St. Clement Danes Primary School, London


Date Built
Drury Lane
St Clement Danes Primary on Drury Lane is a one form entry school with an attached nursery.  The school traces its history to 1700 but has been in this building since 1907.  The school's website explains that the present building was completely refurbished in 2007 on the occasion of their 110 year anniversay.

In 1898 the school, in its previous building, was informed by the London County Council that it intended to acquire the site of the school for the purpose of building a new road across it.  The school's history explains that, "... Although work began on the new road in 1900, peripheral sites such as the schools were not needed at once. As late as April 1902, the Governors put in a claim for £196,997 based on the cost of a new site with new buildings and fixtures. The sum was truly astronomical and was not accepted. The LCC did, however, suggest two alternative sites that they were prepared to give as compensation, one in Houghton Street and the other in Drury Lane. Neither was suitable and over the next year discussions continued on finding a better site; one site was inappropriate as it would be 'entirely surrounded by high buildings, so that the small playgrounds would be merely cold and cheerless yards, and any School placed upon it could not be properly lighted, so that the rooms would inevitably be dismal and gloomy'.  In October 1904, a new site was offered in Drury Lane. At last a site of the right size had been found."

On December 6 1907 the memorial stone was laid.  "... the Treasurer, Herbert Haynes Twining laid the memorial stone which can be seen on the outside wall today. The construction must have been well advanced, for it was decided to hold a formal opening early the following year. A succession of dignitaries - the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Kensington and Lord Chief Justice of England - was approached to perform the ceremony and each declined. Eventually the Governors were reduced to inviting the Archdeacon of Middlesex. Even then, to suit his diary, the opening had to be deferred until 20 May 1908. Nevertheless, the opening ceremony went ahead and, to celebrate, a special peal was rung on the bells of the parish church."

The school's history adds that after the new building was occupied, "No small factor in the health of the children was the uncleanness of the school. It seems remarkable that having spent so much on erecting the fine new premises, very little was done to keep them clean. In 1910, Miss Sullivan commented that 'the frequency of the epidemics since we have been in the new buildings causes me anxiety and leads me to suggest that the floors of the Infant Rooms should be scrubbed every week, as they were in the old buildings. At present they are scrubbed one in three weeks'. The total absence of hot water on the upper floors of the new school cannot have helped. "

The refurbishment of 2007 gave the school, "A brand new kitchen ...  In the following year the whole school was redecorated. The Information and Communication Technology suite was also completely updated with all the latest computer technology and a further range of groups rooms were established to provide spaces for children to work intensively with adults.  In the summer of 2010, the ground floor of the building was remodelled to provide a new reception area which allows more space for parents and the first stage of a lift installation took place, making the school truly accessible for all. If you wander through our school today you will go through classrooms that are light and airy, with comfort cooling that improves the working environment. You will see teachers using the latest technologies to support learning."

As with other inner-city schools on cramped sites, St Clement Danes has a rooftop play area with a protective fence.