Sunday, 12 June 2022

Victorian Board Schools in Sheffield S9

The former Brightside Board School

My exploration of the historic buildings of Burngreave and the geology of Parkwood Springs entailed a walk of less than 6 km and, waking up early on a sunny Sunday morning the next day, I decided to further explore the Sheffield Board Schools in the mainly industrial Sheffield S9 postal district at the east end of the city.
A Google Map satellite view of the Sheffield S9 postal district

Taking advantage of the TM Travel X54 bus service, which is quite strangely diverted through a commercial part of Sheffield that is effectively shut on a Sunday, it only took a couple of minutes to walk down to the former Woodbourn Road Board School, which is now occupied by the Pakistan Muslim Centre and various businesses.
A general view of the former Woodbourn Road Board School

Completed in 1892, the original architects were Wightman and Wightman but, following the death of the firm’s remaining partner, it was completed by Edward Holmes, who later formed a partnership with A.F. Watson – a practice responsible for five other Sheffield Board Schools, including those that I had seen at Tinsley Park Road, Pomona Street and Western Road.
The front elevation

As with most of the later board schools, it is very plain in style and without much architectural interest and is notable mainly as being one of the larger board schools, for 1224 pupils, and also as another example of the use of the Crawshaw Sandstone.
The rear elevation

Although a Sunday, the main gates were open and, having asked permission from the caterer who was working at the Pakistani Muslim Centre, I went to have a look at the rear elevation of the main school and single storey infants’ school. Finding very little of interest, except the inscribed date above the entrance for girls, I set off to find the Grade II Listed former Brightside Board School.
Miscellaneous views

It had been my intention to catch the tram to Meadowhall but, arriving at the Woodbourn Road stop to find that there wasn’t a tram for another 20 minutes and there was nowhere to sit down, I instead decided to continue walking and explore the Bears of Sheffield in Attercliffe and then link up with the Five Weirs Walk along the River Don.
The Bears of Sheffield in Attercliffe
An hour and a half later, I arrived at Jenkin Road, the second steepest street in Sheffield after Blake Street and the final climb on the route of the 2014 Tour de France. A couple of months earlier when exploring the geology of Wincobank Hill, where the strata affected by the Don Monocline dip as much as 30 degrees, I looked down it and was glad that I did not have to walk very far up it before I came to the Grade II Listed Brightside Board School.
The former Brightside Board School on Jenkin Road

It was built in 1880, to the design of E.R. Robson – known for his work on the London Board Schools - who was appointed as architect for the Central Schools complex at Leopold Street in Sheffield city centre and who was also responsible for the Heeley Bank Board School.
The front elevation

Having recently seen a few schools that don’t possess much architectural merit, it was refreshing to see a few interesting details; however, on this occasion, it was the separately listed caretaker’s house that particularly caught my eye.
A general view of the 1882 addition

Forming part of the single storey nursery block added in 1882, this unsually elaborate school house rises to three storeys with an attic and the Flemish Renaissance Revival style incorporates swept gables, with chimney stacks and flanking square shafts.
The caretaker's house

Noting that the walling stone is again Crawshaw Sandstone, with Stoke Hall stone presumably used for the dressings, I moved round to the north elevation. Although the original building is generally quite plain and functional style, architectural flourishes include scrolled gables that are topped with pediments.
A view of the rear elevation

Although not within the school grounds, the service road running parallel to the northern boundary wall provides an interesting example of granite setts laid out in a continental style bogen pattern. Except for the granite setts that were laid on Fargate 25 years ago, when a gang of paviour masons were brought in from Naples, I have not seen these in Sheffield before.
Granite setts with a bogen pattern

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