Stamford Park junior and infant schools, master's house and play sheds with surrounding walls, gates and railings
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- Stamford Park Infant School, Junior School and School House, Cedar Road, Hale, Altrincham, WA15 9JB
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- Statutory Address:
- Stamford Park Infant School, Junior School and School House, Cedar Road, Hale, Altrincham, WA15 9JB
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Trafford (Metropolitan Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
Primary school dated 1905, by Henry Lord, comprising infant and junior schools, master’s house, boundary walls and railings, and playground shelters with toilets.
Reasons for Designation
Stamford Park primary school, Hale, a local education authority school complex of 1905 by Henry Lord, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* for the good quality of the design by noted school specialist Henry Lord, with complex massing, subtle detailing and decorative embellishment;
* as a complete early-C20 school complex with all of its intended elements provided, including infant and junior schools, master’s house and covered play shelters with toilets;
* for the good degree of survival of the complex and its individual elements, and retaining decorative roof ventilators, original windows, sprocketed bay-window roofs, Art Nouveau metalwork, tiled dadoes incorporating fireplaces, and decorative boundary treatments.
After the 1902 Education Act, primary and secondary schools became the responsibility of local education authorities. The sub-committee for Altrincham, Bowdon, Hale and district was established in 1903. In 1904 two acres of land were purchased, and building commenced in 1905. The school was to provide for 300 infants, 300 juniors and 300 seniors (up to age 14), and was designed by Manchester architect Henry Lord. The official opening of the schools took place on 15 June 1906, by recently-elected MP for Altrincham, (Sir) William Crossley. The architect presented Crossley with a large golden key and the assembled children sang ‘O God, our help in ages past’.
A newspaper article highlighted the quality of provision, calling the premises ‘almost palatial’, and stating that, ‘almost perfect facilities have now been furnished for elementary education in the district’. The buildings were placed on the north side of the site to give a southern aspect for light, and each school was provided with a garden plot, although these were never marked on Ordnance Survey maps. The two corridors of the junior school, each with separate entrances, were designed to segregate the lower and upper age groups. The infants were in a separate block with railings dividing the playground. Woodwork was unpainted pitch pine, and the dado was in brown glazed brick to a height of four feet. A gas lighting system and open fires ensured good ventilation. The (reportedly innovative) desks were made of orham (also known as rock-elm, a Canadian hardwood). The overall cost was over £15,000 including fees.
The railings within the playground were removed during the Second World War, but the perimeter railings are original. Some were adapted to form gates when a vehicle access was formed from Oak Road in 1995, removing a length of the dwarf wall. A southern extension was added to the infant school prior to 1966. In 1977 the junior school had a staff room and toilet added to the south-west corner. Minor alterations were made to the entrance in 2011. The original kitchen has been removed from the basement, and a modern kitchen inserted on the ground floor.
In 1999, a single-storey extension was added to the infant school for a staff room and library, linking the infant and junior blocks at the north end via a revised infants’ entrance. More recently a further single-storey extension was added in the south-east corner. The windows in the infant hall dormers have been replaced in pvc.
The nursery block in the south-west corner of the site (not included in the listing) was built in 1993, involving some demolition of earlier playground buildings, probably toilets and a play shed. Canopies and a multi-use games area (not included in the listing) have also been installed in the playground.
Inside both main blocks, toilets have been inserted in some former office spaces. All of the grates and inserts have been removed from the fireplaces, which are all covered. The glazed-tile dadoes and woodwork have been painted. Some doors and most original handles have been replaced.
The master’s house now has pvc inserts within the original timber sash boxes. A doorway at the foot of the stairs has been moved to improve access.
Henry Lord (1843-1926) worked in the architects department of the London and North Western Railway before commencing independent practice in 1871. He designed at least eight of the forty schools built for the Manchester School Board between 1873 and 1902, plus one for the Crumpsall district and several for the Salford School Board. Nearly all of these buildings have been demolished. Buildings by Lord which are listed include Salford Lads’ Club (1904, National Heritage List for England – NHLE – entry 1390580), the Peel Building at Salford University, Salford, (originally the Royal Technical College, 1896, NHLE 1386177), St Aidan’s United Reformed Church, Didsbury (1901, NHLE 1246658) and the Queen’s Jubilee Nurses’ Home, Salford (now the working class movement library, 1897-1901, NHLE 1386174).
Primary school, dated 1905, by Henry Lord.
