Demolition of Pimlico School begins
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.