The former Beaufoy Institute, Black Prince Road, London SE11

From Historic England entry:

“Former boys technical college. 1907 by F. A. Powell. A two storey building of red brick with terracotta dressings which faces on to Black Prince Road. The most elaborate part of the main façade is the central projecting section. It has two side bays with quoins to the first floor, whose shaped gables break through the eaves. Beneath a floral swag frieze with the name of the school in Art Nouveau style lettering, is a wide round-arched entrance. Flanking the central section are two roughly three bay sections; that to the left has new windows, possibly contemporary with the 1920s/30s extension; that to the right has a nine light staircase window, with a lunette window beneath, with mullion and transom windows in the end two bays. The left section also has a relief panel moved from the original 1850s building with an image of a teacher and two pupils, beneath which is a plaque celebrating the laying of the foundation stone of the 1907 building, and the inscription for the panel. The inscription on the relief panel reads, ‘Those that do teach our babes/Do it with gentle means and easy tasks’. To the left is a three storey 1920s/30s extension which is not listed. A first floor band and an entablature at eaves level, both in terracotta, run the length of the façade. The slate roof is fairly high pitched, with a bell cupola on the ridge of main hall.

INTERIOR: There is a large double-height central hall on the ground floor, with exposed arched brace trusses supported by scroll like corbels, with a decorative plaster ceiling. Floral swag designs adorn the friezes and pilasters surrounding the large arched three part end window, and the front five bay gallery, previously open but now glazed. There is a corridor on either side of the hall, with two large classrooms beyond. The south west classroom has exposed collar braces, with a wooden boarded ceiling.

At the front of the building, a small office is situated to either side of the entrance, with the staircase to the west. The entrance hall has a chequer board marble floor, green and brown glazed tiles to dado level, with pilasters and decorative frieze and dentil cornice above. The staircase is unusual in being constructed of brown glazed tiles with a moulded terracotta handrail. At the rear is the three storey caretaker’s house.

There are two large classrooms on the first floor, with a smaller subdivided room at the front. The basement houses the girls and boys toilets, and two rooms which were previously used as the large and small workshops. The boys toilets are distinctive in retaining their brown glazed ceramic urinals. The most striking feature of the building’s interior is the extensive brown glazed tiling which runs to dado level through the corridors and classrooms, with cream tiling above in the WCs. Research has suggested that these are ‘Cockrill-Doulton Patent Tiles’, invented by J. C. Cockrill, borough engineer for Great Yarmouth, and patented along with Doulton ceramics. The system involved ‘laying a course of tiles on each face of the wall, and filling the intermediate space with soft concrete, the weight of which on the horizontal flange keeps the tile in a vertical position. This operation is repeated course by course’. The stated benefits of the new method were that it was cheaper and provided a smoother surface than that produced by glazed bricks. The Beaufoy Institute appears to be the only surviving example of this technology, although it seems to have had limited application, suggesting it was not successful or influential. It is thought that the terracotta dressings on the façade and the ceramic urinals and tiled stairs with moulded terracotta handrail are probably also Doulton.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s