Grade II* building at Pugin’s alma mater were much altered

Aerial view of Christ's Hospital, Horsham

Aerial view of Aston Webb’s Christ’s Hospital, Horsham. NRAP’s site is behind the tower

NRAP has won planning consent to demolish a grade II* listed building at Christ’s Hospital in West Sussex.

The school’s Horsham campus, which opened in 1902, was masterplanned and designed by Aston Webb incorporating some of the features from its original City of London home.

The campus has been much added to over the years and the building in question, the arts and crafts kitchen block, is much altered and in a state of disrepair.

Conservation officers wanted to preserve the building but the architect was backed by Historic England. 

“With a bit of care, attention and love it could have been brought back into service,” said NRAP director Richard Owers. ”That option was discussed but the school was adamant it wouldn’t give them the type of accommodation they wanted. So there was a good reason to go down that route, although it was a brave route.

“It is no small achievement to be given permission to demolish a large part of a grade II* listed building. 

“Ultimately it was a combination of the quality of the replacement building that convinced Historic England and the fact that the original’s architectural qualities had been eroded over time.”

In a statement the government’s heritage advisor said: “The design is articulated in a contemporary way that would provide a fitting first impression of this important school complex. The proposal includes public realm improvements around the new building which represents a substantial improvement on the current situation.”

The new scheme will provide a more flexible catering facility for the production of more than 800,000 meals a year. The scheme will also create classrooms and a new face to the northern façade, which now forms the main approach to the school.

NRAP was appointed in July 2016 following a competitive interview by the independent co-educational school where fees are calculated on the basis of a means test.

Past pupils include Augustus Pugin, co-designer of the Palace of Westminster, and it was used for the first series of reality TV show Rock School.

The project is out to tender. Construction is due to start on site early next year.