This explore was a classic example of being lucky. The day before I’d spent researching numerous potential other explores in the area, and when the day finally came we discovered this place by walking past en-route to somewhere else.
The school was original known as Cardinal Griffin School, until 1991. The school was designed by the Architect David Stokes and built on the site of a former catholic church which was bombed in the war.
The foundation stone was laid by the Archbishop of Westminster and the school opened in September 1951. Architectural the design is very interesting as the classrooms were laid out in the ‘finger plan’ style to the north of the site to allow for landscaping of the south, providing a pleasant environment and open space for the local residents. In addition the internal spaces of the class rooms were kept free of load bearing walls, so that the design of the school could be more easily changed in the future. The whole building reflects the gothic style of tradtional catholic churches with features like coloured glass, vaulted ceilings and heavy weight structure. The school was mainly built with in-situ concrete and was completed on time and within budget, and was therefore seen as a small triumph over ‘pre-cast’ structures which epitomised post war Britain.
The school also featured in the film: One Wish Too Many in 1956.
The site is vacant and awaits demolition for 490 new houses.
[Edit AUG 2010] The site has now been partly demolished, the main hall is no longer