Bosmere Junior School


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
South Street, Havant, PO9 1DA


Ordnance survey map of Bosmere Junior School
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Statutory Address:
South Street, Havant, PO9 1DA

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Havant (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Middle school (now junior school) designed 1981-1982, built 1982-1983 by Hampshire County Council Architect’s Department. The job architects were Nev Churcher, Peter Galloway and Mervyn Perkins.

Reasons for Designation

Bosmere Junior School, 1982-1983, by Hampshire County Council Architect's Department is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: traditional materials and vernacular references combine with intricate sectional planning and generous glazing to create a school which is intimate, but with a sense of drama at a child-friendly scale; * Planning interest: a sophisticated layout and section, with spaces for a variety of different types of learning and levels of interaction, with each classroom having direct access onto the leafy, secluded, site; * Quality of materials and detailing: a rich interior with a warm, earthy, palette of brick, tile and timber contrasts with the lightness of glazing held in a slender framework of bright red steel, and a space punctuated by changes in level and the frosted orbs of internal ‘street-lights’; * Degree of survival: little-altered internally and externally, making it one of a small handful of the best Hampshire schools to survive well enough to fully illustrate the county's forward-thinking and creative approach to school design; * Historic interest: a strong example of a school designed in-house by Hampshire County Council Architect's department, which created a large body of important work and was noted in particular for its inventive and forward-thinking school buildings under the leadership of Sir Colin Stansfield Smith.


Bosmere Middle School, as it was then, was built in 1982-1983 by Hampshire County Council Architect’s Department under the leadership of Sir Colin Stansfield Smith (1932-2013, knighted in 1993). The department created a large body of important work done in-house or by private architects, and was noted for its inventive and successful school buildings. Stansfield Smith led an in-house reaction against the system-building and standardisation which had gone before, introducing one-off steel and timber frames and expansive roofs, though the planning of the schools, many of which featured deep footprints and high-level glazing, was more consistent. The job architects for Bosmere were Nev Churcher, Peter Galloway and Mervyn Perkins. Perkins returned to the school towards the end of the 1980s, to design a small extension.

Like many replacement schools, Bosmere had to fit into a small site amongst a scatter of the prefabricated buildings which made up the earlier school, to avoid ‘decanting’ children to another site during construction. This, together with a desire to retain three mature trees and a small copse, explains the double curve of its tadpole-like plan, which is formed of a ‘head’ of hall, kitchen and administration separated from its teaching ‘tail’ by a glazed conservatory-cum-entrance. Architecturally, the school uses devices found in other Hampshire examples, but as is typical to this county, these devices come together at Bosmere as a unique piece of architecture. Traditional materials and vernacular references combine with intricate sectional planning and generous glazing to create a school which is intimate, as well as having a sense of drama at a child-friendly scale. The interior, with its split levels, planters, flashes of red in the metalwork and joinery, and ‘street’ lights is particularly rich and enjoyable.

Bosmere provides a variety of spaces to allow for different types of activity and learning, from messy, practical activities, to quiet and small-group working. Along one side of its linear plan are craft and domestic science rooms, these practical activities providing an acoustic buffer to the playground and noisy road junction beyond the site to the west. Across a spinal corridor are open-plan spaces for quieter practical activities and group work, and the classrooms, which each open out onto the copse to the east. This blend of connected spaces and open layout provide a structured informality and flexibility informed by the influential Plowden report of 1967.

School building was both a symbolic aspiration of post-war Britain and an urgent need, driven by the ‘baby boom’, the raising of the school leaving age, planned new towns and estates and the reconstruction of bomb-damaged buildings. Programmes of new schools were coordinated and designed by local education authorities with loans and oversight from central government. Demand was met by prefabricated ‘kits of parts’, either sponsored by public authorities or developed privately. Elsewhere, where bricks and bricklayers were readily available, traditional techniques were adapted to incorporate large windows and flat roofs. Collaboration between architects and educationists could result in expressive plans which facilitated patterns of learning and movement. The requirement for abundant daylight and outdoor access led to dispersed layouts, a trend which was countered by tight cost limits and constrained sites.

