249/0/10237 HORTENSIA ROAD
07-MAY-02 The Sloane School at the Hortensia Roa
Former Sloane School. 1910 by T.J. Bailey, for the London County Council Education Committee. Red and yellow brick with Portland Stone dressings, tiled roof.
PLAN: rectangular plan facing east. Central hall with classrooms off corridors on three sides. Projecting stair towers on west side.
EXTERIOR: main east-facing elevation with eight-bay front set between projecting corners. Pair of entrances with arched overlights beneath open segmental pediments. Tall, double-height arch-headed sash windows, set within blocked stone surrounds. Upper level to centre lit by three large arched (or thermal) windows with projecting keystones and voussoirs, set beneath three gables. Projecting corners, that to north with four tiers of windows, those to first, second and third floors are 6/6-pane sashes (8/8-pane to centre) with arches of rubbed red brick; that to south is blind, with an aedicular tablet inscribed LCC SLOANE SCHOOL, above which is a round window within a stone frame with voussoirs and foliate decoration. Giant pilasters run the entire height of each corner projection, which terminate in shaped gables with finials. Side elevations are faced in yellow brick, with six windows to ground floor; raised parapet to centre at attic level. Projecting canted bay to west side of flanks with four tiers of windows; at fourth floor levels are belvederes, with rows of four windows divided by engaged Doric columns. West, rear elevation of six bays largely faced in yellow brick, with projecting hemispherical stair towers faced in red brick rising the entire height of the building, capped with a copper-sheathed dome.
INTERIOR: large double-height assembly hall with gallery on three sides, carried on large scrolled consoles. Classrooms with internal glazing on three sides off corridors. Brown-glazed tiled bricks up to dado height throughout; similar glazed bricks line the two stairs. Widespread survival of panelled doors, some within glazed arched openings.
HISTORY: this site was formerly occupied by the Royal Exotic Nurseries, which gave its name to Hortensia Road, a new road created in 1903. The site was acquired by the London County Council in 1905, and in 1906 plans were made to build a secondary school for use by 510 girls (the 1902 Education Act having made secondary education compulsory). ?32,529 was earmarked for the school, which was designed by the chief architect to the LCC's Education Committee, T.J. Bailey. The school was opened in November 1908, and was described by 'The Builder' as 'the first planned and built entirely for secondary education... The entire scheme was received the full consideration of the various expert officials, of the Council, and also the approval of the Board of Education, and may be said to be fully equipped with every modern requirement for a secondary school of the latest type'. The ground floor was originally given over to a gymnasium, with a dining hall and domestic science room; the upper floors were used as laboratories and classrooms. The school was used as a hospital in World War One. Boys were later admitted, but the school closed in 1970. It was later occupied by the Kensington and Chelsea College, the first adult education college in the country. The school, a highly characteristic Edwardian Baroque design, forms part of a group of fine school buildings, and is of further interest on account of being the first purpose-built secondary school in the capital.
SOURCES: 'The Builder, 5th December 1908, 622; 'South-Western Polytechnic Institute Record', December 1908, 2-3; English Heritage, unpublished London Region Historians' report ref. K&C 138 (April 1990).