Above: The original High Master’s house now converted into a boutique hotel.
As far as schools go in London, St Paul’s School is one of the oldest. It was first established adjacent to the old St Paul’s Cathedral as early as 1103. A new school was founded in 1509 by Dean Colet on land to the north of the old cathedral. In 1884 a new site for the school in Hammersmith was chosen and the buildings were designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse. The terracotta for the exterior was made by the famous company Gibbs and Canning Limited, of Tamworth. The school then moved from its City of London site to the new one.
By 1961 it was decided that the school at Hammersmith was becoming unsuitable and a new site was acquired in Barnes, on the south side of the Thames. The school moved once more and still occupies the site in Barnes today. Most of the school buildings at Hammersmith were demolished after the school transferred. The only buildings to be left standing were the ornate house built for the High Master and the adjacent lodge. They were also designed by Alfred Waterhouse.
The remaining buildings were later turned into offices and most recently became offices for Mind, the mental health charity. After the offices were vacated, the buildings were left empty in 2008 and they fell into a state of disrepair. The grand buildings were in a sorry state. They had been listed Grade II in 1983.
The property was acquired and the buildings were converted into a luxury 35-bedroom boutique 4-star hotel, restoring both the exterior and interior to their former glory. The hotel is just 800 metres from London Olympia, one of the prestigious exhibition venues in Central London. The hotel is also only a short walk from the two underground stations at Hammersmith, the well-connected bus interchange and the large shopping centre. The hotel’s popularity is almost guaranteed.
The hotel stands at No 153 Hammersmith Road, on the south side. During the Second World War, the school at Hammersmith was evacuated from London and the building was used as part of the war effort. It was the location of the historic meeting of Eisenhower, Montgomery and Winston Churchill to plan the D Day landings.
In passing, if Alfred Waterhouse is an unfamiliar name to you, then here are a few facts about him. Alfred Waterhouse RA (1830–1905) was an English architect, particularly associated with Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. Born in Liverpool, he had a Manchester architectural practice for 12 years before moving his practice to London in 1865. His brothers were accountants – Edwin Waterhouse was the co-founder of the Price Waterhouse partnership, which now forms part of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Alfred is perhaps best known for his design for Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum, in London. Other well-known London buildings by him are Staple Inn, in Holborn, which he restored and, across the road, is the Prudential Assurance Building which he designed, in association with his son, Paul.
Comment 08 – End of the Academic Year
We have come to the end of the academic year (called ‘Year 6’). Since the start of June (the third term of the year), there have been blogs about the London Borough of Wandsworth and also the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. They are shown below.
American Embassy, Nine Elms
Asparagus Pub, Falcon Road
Battersea Railway Bridge
Fowler’s Horizontal Mill
New Covent Garden Market
Nine Elms Cold Store
Nine Elms Pier
St Mary, Battersea
Wandsworth, London Borough of
Huguenot Burial Ground, Wandsworth
Ram Brewery, Wandsworth
Ship Pub, Wandsworth Bridge
Surrey Iron Railway
Brandenburgh House, Fulham
Fulham Palace Moat
Hammersmith & Fulham, London Borough of
Dove Inn, Upper Mall
High Bridge, Hammersmith
St Paul’s Hotel, Hammersmith
Between now and the end of September is a time to add blogs on new things happening in Inner London as well as other unusual topics. During these weeks the blogs will ‘free-wheel’ – not necessarily being related to a ‘fixed schedule’. It is to be hoped that the topics chosen will also be of interest to those who read them. Thank you all for your continued interest in this Website.