More about Beecholme

Beecholme is also the first postwar "mixed development" housing scheme in Hackney, with a mixture of houses and flats with the taller block having five storeys and containing one-bedroom and bedsit accommodation. It is featured in Volume 15 of Hackney History and was the site of Beecholme House, the family home of Maj. John André (d. 1780), who was executed as a British spy in the American War of Independence.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Old Schoolhouse Clapton Arts Trust presentation

View the presentation at
The Clapton Arts Trust video channel
on YouTube here

The Heritage Lottery Fund want to be assured that the project has wide local support
so please write your letter of support for
the Old Schoolhouse project: the building's restoration and the Clapton Arts Trust's proposed educational & recreational uses to

If you would like to volunteer or become involved at a more practical level, contact the trust at the same email address

About the Clapton Arts Trust:

The Clapton Arts Trust is a Charitable Association Trust, whose members range from local ward councillors, local residents and local group representatives to professional artists & designers (graphic & urban) as well as heritage experts (conservation committee members and a conservator).

Their stated mission is to advance the arts, crafts, culture and heritage for the benefit of the community in Hackney through the acquisition of heritage buildings and by providing education in the arts and promoting an awareness and appreciation of heritage…
   ..and help advance established & emerging artists through the establishment of an artistic and cultural quarter in the Clapton area. 

The Old Schoolhouse
(see presentation)

...had been a cause for concern for members (and the local community) even before the trust was formed late 2010, so when it was, the schoolhouse was named in our constitution “objects” as being a heritage building we wished to “regenerate”.

It was formerly the St James's Mission School and is a Grade II listed building which for some years has been on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk register.
It is situated within the Lea Bridge Conservation Area on the west bank of the River Lea Navigation in the London Borough of Hackney.

Over the last few winters it has deteriorated as the presentation clearly shows.

Fortunately, it is still eminently restorable, with a virtually untouched interior full of original features.

The Clapton Arts Trust, with the help of RIBA heritage architect Louise Goodison, Director of Cazenove architects, hopes to restore the building with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund - and other funding bodies, as the HLF will supply only 60%. 

Once restored, the main day to day activity will be a "living Victorian classroom" with leader/teacher in period costume, using period equipment wherever possible, providing curriculum based classes for schools and colleges.

There will be a lot more going on though, from special themed events and notable date events & projects to whole series of "heritage" and "non-heritage" arts activities - and some cross-over "art+heritage" practical activities.

A series of evening and weekend courses and workshops open to adults, developed with the Clapton Arts Trust working professional artists and craftsmen, will be established in addition to more mainstream art and craft activity (exhibitions and art,craft, music workshops).

One of the cross-over heritage/art projects will be to develop the concepts behind narrowboat art which was on the point of extinction until a recent resurgence of interest produced by modern exponents of the craft.

Examples of other heritage/art courses proposed are nineteenth century photographic techniques and Victorian printing with flatbed or letterpress practical classes.It will be possible to cater for beginners and intermediate with specialist workshops for advanced and professionals.

In addition there will be scope for promotional events and film & theatrical location work in what will be a traditional stonebuilt Victorian schoolhouse building in a riverside setting. 

The local cultural and social history of Clapton is well documented in the histories of local families such as the Radleys who operated a boatyard at Lea Bridge for over one hundred years so, in conjunction with Hackney Archives, it is proposed to make this information available on-line for visitors, students and local residents.

In fact, taking it a step further, verbal history taking is proposed.

A series of guided walks along the river and around Clapton will be developed in partnership with the Hackney Society and other organizations and local people will be trained as heritage walk leaders.

The Schoolhouse will become quite a Cultural Centre, with a lot of very appealing creative, educational and recreational activities - something for just about everyone.

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