Beauvale School in Greasley Nottinghamshire, now known as Greasley Beauvale DH Lawrence Infant School, was designed by Nottingham architect R.C. Sutton, who later went on to design the very first branch of Boots the Chemist.
The red-brick school, which opened its doors in 1878, retains many of its original features today, including windows, doors and flooring. The overall design is based upon an unusual arrow-shaped plan, more usually associated with work houses of the period where men, women and children were housed in separate wings.
The writer DH Lawrence, was one of the infant’s wings first pupils, attending the school in 1889.
Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said:
“It’s fantastic that the future of this historic school has been secured. The importance of it to both historians and literary scholars alike is indisputable and I hope that the school that educated one of the giants of 20th century literature will continue to serve children for many years to come.”
DH Lawrence was born in nearby Eastwood, and started at Beauvale School in 1889, in the infants’ wing.
The son of a local miner and former school mistress, Lawrence would not automatically have had had access to an education before the Education Act of 1800 that made school attendance compulsory for all children up to the age of ten.
Lawrence returned to the boys’ school from 1893 to 1898, and drew on this, as well as other locations from his life, for inspiration in his writing, albeit using fictitious names. Whilst studying at the boys’ school, Lawrence won Eastwood’s first scholarship to the private Nottingham High School, which undoubtedly inspired some of Lawrence’s later writings on education.
The school, opened in January 1878, was finally capable of holding 850 children in its arrow-shaped design, which houses three wings all radiating from a corner entrance block. The wings were originally separated into the boys’ school, the girls’ school and the infants’ school. The school is constructed of Matlock stone with a clay tile roof and has many original interior features, including glazed partitions between the classrooms, parquet flooring and a spiral staircase turret leading to the former committee room of the school board.
Notes to editors
The school cost £6,000 to build and opened in January 1878, having been designed by R. C. Sutton.
The Education Act of 1880 made school attendance compulsory for all children up to the age of ten, and by 1882 the Methodist chapel adjacent to the school had been commandeered to accommodate the overflow. The school was extended in 1882 with the creation of the boy’s wing, and again in 1889, when the girls’ and infants’ wings were added. This provided accommodation for 850 children in total and also gave the school it’s highly unusual arrow-shaped design.
R. C. Sutton has twelve other listed buildings to his name, all at Grade II. He designed the first Boot’s the Chemists’ shop, opened in Nottingham in 1884 by Jesse Boot, and Ilkeston Town Hall, Derbyshire (1867-8).
The main purpose of listing a building is to ensure that care will be taken over decisions affecting its future, that any alterations respect the particular character and interest of the building, and that the case for its preservation is taken fully into account in considering the merits of any redevelopment proposals.
Further details of English Heritage's recommendations can be obtained from Historic Environment Designation Branch, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH.
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