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Victorian Society attacks plans to demolish Hockney's former school


The Victorian Society has launched a campaign to halt plans by Bradford Council to demolish artist David Hockney’s former school in Eccleshill.

The conservation group has attacked the proposals to flatten Hutton Middle School in Eccleshill - approved by the council this week - warning it is part of a worrying wider trend to demolish historic Victorian and Edwardian school buildings across the country.

Director of the society Christopher Costelloe said the demolition was the ‘tip of the iceberg’ with a raft of similar schools facing the wrecking ball in 2015.

Costelloe said: ‘It is a real shame that Bradford Council has approved plans to demolish Hockney’s former school. The handsome building seems suitable for conversion into flats – instead Bradford will lose part of its history and identity.

‘However, this one case is just the tip of the iceberg. We are seeing increasing numbers of applications to demolish Victorian and Edwardian schools – even where the site will continue as a school. Councils should endeavour to ensure that these buildings are preserved where possible.’

The Society has highlighted four other schools across the country which are on threatened with demolition including Mount Pleasant Primary School in Kirklees, Whitcliffe Mount School in Cleckheaton, Cranbury Road Infants School in Eastleigh and 179 Hornsey Road, London.

David Hockney’s brother John also spoke out in support of saving the former Hutton Middle School in Eccleshill, saying ‘without these important places there is no history’.

The Hutton School’s demolition will follow the demolition of another Victorian former Hockney school, the Wellington School.


Readers' comments (2)

  • What a lovely building. We should not loose it.

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  • Not only was this school attended by Hockney, Eccleshill; on of Bradford's outer townships at the time was the FIRST to introduce a School Board following Bradford's Liberal MP William Edward Forster's Elementary Education Action 1870. And this school was the CENTRAL Board school in Eccleshill. This has historical significance relating it directly to Forster's Act in a unique way. Given Bradford have also removed Forster Square to make way for its new shopping (Westfield) development it demonstrates the level of ignorance or, worse, disregard for the heritage in what was once one of the richest cities in the world and not just economically, but for its splendid Victorian architecture! Wellington School which Hockney attended after Hutton was demolished to make way for new houses - this was the second of the Eccleshill BOard schools to have been built leaving just two remaining. Bradford's application of the planning process may well have satisfied the 'box ticking' exercise, but it most certainly was lacking in quality and rigor - even when presented with solid affirmative responses to the Historical Buildings Assessment Guidelines (2012) 12 checklist questions, the committee chose not to halt the decision process and demand a proper heritage assessment - the heritage report submitted contained little evidence and though it mentioned the 12 checklist questions in full, it then went on to offer no responses to them but still concluded the building was of low heritage value and its demolition was outweighed by the 29 houses being built on a 1.5 acre site out of false stone - the committee appeared bored and without appropriate questionning of the objectors' claims to halt the process and await a proper heritage report, chose to believe the developer when they said "the report is fine" and unanimously voted to demolish and replace. This is indeed the tip of a very dangerous and 'permanent-loss' inducing iceberg!! Shame on these councils, planners and here's to a full review of the process and the quality of its application.

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