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Victorian school building in Shoreditch keeps roof playground for time being

PUBLISHED: 10:26 19 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:27 19 February 2013

Former Rochelle school building in Club Row

Former Rochelle school building in Club Row

Spitalfields Life

Campaigners have stopped a Victorian school building losing its unique rooftop covered playground which they say would have changed the character of the two-storey structure out of all recognition.

Artist Lucinda Rogers' impression of the Rochelle buildingArtist Lucinda Rogers' impression of the Rochelle building

A scheme to redevelop the former Rochelle Infants’ that fronts onto the Arnold Circus conservation area behind Shoreditch Circus has been kicked into touch by Tower Hamlets Council.

A scheme to redevelop the former Rochelle Infants’ that fronts onto the Arnold Circus conservation area behind Shoreditch Circus has been kicked into touch by Tower Hamlets Council.

It would have added another storey to the ornate building with its Queen Anne-style gable over the entrance.

But the idea was rejected at last Wednesday’s development committee after a petition by veteran conservationist Tom Ridge on the ‘Spitalfields Life’ website. Councillors threw out the proposal to turn it into a retail complex and arts gallery.

But present owner James Moore, who leases it out for art exhibitions, can reapply later with modified proposals.

Rochelle School first opened as Nichol Street Infants’ in 1879 for the children of the notorious Old Nichol slum neighbourhood, also known as ‘The Jago’, which was replaced a decade later by the now-listed Boundary Estate opened by the Prince of Wales in 1900.

The school was designed by architect Edward Robson who was also responsible for the original People’s Palace in Mile End and the Jews’ Free School in Spitalfields.


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