1860 – St. Giles National Schools, Bloomsbury, London

Architect: Edward Middleton Barry


Sited at the corner of Endell Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, the National Schools were built to cater for 1,500 children. The facilities included a soup kitchen, and an industrial school in the basement. Published in The Builder, December 22 1860.

From The Building News, October 5 1860: “THE works at these new schools are progressing very satisfactorily, from the designs of Edward M. Barry, Esq., architect. The site comprises the north-western corner of Endell-street and Broad-street, and the new structure, when completed, will form a very prominent and decided improvement in this locality. The whole of the works will be executed in brick, stono, and wood.

The basement of the new edifice is planned for cellarage purposes, and this will bring in a distinct yearly revenue. The elevation in Broad-street, is to measure 76 feet, and that in Endell-street, 55 feet 6 inches. The height of the elevation from the curb level to the top of the parapet, will be about 60 feet, and the roof will have a vertical height of 26 feet, making a total altitude of 86 feet from the footpath to the ridge. The chimneys, according to the designs, are highly characteristic.

On the ground floor there is to be an infants’ school, 61 feet by 23 feet, and a class-room 22 feet by 20 feet ; in connexion with which there will be a play-ground, having an area of 32 feet by 24 feet. The communications are to be by spacious corridors 6 feet in width, and on the several floors there will be lavatories and other suitable conveniences.

One peculiar feature of the building, according to the plans, is that there will be a mezzanine story between the upper and lower schools, to be fitted for the residences of the master and mistress of the establishment and a committee-room ; this arrangement having been necessitated by the limited site; and in this case the Commissioners on Education, as we think, very judiciously abandoned their usual regulation — namely, that of having residences on the ground floor, which, of course, may work well in cases where sites are not so valuable as they are in the metropolis.

On the first floor there will be a girls’ school 70 feet long by 30 feet wide, and in connexion with it a class-room 20 feet square. On the second floor is planned a boys’ school of the same dimensions, together with a class-room 30 feet by 20 feet, and a cloak-room 12 feet square. The girls’ entrance is to be in Endell-street, and that for the boys Will be at the rear by a separate staircase.

The new structure will be of the most substantial character, the steps and landings of the staircases being intended to be all of stone, and externally the plain surfaces of the walling will be of malm bricks of picked quality, and the voussoirs of the arched windows of yellow and black bricks alternately, with red bounding bands.

The windows of the first and second floors are to be in two lights, with pointed arch heads, and divided by shafts of grey granite, polished. The roofs will be covered with slates — pale blue and green — laid in alternate courses, and altogether the building, when completed, will be highly characteristic of the peculiar style adopted by the architect and committee.

The heights of the various floors are as under — viz., the basement, 10 feet; groined floor, 16 feet 7 inches. That of the mezzanine, 10 feet 6 inches; the first floor, 19 feet 7 inches; and that of the second, which shows its constructive timbers, is 30 feet in height from the floor to ridge of roof. Messrs. George Mansfield and Son are the contractors for the building, and Mr. W. J. Dale is the clerk of works under the supervision of the architect. “