The 1944 Education Act divided schooling into primary and secondary stages with a break at age 11. Some authorities provided separate infant and junior schools with a break at age 7 plus; others, primary schools for the 5-11 age range. School sizes likewise varied from two-class village schools to primaries of 480 pupils. Informal, ‘child-centred’ learning through first-hand experience, advocated in the influential Plowden report of 1967, was encouraged by the provision of special areas for quiet and messy work and more open layouts. At Buckinghamshire and Hampshire a mix of enclosed class bases and shared space was provided, allowing teachers to strike their own balance between varied groups and activities and traditional whole-class teaching.


Middle school (now junior school) designed 1981-1982, built 1982-1983 by Hampshire County Council Architect’s Department. The job architects were Nev Churcher, Peter Galloway and Mervyn Perkins.

MATERIALS: construction is a mixture of brick cavity wall and laminated timber frame. Skylights and more extensive areas of glazing are held in slender red-painted metal frames, whereas elsewhere there is timber joinery for windows, glazed screens and clerestory lights. The roofs are slated or glazed.

PLAN: the building is single-storey and has a linear footprint with a gentle double curve (in fact a series of facets) which runs north-south. Its ‘tadpole’ plan is arranged with the head, containing the hall, kitchen and administration to the south, and the glazed entrance link and teaching ‘tail’ extending to the north.

An open corridor, or ‘street’ runs the length of the teaching area. To its west are enclosed rooms for more messy, or practical, activities, and to its east, at a slightly higher level, is a sequence of informal spaces for smaller group activity and quiet working, also now used for computer work. Most of this area is not enclosed, but separated from the street by the change in level. Along the east edge of the plan are the classrooms, each of which opens towards the copse on this side of the site.

The building’s section takes the form of a double pitch, split at the apex by a continuous double-glazed rooflight. It is manipulated along the school’s length to accommodate the variety of floor levels and room depths.

EXTERIOR: the building’s sinuous footprint, and the way it nestles into its tight site, means that only a relatively small part of it can be seen at any one time. It is low-slung and visually dominated by the large roof, which overhangs at the eaves and verges. Much of its structural arrangement is expressed externally, through the planes and angles of its roof, exposed elements of the structural frame, and the continuation of the internal street wall which emerges at the north end of the building and continues to form a semi-boundary between two parts of the school’s play area. The glazed roof of the conservatory-like main entrance and reception space creates a visual break between the slated roofs and brick walls of the hall and rooms to either side. The long west elevation is of brick and is largely blind other than narrow high-level windows, whereas the east elevation has doors and windows which lead out from each of the classrooms. The doors, windows and cream-coloured sheet panels which infill the spaces between the structural frame on this side of the building have been replaced, however the character and pattern of the infill is close in character to the original. Perkins' extension to the north is almost indistinguishable, inside and out, from the original part of the school.

At the far south end of the building is a fire escape stair from the staff room (matching the one inside), and a small service yard with store.

INTERIOR: the interior is full of architectural detail. The formal entrance is a set-piece combining paviours, low brick walls, glazed roof, planting and bright red doors with circular panes. A tight spiral staircase in bright red, leads up to an open-sided bridge, which gives access to the staff room over the administrative offices. ‘Street lights’ with white glass globe shades continue through from this space into the street in the teaching area. The interior of this space is open to the underside of the roof and is animated by the changes in level and the gentle curves of the plan, which shortens the sight-line and tones down the acoustics. Much of the building’s dark-stained structural framework is exposed and surfaces are finished in a mixture of red brick and natural timber boarding, creating variety and texture, set-off by the light which enters the building at high-level through skylights and clerestory glazing. Enclosed spaces, such as the classrooms and practical rooms, are separated from the building’s core by glazed screens.


Books and journals
Weston, R, Schools of Thought, (1991), pp. 108-10
'Fitting in Hants' in Architectural Review, , Vol. 177, (April 1985), pp. 36-44
'Three Hampshire Schools' in Architects' Journal, , Vol. 180, (12 December 1984), pp. 31-52
'School Examination' in Architects' Journal, , Vol. 179, (28 March 1984), pp. 28-29
'Hampshire profile' in Spazio e Societa, , Vol. 17, (10 December 1994), pp. 12-27


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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