windows are flanked by single-light Caernarvon-arched windows and doorcases with C20 panelled doors. The central single-storey projecting central part is a C20 addition, as are the single-storey brown brick additions on to the sides of the gables. The side elevations have gables with chequer-work details and some Caernarvon-arched windows; the west side has a further C20 addition.

INTERIOR: the assembly hall is of two bays with a giant arch dividing the bays and a boarded roof. The north wall has a central slate and marble tablet commemorating the life and achievements of General Gordon, flanked by wooden memorials to two founders, General Higginson and General Sir Dighton Probyn.


Gordon's School was originally 'The Gordon Boys' Home', which was built as the National Memorial to General Charles George Gordon CB, killed at the siege of Khartoum, Sudan in 1885. The aim was to teach under-privileged boys between the ages of 13 and 17 practical trades to set them up for a 'life of usefulness', either within civil employment or in any branch of the armed forces. The appeal for funds to build a permanent home at West End, near Woking, was headed by Queen Victoria and other members of the Royal Family with contributions from foreign royalty, the diplomatic service, army, navy and numerous individuals.

The first temporary home was made available by the War Office and set up in 1885 at Fort Wallington near Fareham but the boys moved into their permanent home on 14th December 1887. The home became 'The Gordon Boys' School' in 1943 and the name was changed to 'Gordon's School' in 1990 when it became a co-educational state school for full, weekly and day boarders.

The Assembly Hall and Reception building was completed in 1887, designed by William Butterfield, and it is the central building on the south side of the rectangular parade ground.

Reasons for Listing

The Assembly Hall and Reception building at Gordon's School, an 1887 brick and stone building in Gothic Revival style designed by William Butterfield, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a handsome well articulated principal front with gables, giant arches and chequer-work brick and stone decoration here and on the side elevations;
* Interior: the assembly hall retains its roof structure and memorial tablets, including one commemorating the life and achievement of General Gordon, in whose memory the institution was founded;
* Degree of intactness: despite some C20 additions this is the least altered of Butterfield's 1887 buildings;
* Rarity: this is a rare type of school, designed to teach under-privileged children useful trades, and the only one built as a national memorial to General Gordon;
* Group value: with other listed buildings and structures at the school.

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