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The Simmons Memorial Library

A Grade II Listed Building in West End, Surrey

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.343 / 51°20'34"N

Longitude: -0.6474 / 0°38'50"W

OS Eastings: 494309

OS Northings: 161306

OS Grid: SU943613

Mapcode National: GBR FB2.R58

Mapcode Global: VHFV0.QHMS

Entry Name: The Simmons Memorial Library

Listing Date: 29 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424606

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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Summary

School library. Arts and Crafts style building of 1908, erected by the Royal Engineers in memory of Field Marshal Sir J Lintorn A Simmons, Chairman of the Gordon Boys' Home between 1892 and 1903. The library was extended in 1912 and was refurbished in 1990.

Description

School library. Arts and Crafts style building of 1908, erected by the Royal Engineers in memory of Field Marshal Sir J Lintorn A Simmons, Chairman of the Gordon Boys' Home between 1892 and 1903. The library was extended in 1912 and was refurbished in 1990.

MATERIALS: brick in English bond with Portland stone dressings, also a tiled roof with a partly copper and partly wooden cupola. The windows have leaded lights.

PLAN: single storey, originally three bays with a central porch, extended to five bays in 1912.

EXTERIOR: the roof of the central bay has an octagonal copper cupola with an ogee dome with a finial and wooden ventilation louvre. Below, on the north-east or entrance front, is a projecting stone porch with a curved pediment - the cornice inscribed with the name of the building - engaged Tuscan columns and a round-headed entrance with a keystone and double panelled door. The two bays on each side have three-light mullioned and transomed casements with curved pediments, which alternately bear emblems of the Gordon Boys' Home and the Royal Engineers and are divided by brick and stone buttresses. The south-west side is similar but without a porch. The ends have gables with kneelers, ball finials to the apex and three horizontal stone bands. Each has a four-light mullioned and transomed square bay.

INTERIOR: inside a five bay wooden arch-braced roof and a ceramic wall plaque listing the achievements and offices of Field Marshal Simmons.

History

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 from the age of 13 to 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 Simmons Library was erected by the Corps of the Royal Engineers as a memorial to Field Marshal, Sir J Lintorn A Simmons (1821-1903) who knew General Gordon and was Chairman of the Gordon Boys' Home between 1892 and 1903. The library was opened in 1908 and was originally of three bays. However it was soon found to be too small and it was extended in 1912 by a further bay at each end with a stage on one side. The building is shown on the 1915 25 inch Ordnance Survey map with its present footprint. The building was refurbished in 1990.

Reasons for Listing

The Simmons Memorial Library, built by the Royal Engineers between 1908 and 1912, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a good quality Arts and Crafts style library in English bond brickwork with Portland stone dressings and copper cupola;
* Intactness: although extended in 1912 this was in matching materials and style to the 1908 fabric;
* Historic interest: built as a memorial to Field Marshal Sir Lintorn Simmons, a friend of General Gordon, Colonel Commander of the Royal Engineers and Chairman of the Gordon Boys' Home between 1892 and 1903;
* Group value: with other listed buildings and structures at the school.

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