Springwood Junior School


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Springwood Avenue, Waterlooville, PO7 8ED


Ordnance survey map of Springwood Junior School
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Statutory Address:
Springwood Avenue, Waterlooville, PO7 8ED

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) built 1981-1982 by Hampshire County Council Architect’s Department. The job architects were Mervyn Perkins and David White, with John Godding.

Reasons for Designation

Springwood Junior School, 1981-1982, by Hampshire County Council Architect’s Department is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: with a playful and sophisticated use of volumes beneath its wide, jauntily-profiled roof, the school is one of the most eccentric of the Hampshire ‘barn' schools, deploying a simple concept to impressively stylish effect; * Planning interest: an organising principle of a perimeter of cellular classrooms, with a free-flowing sequence of communal spaces at the centre, offers variety and flexibility of use, with a complex roof profile and clerestory glazing bringing natural light into the deep plan; * Quality of materials: an earthy palette of brick, tile and timber brings warmth to a striking and formally dramatic interior; * Degree of survival: the building’s character is 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 successful school buildings under the leadership of Sir Colin Stansfield Smith.


Hulbert Middle School (now Springwood Junior School), was built in 1981-1982 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 Hulbert Middle School were Mervyn Perkins and David White, with John Godding.

Springwood Junior School’s deep plan and expansive pitched roof places it within a group of Hampshire schools sometimes referred to as ‘barn’ or ‘big roof’ schools; other examples include Fort Hill Secondary School (1976-1978) and Four Lanes Primary School (1981-1982), both at Basingstoke. The precedent for this approach - a flexibly-arranged interior under a single wide-span roof - was Robert Maguire and Keith Murray’s influential St Paul with St Luke Primary School in east London of 1970-1971. At Springwood the architects used devices found in other Hampshire schools, but as is typical to this county, these devices were brought together as a unique piece of architecture. They worked in collaboration with the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) to adapt an agricultural portal-frame for the main structure of the building, a fitting choice for its rolling, rural site which was the former grounds of a large house. The efficiency of the building's deep plan and structure achieved cost savings which the architects spent on additional teaching areas, achieving 20 per cent in excess of the minimum then required by the Department of Education and Science. A variety of spaces were provided to allow for different types of activity and learning, from messy, practical activities, to quiet and small-group working, and each classroom had its own access into the grounds. This blend of connected spaces and open layout provided a structured informality and flexibility informed by the influential Plowden report of 1967.

Over the wide-span hardwood structure was draped a pitched roof with a complex profile, termed a ‘floppy hat’ by White, which had to achieve sufficient height to permit the building to step up a slope, the change in level meaning the upper and lower schools were literally that. Internally the organising principle, established at the earlier Four Lanes Primary School, is of a perimeter of cellular classrooms around a free-flowing sequence of communal spaces, designed so that the classrooms could be locked and the central area opened to community groups in the evening. The central area has a higher thermal capacity than the perimeter and was intended by the energy-conscious Perkins to act as a heat sink for the building.

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 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) built 1981-1982 by Hampshire County Council Architect’s Department. The job architects were Mervyn Perkins and David White, with John Godding.

MATERIALS: the building is formed from a wide-span timber portal frame with a sheet aluminium-clad roof. Beneath the frame the plan is divided up by walls of red brick running through the core of the building, cedar-wood boarding, and glazed screens held in timber frames.

PLAN: the building has a roughly rectangular footprint, only slightly longer than it is wide. The long axis is orientated approximately east-west, with the entrance, hall, kitchen and administrative functions to the east, the drama room at the west end, and classrooms extending east-west along the north and south sides. The building has a single-storey, but its height allows for a split in the floor level along its east-west axis (the north side is lower than the south side). Red brick walls, cranked and stepping up in height, run through the building, and out to either end, delineating the change in level.

Between the cellular classrooms along the north and south perimeter, is a sequence of communal spaces, which flow from the upper level to the lower level. There are some internal rooms backing on to the classrooms, intended for practical activities. Some of these have since been opened up to increase the areas for informal teaching, and at the east end a small additional screened area has been created for semi-private work. At the very core of the plan, in a linear arrangement between the two levels, is a row of WCs with a mezzanine above, which houses the staff room and an open-sided resource area.

EXTERIOR: one of the most eccentric of the Hampshire 'barn' schools, the building’s exterior is dominated by the complex split profile of its vast roof, which projects at the eaves and verges. A south-facing ridge-light runs along its length, and splits in the pitch to either side are in-filled with continuous strips of glazing which bring light into the backs of the classrooms. The long elevations are articulated by cedar-boarded classroom stores which alternate with the inset glazed walls of the classrooms, each one with doors to give independent access into the school grounds. The end elevations are less tightly controlled, with areas of void beneath the shelter of the roof, and brick volumes and lengths of wall spilling out from its centre; the irregular gable ends above are in-filled with glazing. The school’s main entrance is to the east, tucked beneath the roof; although difficult to spot from the outside, it is signposted by a cranked wall which guides from the school’s original approach from the south-east, up a short flight of steps, and under the roof to the entrance.

INTERIOR: from an enclosed entrance lobby and foyer, past the administrative offices and hall, the space opens up to reveal its dramatic, lofty interior. The classrooms are slotted in beneath the outer edges of the exposed portal frame (originally all stained dark brown, the parts within the classrooms have been painted white) and are enclosed internally by glazed screens. A complex arrangement of internal clerestory lights and the glazed strips within the roof slope bring light deep within the plan. Carpets, timber boarding and low, sloping ceilings lend domesticity to the classrooms, which are generously lit by both natural and artificial lighting, whereas the open-plan spaces at centre of the building have a harder finish, with clay pavers on the floor and a greater reliance on artificial light in the form of sodium lamps. This space also however has the warmth of the boarded softwood ceilings. Definition and formal complexity is given to the space by the red brick walls which thread through the centre of the building, leading upwards as the stair balustrade for the mezzanine level and continuing out of the back of the building into the grounds to the west.

Alterations to the building not already noted, are principally limited to the over-head enclosure of the entrance lobby and foyer with glazing. This separates it from the hall, from which it was originally screened only by a section of red brick wall.


Books and journals
Weston, R , Schools of Thought, (1991), pp. 96-97
'Hampshire profile' in Spazio e Societa, , Vol. 17, (10 December 1994), pp. 12-27
'Low Cost, Low Tech, Low Energy' in Energy in Buildings, , Vol. 1, (October 1982), pp. 14-15
'Hulbert Middle School, Waterlooville' in Architects' Journal, (12 December 1984), pp. 39-42
'Three Hampshire Schools' in Architects' Journal, , Vol. 180, (12 December 1984), pp. 31-52


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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