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Eleventh hour listing for Forest Hill’s industrial school

News that English Heritage has listed a threatened former girls' school on Dartmouth Road as a building of national significance has been welcomed by the Victorian Society, the national charity campaigning for the Victorian and Edwardian historic environment.

Opened in 1891 to provide care and training for destitute children, Grade II-listed Louise House is an attractive building in the Domestic Revival style. Smaller and more intimate than many other London institutions, it was founded on a similar principle to Dr Barnardo's cottage homes and was praised for its ‘homely' atmosphere by officials of the time. It was designed free of charge by Thomas Aldwinckle, who also designed the 1885 Forest Hill Pool which stands next door.

In recent years, both buildings have been under threat as part of Lewisham Council's scheme to demolish Forest Hill Baths and redevelop the site. Now campaigners hope that the recognition of Louise House's national importance and the group value of the buildings on Dartmouth Road will encourage the Council to rethink its plans.

‘We're delighted that Louise House has been protected in this way,' said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser of the Victorian Society. ‘An attractive and important record of the development of educational provision and philanthropic projects in South London, the building adds a lot to the character of Forest Hill. With the pool, library and school buildings on Dartmouth Road, it forms a striking group. We hope this national support will help Lewisham Council recognize the contribution these buildings can make to the future of Forest Hill.'

Thursday 21 August, 2008

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