“It’s a wonderful building and in the housing crisis you could have picked it up for £4 million.”
Usually the talk of the Metropolitan Elite, for once on a journey to an overpriced mid-terrace in Fulham I found myself in conversation with a passenger about an outstanding building.
“ . . . now the price has rocketed – £8 million is probably now the asking price.”
[I]t was approaching the time for my lunch break, so more out of curiosity, rather than a desire to add to my property portfolio, I decided to investigate this Victorian bargain basement in Broomhouse Lane.
Elizabethan Schools is a Gothic Revival building built in 1855 as a Ragged School for the estate workers of Broom House. Financed by Laurence Sulivan the head of a leading philanthropic family and named after his late wife Elizabeth Palmerston-Sulivan, the sister of the then Prime Minister Lord Palmerston.
Designed to accommodate 120 children with kitchens and apartments for the schoolmaster and schoolmistress with in addition two almshouses.
Although the 1870 Education Act negated the need for Ragged Schools Elizabeth Schools continued beyond the Great War with 70 pupils still on its rolls.
In 1920 the London County Council purchased Elizabethan Schools as a place to provide education for the delicate, particularly tuberculosis children. By modern standards this would have seen a surprising decision since the school had no electricity and a large draughty hall on the ground floor which was used as a classroom to educate the younger children.
Since the school had no electrical power it only had a battery wireless set, but it was difficult to get the batteries recharged and so the set was seldom used – it is not known if electricity was ever installed in its lifetime as a school.
Whoever stumps up the purchase price will buy a Victorian gem. Designed by architect Horace Francis it was Grade II listed in 1970. The red brick contrasts beautifully with the black diaper, an oriel window lifts its ornate brickwork and gargoyles embellish this fine example of Victoriana.