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Brixton School of Building

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2110 BSB
Held at: London South Bank University
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Full title: Brixton School of Building
Date(s): 1902-1979
Level of description: Fonds level
Extent: 5 boxes
Name of creator(s): Brixton School of Building
London County Council School of Building
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The London County Council School of Building was opened on 26th February 1904 to provide a specialist training college for the large number of building workers in Camberwell and Lambeth. The Lambeth Polytechnic building in Ferndale Road, Brixton was renovated to contain workshops for painting and decorating, carpentry and joinery and a drawing office. When it opened in 1904, 643 students enrolled on classes covering stone carving, plasters' modelling, drawing, chemistry and physics of building materials, land surveying and levelling.

The School soon gained a world-wide reputation as a centre of excellence in the fields of town planning, building technology, estate management and building architecture. In 1906 a school of architecture was added which was organised by Professor Beresford Pite of the Royal Academy of Art. Demand for courses increased rapidly so that in 1908 the School added a Junior Day Technical College for Boys and then a Senior Day Technical School as well as a new extension in 1909.

In 1910 five-year courses were introduced in all trade subjects, followed in 1911 by a four year course in reinforced concrete and in 1912 a course in structural engineering all examined by the City and Guilds of London Institute. In 1922, Sir Robert Blair (LCC Education Officer) wrote, '…the Brixton School is easily the first and most complete school of building in the world'. The Board of Education classified the School as a College of Further Education in 1928 and the following year a three year day course was introduced leading to the Ordinary and Higher National Diploma in Building or the Intermediate Examination of the Royal Institute of British Architects or the Chartered Surveyors Institute.

In 1943 it became the Brixton School of Building and after the Second World War the School rapidly expanded so that by 1949 the number of full time students exceeded 400, studying courses in architecture, surveying and structural engineering. In 1956 Brixton was designated a regional college, and the governors decided not to concentrate on work at higher levels, but to retain its craft work and lower level teaching.

Under the government's policy for higher education, given in the White Paper 'A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges', published in 1966, the higher level studies at Brixton would have to be continued within a new institution based on the polytechnic model. Brixton School of Building became part of the Polytechnic of the South Bank in 1970, along with the Borough Polytechnic, City of Westminster College and the National College for Heating, Ventilating, Refrigeration and Fan Engineering. Five of the six departments from Brixton became the new Polytechnic's Faculty of Construction, Technology and Design. The sixth department, along with some work from other departments formed the Vauxhall College of Further Education. The faculty moved into a new building on the Wandsworth Road in 1972, a decade after the first draft schedule of accommodation was made.


Scope and content/abstract:

Contains the records of the Brixton School of Building. The collection has been arranged into the following categories:

BSB/1 Works in Converting the Baths in Ferndale Road into a Technical Institute, 1902;

BSB/2 Prospectuses, 1904-1971;

BSB/3 Historical Publications: three publications charting the history of the School, 1955-1979;

BSB/4 Magazines: issues of the School's in-house magazine, 1950-1963;

BSB/5 Distribution of Prizes and Exhibition Work: programmes listing the students receiving awards in different categories of study, 1948-1960;

BSB/6 Syllabuses, Course Notes and Examination Papers: syllabus information for courses in Public Health Engineering, course notes for teachers on a variety of subjects and exam papers for internal and external examination, 1953-1970;

BSB/7 Administration: papers on various courses provided by the School, 1960s;

BSB/8 Professional Publications: a booklet regarding metrication of the UK construction industry and journal articles regarding Public Health Engineering written by a staff member 1963-1977;

BSB/9 Photographs, c.1910-1930s.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection is catalogued.

Conditions governing access:

The collection is available to the public, except for records restricted under the Data Protection Act. Please contact the University Archives Centre for details. 24 hours notice is required for research visits.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Reproduction is at the discretion of University Archives Centre staff

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The majority of the records were acquired on the amalgamation of the Brixton School of Building into the Polytechnic of the South Bank in 1970. Some additional material was donated by a former student. BSB/2/9-48 and BSB/4/3-19 were previously held by Lambeth College Learning Resources Centre, having survived in the library of Vauxhall College then Lambeth College. They were transferred to Lambeth Archives in 2017, then to London South Bank University in 2023.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The majority of the records were acquired on the amalgamation of the Brixton School of Building into the Polytechnic of the South Bank in 1970. Additional material was donated by a former student.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The London Metropolitan Archives holds the following records:

Plans of Brixton School of Building, Ferndale Road (Catalogue Reference: GLC/AR/BR/19/1559);

Photos of Brixton School of Building, 1911-1976;

Reports of the Education Officers Department of the London County Council, 1914-1954.

The National Archives holds records on Brixton School of Building, created by the Department of Education and Science, 1945-1967 (Catalogue Reference: ED 114/1265).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
December 2009.

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