MATERIALS: Accrington brick and terracotta, Welsh (Felinheli) slate, timber windows.
PLAN: infant block, junior block and master’s house along the north side of the site (from west to east), with playground shelters on the south side, and boundary walls to all four sides of the roughy rectangular site, topped on three sides by railings.
DESCRIPTION: the school is designed in a restrained Queen Anne style with tall chimneystacks and flat-arch lintels with prominent keystones. Windows are mostly sashes with horns and glazing bars, but some hoppers and fixed lights. There is a canted brick plinth all round.
JUNIOR BLOCK: the principal block is central within the site and has a double-height hall flanked to the east and west by classrooms, and to the north and south by corridors with classrooms, offices and other spaces off.
The (north) front is symmetrical with three-bay pavilions to the left and right, linked by boys’ (east) and girls’ (west) entrances to a double-gabled central block. The pavilions have two windows per bay, with slightly taller central pairs beneath small gables. The central windows of the right hand pavilion are bricked up. Each pavilion has a rainwater pipe at the outer end, with a bowl-shaped lead hopper. The entrances have shouldered gables with plaques marked BOYS and GIRLS, and segmental-arched doorways. The double doors of the boys’ entrance, and the overlights of both entrances, are retained but the girls’ doors have been replaced by a single door with side panel.
Beneath each gable of the central block is a slightly-advanced central section with two tall windows. Where these sections meet the gable they have coped shoulders, and above this the brickwork feathers back beneath the gable coping, with a flashing detail to ensure it sheds water. The gables have shaped kneelers. Smaller windows are found outside and between the two advanced sections (three in all). Above the central window is a segmental-pedimented plaque (now painted) inscribed 1905/ STAMFORD PARK/ COUNCIL SCHOOL. Three-windowed, flat-roofed toilet blocks fill the angles between the central block and the entrances. Above the central block and partly obscured by it rises the north wall of the hall, which has prominent shoulders with small arched gablets, a tall central segmental-arched window flanked by shorter flat-headed windows, and a decorative gable plaque dated 1905. There is a short gable stack with clay pot. Above the ridge can be seen the louvred timber central vent which has angled columns, moulded and arched cornice, a lead dome and a flagpole.
Returning at the east, the eastern pavilion has three tall windows beneath a shouldered gable. To the left is a lower outshut with eaves gutter. Set back to the left of this is the east wall of the principal block. This is four bays wide, each bay comprising two outer windows and two taller central windows. The outer bays have hipped roofs with gables over the central windows, while the two central bays have full-width gables. The valleys have parapets with lead bowl-shaped hoppers, the central one having a cast-iron upper portion dated 1905. Over the three valleys can be seen the set-back dormers of the hall. These have shouldered gables with stacks, and each has two windows. The cheeks are of lead, and parapets link the dormers. The central gable has a decorative plaque. To the left of the four main bays, and projecting slightly, is the east wall of the southern corridor. This has a flat-roofed (with parapet) entrance porch projecting to the north, and a gabled end with a canted bay window with sprocketed roof in lead.
Returning at the south the rear is a simpler version of the north front, with double-gabled central section (without projections), and toilet blocks in the angles between this and the corridor, which has simple windows. At the left is the plain brick gabled end of the staff-room extension. The south wall of the hall has a projecting central shaft with gablet and slim window. The shaft is flanked by a window to each side. Set well back to either side of the main rear wall, the south walls of the northern pavilions are visible. These have a larger outer gable, smaller inner gable and short flat inner parapet, with an arched entrance in the angle with the main block. The entrances have modern canopies attached and replacement doors, but retain their overlights. The smaller gables have canted bays beneath, with shallow lead roofs.
Returning at the west the design matches the east wall, save for the plain side wall of the staff-room extension at the right (which obscures the entrance porch), and without the plaque on the central hall dormer.
INTERIOR: the plan-form is little-altered. Classroom entrances are generally recessed within larger archways. Most rooms have timber eaves cornices. Roof structures are visible in the hall and some classrooms, and comprise queen-post trusses with raised tie-beams, struts and braces, supported on painted corbels (probably stone). The glazed-brick dado and woodwork are painted. All light fittings are modern. In the north-east corner a cooking range is covered but reported to survive against the wall of the head’s office, probably indicating where domestic science teaching took place. The hall and corridors retain wooden floors and classrooms retain their original half-glazed doors but with replacement handles. Former cloakroom areas off the south corridor retain Art Nouveau gateways. A modern kitchen and suspended ceiling have been inserted in the north-western room.
