Oxford History: Schools


Central Boys’ School, Gloucester Green

Gloucester Green School in 1902

The above picture is dated 1901 by the artist and was published in The Builder of 25 January 1902. The accompanying text reads:


This school is situated in Gloucester Green, and as some old cottages of a picturesque nature had to be destroyed in order to make room for the new building, the School Board wished the new school to be kept as far as possible of a picturesque character.

As the Market-place is often very noisy, it was thought desirable not to place any classrooms facing that direction; the cloakrooms and other offices were, therefore, brought to the front, and bay windows introduced in them to obtain the character desired by the Board. This part of the building is of Doulting stone, the rest being of red and grey brick, and the whole being covered with Yorkshire stone slates.

The site being exceedingly irregular, a triangular hall, top-lighted, has been introduced, the classrooms being grouped round it, with a manual classroom approached by a separate staircase in the rear.

Mr. John Wooldridge, of Oxford, was the builder, his contract being about 5,700l., and Mr. Leonard Stokes, of Westminster, the architect. The drawing was exhibited in last year’s Royal Academy exhibition.

Images above doorAbove: The carvings above the door show St Anne (the patron saing of teachers) on the left facing the girls
(which is odd, as this was a boys' school) and King Alfred on the right facing the boys

The Congregationalists opened the first Central Boys’ School in 1871 in a building on the east side of Gloucester Green behind their church. It was an undenominational school with no compulsory religious education, and attendance by 1889 was 192.

In 1898 the school was taken over by the School Board, which built the new school shown above on the north side of Gloucester Green between 1898 and 1900.

In 1921 the school war reorganized to take boys aged from ten to sixteen inclusive, with entrance by examination.

Old School pub sign

This school closed in 1934, when it was rehoused at Southfield with the Municipal Secondary School.

The school building was subsequently used for many years as bus offices.

From the early 1990s to 2003 it housed Oxford City’s Information Centre on the western side. The Old School pub (whose sign is shown on the left) occupied the eastern side from the early 1990s to about 2006.

In December 2006 the whole building became the Spice Valley Bangladeshi and Indian Restaurant.

Old School in 2008

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 18 October, 2018

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