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Gordon's School Chapel

A Grade II Listed Building in West End, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.3427 / 51°20'33"N

Longitude: -0.647 / 0°38'49"W

OS Eastings: 494332

OS Northings: 161271

OS Grid: SU943612

Mapcode National: GBR FB2.R7L

Mapcode Global: VHFV0.QJS1

Entry Name: Gordon's School Chapel

Listing Date: 29 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424603

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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School chapel. 1894 memorial chapel built in memory of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, eldest son of Edward Prince of Wales. Designed by William Butterfield in Early English Gothic style.


School chapel. 1894 memorial chapel built in memory of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, eldest son of Edward Prince of Wales. Designed by William Butterfield in Early English Gothic style.

MATERIALS: red brick in Flemish bond with stone dressings. The roof is tiled roof with a shingled spirelet.

PLAN: a four bay nave with a higher in-line two bay chancel, north and south transepts, a south porch and a north vestry.

EXTERIOR: the west end is gabled with a triple lancet window. The north and south sides have a brick dogtooth cornice. The nave has paired lancet windows with stone heads and window cills, divided by brick buttresses. The projecting gabled transepts have triple lancet windows. The south side has a gabled porch with a cross-shaped saddlestone at the apex and a pointed arch. The chancel has a lancet window on each side and the north side has a flat-roofed vestry. The east end is gabled with a cross-shaped saddlestone and a triple arched window with a dedication stone below.

INTERIOR: the walls are of polychrome brickwork and the roof is arch-braced with two tiers of purlins. The nave retains oak pews and an oak octagonal-shaped pulpit with partly pierced panels. The north wall has a stone wall memorial commemorating former boys of the Gordon Boys' Home who gave their lives in the Great War. Further along the wall is a Roll of Honour for boys who gave their lives during the Second World War. There is a large stone chancel arch and the chancel is approached up two white marble steps. There is a tessellated floor, oak panelling and oak choir stalls. Most windows have late C19 or early C20 stained glass.


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.

Originally the Gordon Boys' Home did not have a chapel and the local church at West End was used. However when the Prince of Wales's eldest son, Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale died tragically in 1892, Queen Victoria decided to build a chapel in the grounds of the Home and dedicate it to her grandson, who had helped to raise funds for its foundation. The chapel was designed by William Butterfield (1814-1900) who had designed the other original school buildings. The dedication tablet on the external east wall reads 'Dedicated to the Glory of God in memory of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence KG. Presented to the Gordon Boys' Home for the uses of the Church of England 1894.' The building appears on the 1896 25 inch Ordnance Survey map with its present footprint.

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.

Reasons for Listing

Gordon's School Chapel, an 1894 chapel designed by William Butterfield in Early English Style is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a competent cruciform brick chapel by a major architect with an arch-braced roof and polychrome brick internal walls;
* Internal fixtures and fittings: includes late C19 and early C20 stained glass, original oak joinery, marble steps and a tessellated floor to the chancel;
* Intactness: both the exterior and interior survive intact;
* Historic interest: built as the memorial chapel to the Duke of Clarence, Queen Victoria's eldest grand son, who helped to raise funds for Gordon Boys' Home. Two memorial wall tablets commemorate former boys who gave their lives in the two world wars;
* Group value: with other listed buildings and structures at the school.

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