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The Victorian Society calls on Stoke to save Arts & Crafts school in Penkhull

Penkhull Infants' School, a fine Victorian school building, is facing demolition

Penkhull Infants' School Copyright Gill Stokes

The former Penkhull Infants' School, a fine Arts & Crafts Victorian school building on Greatbatch Avenue in Penkhull, Stoke-on-Trent, is facing demolition if Stoke City Council's plans are approved.

The Council's grounds for demolition are that "the building has passed its useful life span, is an eyesore and attractive to vandal attack" - ironic given that it is the Council, the owner of the building, which has allowed the school to deteriorate since closing down Penkhull Education Centre.

Far from being an eyesore, Penkhull Infants' School, which was built in 1896 by Stoke-on-Trent School Board to a design by local architects R Scrivener & Sons, is a superb example of the wave of late Victorian school buildings which were built after education was made compulsory for all children aged 5 to 13 years old.

The school is notable for its distinctive red brick, slate-topped towers, carved stone friezes and gables. Inside many features of the Victorian school design remain: classrooms with decorative tile friezes, original fireplaces, parquet in offices and a decorative hammerbeam roof in the school hall.

"Penkhull Infants' School is a wonderful example of Stoke's rich Victorian architectural heritage. We urge Stoke City Council not to demolish this building but to find a new use which will ensure that it is still there for future generations of Penkhill residents to enjoy", said James Hughes, conservation adviser at the Victorian Society.

The Victorian Society has campaigned to save many fine Victorian buildings in Stoke-on-Trent in recent years. These include Fenton Town Hall which was named as one of The Victorian Society's Top Ten Endangered Buildings in 2013 and whose fate is still unclear as well as the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem. Grade II-listed Hartshill Cemetery Chapels remain at risk while sadly the beautiful former vicarage of St Paul's Church on Newcastle Street, Burslem, has now been lost.

Thursday 22 May, 2014

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Earlier item: Buccleuch Hotel in Kettering threatened with demolition

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