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POPLAR TRAINING SCHOOL

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BISHOPS HILL, BRENTWOOD ADULT EDUCATION CENTRE, POPLARS HALL
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Poplar Training School was built in 1906 to accommodate around 700 children. It cost a total of £184,280 to construct. The architects were Holman and Goodman who designed the buildings in the form of a 'cottage homes' village, arranged around a large, open green. Children were sent to the school to be educated and trained in skills which would allow them to rise above pauperism in later life. There was a row of double cottages on the west side of the green for the boys with girls' cottages to the east. An elaborately decorated dining room accompanied the boys' cottages, whilst the girls prepared and served meals in their own cottages, as part of their domestic training. To the north of the village green was a gymnasium, a swimming bath, a boiler house and a water tower. To the south were an administrative block and a training base for laundry work. The school and superintendent's house were south of the boys cottages and the site also included a porters' lodge and a farm.

Boys were trained in a range of trades including boot making, tailoring, carpentry, baking and gardening. They could also participate in the school military band. Older girls trained as domestic servants and were taught cookery, needlework and laundry skills.

Most of the buildings were demolished in the 1980s with the exception of the school building itself, the dining room and porter's lodge. The school is a large, T-shaped building built of red brick with tiled roofs. In around 1974, it became an adult education centre. The dining room was a community hall in 2007 and is Grade II listed. It was restored between 1990 and 1991 following disuse and vandalism. It is a built in a Flemish style of red brick with stone and terracotta dressings, and a double-pitched tiled roof. These buildings were of much greater architectural enrichment than those usually erected for 'pauper' children at the time.

The School nuilding was assessded for listing in 2011 but failed to meet the required criteria.


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