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Early London Board School listed at Grade II

The Darul Ummah Community Centre in east London has been recognised as a building of national importance following an application by the Victorian Society.

In its listing report English Heritage acknowledged that the former Lower Chapman Street School on Bigland Street in Tower Hamlets had clear special interest as an early surviving school by the London Board School architect, E.R Robson, and his successor T.J Bailey.

'A large number of board schools were built in Tower Hamlets, but very few still survive. We are delighted that this exceptional school is now nationally recognised and has some protection from demolition', said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'The exterior of the school is little changed and the site still includes a roof top playground, a cookery school building and the school keeper's house. Inside there remains a rare example of a double staircase which kept the boys separate from the girls.'

The buildings on Bigland Street are currently home to a prayer hall and the Jamiatal School. Earlier this year planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of the site, including the demolition of the school and its outbuildings. The owners of Darul Ummah, which means 'House of Community' wanted to build a new mosque, community centre and school.

The former Lower Chapman Street School is an important landmark, as the immediate area does not contain many historic buildings. It was built to designs by E.R Robson in 1874-5, with additions made by his successor at the London School Board, T.J Bailey.

Tuesday 10 August, 2010

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