School Court

Former boys school, now School Court
Former boys school, now School Court

Posted - December 26, 2012

Former boys'school

This Grade II listed building on Great Clarendon Street was once the Boys’ School for St. Paul’s parish. Before the 1870 Education Act the provision of public education was the responsibility of the local parish churches. Not all parishes had the means or the will to build and maintain them. St. Paul’s, however, with its strong Tractarian tradition, strongly supported the provision of free, or heavily subsidised, education

When St.Barnabas parish was created out of that of St.Paul’s in 1869 the stone building was transferred to the new parish and became the St. Barnabas Boys’ School while the St. Paul’s boys moved to new premises in Juxon Street built for them by Fr. Noel, the first Vicar of St. Barnabas at a cost of £700. St. Barnabas Girls’ and Infants School was built in 1872 facing Cardigan Street and backing on to the Boys’ school. This site was also gifted by Venables. When the 1870 Education Act came into force the schools remained church property and the buildings were maintained by the parishes but by the 1920s the buildings were in need of extensive repair to meet the rising standard of the curriculum. In 1927 St.Barnabas was able to raise the necessary money and keep the full age range of primary school education but St.Paul’s could not and the senior classes were moved away. By 1963 St.Paul’s schools had closed and the older children at St.Barnabas moved to the new Cherwell School.

When the old buildings were finally abandoned and the school moved to its present site, the buildings were sold to the Council only on condition that the land should be used to rehouse Jericho residents dispossessed by the urban renewal and a number of lucrative commercial offers were rejected. Sheltered housing has been built on the re-named School Court and the existing stone building has been divided into three family homes.

Did you know?

Cranham Street used to be a blot on the city

Before Grantham House was built, the site became notoriously derelict, making Cranham Street according to the local press a ‘blot on the city’ – wrecked by local children, and a refuge for rats and for ‘layabouts sleeping off the drink’ who were repeatedly evicted by the police.

Margaret Thatcher used to live here?

In her Oxford days, she lived at 12 Richmond Road. It is alleged she shared the house with two red-hot communists who lived on a diet of sausages. This may account for her later views on socialists and known dislike of sausages.