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Wednesday23 July 2014

Demolition of Pimlico School begins

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Demolition has begun at Pimlico School, the brutalist landmark in Westminster which has been the centre of a long-running listing battle.

The 1970 school’s swimming pool has already been bulldozed, and the Claverton Street entrance is shortly due to be torn down — in a move campaigners claim is an attempt to avoid possible spot listing ahead of the expiry of the school’s certificate of immunity in November.

Last December, Richard Rogers, John McAslan and RIBA president Sunand Prasad wrote to Westminster council calling for the building to be spared, but councillors voted unanimously to grant planning permission for a new school building by Architecture PLB.

Catherine Croft, director of the Twentieth Century Society, said: “I can’t see any reason for doing the demolition at this stage other than to make damn sure that it doesn’t get spot listed when the certificate of immunity runs out.

“To me, that seems an extraordinary pity because one never knows whether there might be an 11th-hour solution that might keep the building.”

The decision to begin demolition was also condemned by Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour opposition leader at Westminster City Council, who called for an inquiry to be launched. “There is an unseemly haste in bringing the demolition team on site before all the documentation has been signed,” he said.

As well as the destruction of the Claverton Street entrance, music classrooms will be demolished in preparatory work scheduled to run until April 4. But the majority of the building will remain until construction of the replacement school is complete.

The building’s architect, John Bancroft, said he was “quite horrified” by the council’s actions.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I live in Pimlico and I'm glad to see the back of it to be honest. I understand that it was an example of brutalist architecture, but it looked just awful next to the Thomas Cubitt Pimlico houses. Horrible bare metal window frames and depressing, dirty concrete. Good riddance Pimlico School.

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  • It was impractical; it was freezing in the winter, boiling in the summer and the heating was operated centrally...yet I'm sad to see it go. I'm a student at the school, and it's being replaced with something absolutely disgusting; one of these new labour/tory style office-type designs without much natural light, a lunch room with doors to outside which are constantly opening and getting stuck in mid-winter, narrow stairs, only one central corridor for each floor, and broken drains which make the 2nd floor stink of rotten eggs. We once entered our science room to see the gas taps all lit, because it was so cold. For the record, it's less than a year old. When finished, it will be much smaller, have fewer classrooms, no designated 6th form area and most certainly no swimming pool. We now never have swimming lessons anymore because all the slots at the leisure centre have been long-since booked up by other schools. Good thinking, Ed Balls.

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