1874 – Middle Class Schools for the Grocers Company, Hackney, London

Architect: Thomas Harris


One of the shortlisted designs for a new school for the Grocers Company. As part of the Company’s work, a school was founded in Hackney, east London, in 1876 for the sons of middle class gentlemen. The school designed by Theophilus Allen, was later handed over to the London County Council and changed its name to Hackney Downs School; it closed in 1995.

“In this design, an elevation of which we give, with plan, the author has proposed the lecture-theatre to serve also the purpose of a dining-hall. The fall of the ground has been taken advantage of by forming an arcaded basement under the classrooms as a playground. The upper three stories have been appropriated to the classrooms, and these are approached from the boys’ entrance through the hat and coat-room. North lighting is obtained for the classrooms. Fifteen classrooms are provided, each l8ft. in height, and are separated from each other by solid walls. In the seating the author has adopted the complete isolation of each scholar, and the desk known as Colman and Glendinning’s “Collegiate School Desk.” The avenues are transversely placed, not in the direction of the room, so that five, instead of three, rows deep may be obtained. Lavatories are placed in the rear of the staircase on the ground and first floors. The kitchen and other offices are located under the dining-hall, which latter is on the highest level to the east, and has a distinct entrance. The materials proposed were hard stock bricks for walls, with facings of red bricks, and Bath stone dressings. The author is Mr. Thomas Harris, architect, Holborn, and the estimate, cubed at Gd. per foot, came out under £12,000.”