Charity School, Edmonton
Grade II listed. On the Heritage at Risk Register
The former Girls’ Charity School and the adjacent cottage at no.24 Church Street in Edmonton are both Grade II listed, and located within the Church Street Conservation Area. Both properties and the Conservation Area are on the Heritage at Risk Register.
The Charity School was built in 1784 and for many years provided education for local girls, while the adjacent cottage offered accommodation for the school-mistress. In recent decades the school building has been used for various community activities, however for the last ten years, its poor condition has prevented public access and regular use.
To protect the vacant buildings from vandalism, Live-in Guardians will be moving in soon. They will be undertaking emergency repair works, and have generously offered a donation in-kind of £12,000.
The Trust has secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Architectural Heritage Fund to commission and oversee the delivery of an Options Appraisal, through which a solution for the buildings will be identified. (As an Options Appraisal Enhancement, the study builds on work carried out in 2012)
Our aim is to find an end use for the buildings that once again allows them to benefit the local community. To achieve this we’re working closely with Enfield Council, the Enfield Society, the Diocese of London, Learning for Life Charity, and West Lea School.
We have appointed our Project Team following a tendering process and are excited to be working with them to deliver the study;
Lead Consultant – Nicola de Quincey, architecture and conservation
Structural Engineer – Edward Morton, The Morton Partnership
Quantity Surveyor – Ian Walker, Walker Associates
Business Planner – Jim Roberts, Fourth Street
Community Consultant – Debbie Radcliffe
During the delivery of the Options Appraisal Enhancement, we will also be running a programme of community consultation and project activities. These will be detailed here shortly.
Virtual Tour led by Nicola de Quincey
Our Lead Consultant, conservation Architect Nicola de Quincey will take you on a virtual tour of the Charity School and adjoining Mistresses cottage.
1 – click on the button below to open the virtual tour in a separate window
2 – click on the audio file to the right to listen to Nicola walk you through the buildings and garden
3 – use the curser to navigate
Spot the Difference
Statues of schoolboys and girls were a common feature of charity school buildings. They showed off the uniform and prayer book that pupils were given as part of their membership of the school. Blue was often used for charity school uniforms because it was the cheapest dye available for clothing, which led to charity schools often being known as ‘Bluecoat Schools’.
However, while statues are to be expected, these two charity girl statues on the Girls’ School in Edmonton and St John’s School in Wapping in East London are not just similar, but the same! They are both cast from the same mould and made of ‘Coade Stone’, a type of artificial stone manufactured in Lambeth by a remarkable business woman of the 18th century.
Mrs Coade's Stone
Mrs Eleanor Coade was all the more extraordinary for never being a ‘Mrs’ at all. Staking out her independence as a young woman from her perennially insolvent father, Eleanor stayed single her whole life and was the senior partner in all her businesses. Responding to the growing taste for exterior statues in neoclassical Georgian architecture, Eleanor developed her own durable formula for artificial stone. Her Lambeth factory produced statues and ornaments listed in a catalogue and by commission. It is possible that the charity school girl statuette in Edmonton and Wapping was a standard model, orderable from the catalogue, like a telly today from Argos!
Eleanor kept the formula a secret her whole life, so with her death, it was thought her recipe was lost. However, modern science has been able to show that Coade Stone was a combination of white ball clay, sand, flint, crushed glass and grog, a type of ground up stoneware. A champion of women’s education and independence, when Eleanor died aged 88, she left £100 in her will to the Girls’ Charity School in Walworth.
Researched and written by Albinia Stanley, volunteering for the London Historic Buildings Trust.
Living at the cottage and Charity School
Irene Money was the last custodian of the Charity School and lived in the adjoining cottage for over 30 years, leaving in 2012. Irene shared with us her personal memories of the buildings; what it was like to live there; looking after the garden; and some of the ways that the Hall was used during her time managing it.
We’ve added clips of Irene’s history into our virtual tour, so you can also hear her memories as you take a stroll through the buildings.
Workshop with West Lea School
Our professional team developed a workshop to explore the history of the Charity School and seek ideas from students for how it could be used in the future. This workshop was facilitated by teachers at West Lea School who have compiled their ideas into a slideshow, which we’ve shared here.
We love the ideas that have been generated and are considering them all as we’re developing options for the buildings.
Many thanks to all of the staff an students who have been involved in this project.
Consultation for this project has now closed, however if you’d like to keep in touch with us about the project, please do contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
This project has been generously funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
To support us financially you can make a one off donation or, for an annual donation, you can become one of our patrons and take part in our new Patron’s Programme of events, lectures and site visits.