Tuesday 11 October 2011

Colet Court, Hammersmith Road W6

John Colet was the Dean of St Pauls in the 16th century. A friend of Erasmus and a member of the reformist tendency in the Catholic Church, he founded St Paul's School and endowed it with a large part of the fortune he inherited from his City merchant father (he had no family - as an ordained priest he was celibate and all 21 of his siblings had died).
In the late 19th century the school had decamped to Hammersmith and was housed in a magnificent building by the great Alfred Waterhouse. The junior school, named after Colet despite the fact that it was actually founded by one Samuel Bewsher in 1881 was housed in a building across the road, designed in 1890 by architect W.H. Spaull of Oswestry. In 1968 the schools moved to their current campus in Barnes and the Waterhouse building was scandalously demolished except for the High Master's House. Colet Court was converted into offices.
A bust of the Dean is positioned at the centre of the facade, but for me the most charming part of the building is the skyline with its fancy Tudor chimneys and terracotta falcon.

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