Lambeth Cyclists architecture ride report: 2 October 2010 Board schools

“Look at those big, isolated clumps of buildings rising above the slates, like brick islands in a lead-coloured sea… Lighthouses, my boy! Beacons of the future! Capsules, with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wiser, better England of the future.”

Sherlock Holmes’ words suggest the great visual impact the new buildings of the School Board for London had on the cityscape between 1873 and 1904.

This ambitious programme produced buildings that still dominate the skyline of London’s inner suburbs, with their instantly recognisable rooflines, towers and range of architectural embellishment.

The tour took in a variety of the buildings, both those still operating as schools and some exciting conversions to new uses.

Led by James Hall of conservation architects Peregrine Bryant. Illustration shows a new boarding school in Harper Street, New Kent Road, which belongs to the Lambeth division of the London School Board, 1874.

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