Archive | Schools RSS for this section

St Nicholas Primary School, Beverly

Notification of plans to demolish a school in Beverly:

Yet another Victorian primary school is being sold to a developer for a quick receipt for the council. Developers who lurk around council asset managers waiting for a bargain tend to be somewhat predatory, and are not the type of people to have the scruples that would see the beauty in such a building.

This is a stunning public building, which is still robust and fit for purpose. The variety of gables and the qoin features on the windows bring so much to the townscape here.

And it looks like a school, unlike new efforts at education facilities, which tend to look like a series of boxes adorned with serviceable landscaping and a few rainbow murals.

School building, Askern, Doncaster

Application to demolish a school building:

The original application to replace this school building with 6 dwellings was approved back in 2019, however it looks like the building has yet to be razed. An application to modify the original proposal has come in, so thought it would be worth covering on the Demolition Register.

A classic red brick school built between 1893 and 1906 that would have made a great residential conversion. I’m always amazed at the ornamentation that the architect would justify during the commissioning of Victorian/Edwardian schools, when working to a strict education board budget. Clearly the stone corbels and looping ridge tiles were worth the investment, if only for the pride they would instill in the children who went there each day.

Ripon Cathedral Choir School

Appication to demolish music institute in Ripon:

Persimon Homes are looking to build out 12 apartments as part of their wider strategic development on this site to deliver 105 dwellings. Originally they had received permission to convert this building.

Although they received permision to build out their houses, I would hazard that the determination may have been predicated on the betterment of the site, following the retention and restoration of this historic building. I question whether or not the permision would have been granted had the demolistion notice been included with the initial planning application.

Thankfully it sounds as though there has been a lot of vocal opposition to the plans, which is well documented in The Stray Ferret. However in my experience the local authority will struggle to justify a refusl, following what has presumably been a protracted process, subsuming hundreds of officer hours.

Bingley Science and Technical School

Plans to demolish Bingley Science and Technical School:


Image result for Bingley Science and Technical School


Bradford Council have been forced to sell this handsome building following an extensive marketing campaign which have proved unsuccessful in finding a new tenant.  Interestingly a covenant attached to the building states it must only be used for local educational purposes. A very noble Victorian ambition indeed, however this clause could be the death knell of the school, as this imposed flexibility precludes a potential conversion to housing.

The Victorians and their institutions, slowly dismantled as civic society is subjected to the bottom line.

Couldn’t the free school movement have snapped this up from the council? I’m sure a peppercorn price could have been negotiated with a community group intent on setting up a free school for the sake of saving the building. This is near Ilkley after all.

St Marys School, Batley

Old School Buildings to be demolished in Batley:

Related image

Image result for st marys school batley building

The school building annexes to a grade II listed church and a  second convent building is also part of the application and appears to be an attractive well ordered house.

An indicative scheme for residential conversion was prepared when marketing the property, so retaining and reusing the buildings is viable, and would offer a much better setting for the listed asset.

The embedded carbon in the buildings must be very high, and it would be a shame to see it all gone to waste as the site is cleared. Sadly this is still not a consideration in planning decisions.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is the mantra attached to the use of plastics. Why not for buildings too?

Wapping School, Bradford

Derelict school to be demolished in Bradford:

Photo: Telegraph and Argus

Although grade II listed, this 1877 building is in ruin and will be demolished to make way for a new college. At this stage it is understandable that the building is beyond salvage, and having become a node for antisocial behaviour, will be cleared. The developer (LIFE Church) has made attempts to salvage some of the stone work and one of the gable ends of the building, but in reality the essence of the Victorian School will be gone.

The building should have never been allowed to fall into this state, and we need to look for innovative solutions for the reuse of our more nuanced Victorian heritage assets. Schools, mills, churches, and pubs are all problematic in re-purposing, yet there are heritage champions out there that need to be facilitated by local authorities to invest and develop such buildings.

The massing promises to reflect the existing building, but this will only result in a pastiche development. This development being an educational facility I imagine a process of value engineering will negate any attempts to be sensitive with building materials. There is no way around it – this is another beautiful Victorian school lost to history.

Clocktower, Lockwood, Huddersfield

Application to demolish the clocktower at the former Mount Pleasant School:

Image result for mount pleasant clock tower lockwood

The school was redeveloped following the demolition of the Victorian school building (the powers that be unable to differentiate between shoddy facilities and dilapidated interior, and an important robust vernacular building).

Yet Kirklees have slyly slipped this application in a few days before Christmas. No one will notice that right? Yes, absolutely we will notice.

The tower was initially thought to be saved after a hard fought campaign. However the building was rejected from listing status due to the incomplete nature of the site, however historic England recommended a local listing. I doubt such a mechanism actually exists in Lockwood.

Old Westgate Redoubt building, Snapethorpe

Plans by the council to demolish an outbuilding of Snapethorpe Primary School:

Snapethorpe Primary school.JPG

Forgive the terrible photo from Google Earth’s Streetview archives circa 2012.

Some local objection to this proposal that coherently cites the councils own policy:

Death, Taxes, and local authorities not adhering to their own policies are the only certainties in life.

A handsome building that will be a loss to the visual fabric of the area. Not worthy of listing, never the less it is the kind of building I dream of inheriting from a long lost uncle and spending the rest of my life as custodian.

Incidentally, the argument that a building has to be demolished because it has been “regularly targeted by vandals and trespasser’s” is an old and hackneyed cliche in the planning consultant’s armory. Misdemeanors do not necessitate flattening the site and starting over.

Christ Church Primary Academy

Demolition of a school building in Shipley:

Old school building Shipley.JPG

Demolition does not require full planning permission, but rather a demolition notice, so this has been progressed with alacrity.

A nice looking building that looks to be in good condition, but as the officers report suggests, way off English Heritage’s radar.

The centralized position on the site would make any redevelopment difficult should someone want to capitalise on the full footprint, and as such there was no chance conservation would have been contemplated.

The rest of the school will presumably stay open.

At this point, as the people tell me I am an overly zealous heritage obsessive, I remind them that this type of building can NEVER be built again.

Former Mechanics Institute, Keighley

Another loss to the town centre fabric of Keighley:

Currently used as part of Leeds College, the building is to be levelled to form a car park.


keighley mech institute.jpg

Mechanics institutes are a mysterious thing of the past. You see the words embossed in stone on a building now occupied by Weatherspoons, somewhere in most industrial northern towns.

Nothing embodies the civic aspiration of the Victorians more than these institutions, and for that reason alone they are culturally indispensable. Rome had the agora, the Victorians had mechanics institutes.

We simply can not knock these temples down. Even the heritage statement (which was commissioned to support the demolition of this building) agrees.

Keighley loses beautiful buildings often. Warehouse shaped piles of rubble are found throughout. It is a town that struggles with identity, but until now has somehow retained a town centre that is a lot grander than its contemporary economic situation would attest.

The fact that at some point we were willing to develop diminutive small towns to the aesthetic standards of classical cities says a lot about our erstwhile civic pride.

We can’t let the last vestiges of local history in towns like Keighley be torn down for car parking space. Half of the original building was lost to fire some time ago. It was lucky the other half survived until now. Bradford council, please intercede.