INFANT BLOCK: this stands to the west of the junior school (to which it is now attached by an extension). It has a similar plan but without a southern corridor, and with modern extensions against the original south wall.
The (north) front has a flat-roofed four-bay central section with a parapet, flanked by gableted arched entrances which link to two-bay blocks with pitched roofs and exposed eaves. These blocks have parapeted gables which are visible in profile, and also have canted bay windows in the outer ends, with sprocketed roofs in lead. At the left a modern entrance and the plain library extension link this block to the junior school. The entrance arches are inscribed in relief: INFANTS’ ENTRANCE. The left-hand doors have been replaced by a fixed window but both entrances retain their overlights, and the right-hand entrance its original half-glazed doors with recessed panels. Set back above the central block is the gable of the hall which has a central arched window flanked by shorter windows, and a decorative gable plaque dated 1905. The louvred timber vent is also visible, with corner columns, moulded cornice, lead dome, ball finials to each corner and a flagpole.
Returning at the west, bay 1 (left) has the gabled end and canted bay window of the front corridor. To the right, beyond a short, set-back link, is the western classroom block. This is three bays wide. The first two bays have gables with a parapet concealing the valley between, while the third bay has exposed eaves and a central arch-gabled dormer. Each bay has a tall, arched central window flanked by shorter windows. The valley has an outlet with hopper dated 1905.
Returning to the south the western classroom block has a gabled rear wall with three windows. This is matched by the south wall of the eastern classroom block, and set back between these is the south wall of the hall. This is gabled with corner pillars (the right-hand one apparently a truncated chimney-stack), and windows flanking a gableted projecting central shaft with a high-level window. At ground floor the hall and eastern classroom block are obscured by plain, flat-roofed extensions, with a projecting glazed canopy. Set well back to the right is the plain south wall of the library extension which links this block to the junior school.
Returning at the east the detail matches the west wall, but without the southern arch-gabled dormer.
INTERIOR: the interior details closely match those of the junior school. Toilets have been inserted in the former cloakroom spaces. An opening has also been made in the east end of the south wall, to allow access into the newest extension. The dormer windows lighting the hall are pvc replacements.
MASTER’S HOUSE: this has an L-plan with an entrance and staircase bay in the angle. Windows are over-sized pvc inserts echoing original in timber sash boxes. The principal façade faces east and is two bays wide, the left-hand one gabled and the right-hand one with its first-floor window in a central monopitch dormer rising through the eaves. Below this is a canted ground-floor bay window. The left bay has barge-boards and one window at the first floor and two unequal windows at the ground floor. At the right is a ridge stack with two pots, and at the left is an angled end stack with three pots and a gas cowl.
Returning at the north, bay 1 (left) is gabled with one segmental-arched window to each floor and a gable stack, while the recessed bay 2 has exposed rafters, a first-floor window and the entrance with lean-to canopy on brackets.
Returning at the west, both bays are gabled, and bay 1 recessed. Bay 1 has a tall stair window and small first-floor window. Bay 2 has two unequal first-floor windows, and a two-light, ground-floor square bay window.
The south wall faces the playground and is blind save for a small ground-floor window to the left. A small central lean-to joins the garden side wall, and above this the angled stack rises from the eaves.
INTERIOR: the plan-form is retained with one doorway relocated. The parlour retains its door and architrave, cornice, dado rail and original fireplace. The simple stair case with ramped skirting is also retained but there are no features of note upstairs.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the site is bounded to the north, east and west by a dwarf wall with stone coping and original wrought-iron railings, with original pedestrian gates on the north and west side, plus later vehicle gates (incorporating the railings on the west side) on the west and east sides.
The south side is bounded by a brick wall with terracotta coping, which forms the rear wall of two playground shelters with hipped slate roofs and cast-iron columns. The eastern shelter also retains a disused toilet block, whose interior was not accessible at the time of inspection (2019).
Information on Henry Lord, accessed 26/11/19 from https://www.manchestervictorianarchitects.org.uk/architects/henry-lord
Centenary celebration booklet for Stamford Park School, complied by Catherine M Merrell, 2006
extracts from Altrincham Guardian for 23/06/1906 supplied with the application
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
The listed buildings are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.
End of official listing