A bit of Edwardian baroque

The reason for a reduction in posts is down to me taking up a new full-time job.

After exactly a year ‘on sabbatical’ / ‘taking a career break’ / ‘recovering from burn-out’ / ‘sampling early retirement’ etc. etc. I decided I’d return to the reassuringly predictable routine of working life. It would seem that, after all, at heart I’m more a creature of habit than I’d realised.

However, I decided not to return to school leadership, but instead take a sideways step into school business management, which is actually a lot more interesting than the name sounds, for one thing I get to look after this beauty…

…located in the Hampstead Conservation Area. It’s a classic Edwardian triple-decker on a steeply graded site designed c.1906 by TJ Bailey and the LCC Architect’s Department, Schools Branch.

Heritage England describe it in rather magnificent technical language as:

…red brick; front of yellow brick with red brick pilasters and dressings. Gabled old tile roof with stone capped brick stacks. Edwardian Baroque style. Four double height stories, 4-window range central block flanked by projecting wings of eight stories and attics with two-bay facades. Two semicircular arched entries to centre, with triple keystones, divided by pilaster with scrolled pediment over stone plaque. Central block has brick pilasters with stone triglyph friezes from second floor level to segmental-arched stone frieze beneath moulded stone cornice; tall brick parapet. Red brick flat arches to transom and mullion windows with small panes. Projecting wings have square-headed doorways set in wide stone architraves with bracketed flat hoods. Red brick flat arches to paired four-pane sashes set between brick pilasters with stone triglyph capitals carrying semicircular arches of Flemish gables with carved stone coping and carved stone oeil-de-boeuf windows. Red brick rear elevation with grouped windows having small panes to centre, the top floor with pediments. Projecting wings have brick pilasters with stone triglyph capitals at angles supporting ashlar piers with shaped cornices flanking large segmental-arched Ipswich windows with tall alternating red brick and stone voussoirs and carved Baroque-style keystones; hipped roofs with segmental dormers and tall finials….

It’s an honour (and a huge pleasure) to be involved in trying, on a limited budget, to secure this stunning building’s future and keep it running as a successful, vibrant community primary school.

ps. rather wonderfully (particularly for someone like me who’s interested in London’s hidden rivers) there are a series of cellars beneath the main building collectively called ‘The Fleet’. Behind a bolted door at the bottom of two steep flights of stone steps is a large vaulted stone & brick conduit running with up to 4 feet of water! I’m going to be looking into whether this is indeed one of the numerous channelled headwaters of the ‘lost’ River Fleet, or whether, more prosaically, it’s a disused water system coming from what was once the Hampstead Hospital which was located just behind the school.

Interesting times ahead…

Oh yes, and between home life and work life, the painting & boating blogs, the poetry writing & occasional book review will continue… though perhaps posts will be a little more irregular than they have been over the last year.

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