School plans belong to diocese

MADAM - Your fascinating piece about the 1873 plans for Branscombe Village School raises a few quiet concerns. First, as it is a church school, the plans belong to the Diocese.

MADAM - Your fascinating piece about the 1873 plans for Branscombe Village School raises a few quiet concerns. First, as it is a church school, the plans belong to the Diocese. The belief that the school is the right body to hold the documents is almost certainly mistaken.

Documents of this kind need to be held by a body which can ensure that when they are inspected it will always be by people wearing cloth gloves. Even the lady in your picture would be shocked to see the damage done to old plans by the natural grease in the fingers of those who have handled them in the past (as she is shown doing).

I recall studying the plans of a 1950s school where finger marks had over time obliterated crucial details (such as the scale). Many older plans are in even worse condition.

This is one of the reasons why there are County archives like that in Exeter, but the Diocesan


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Education Officer will work to similar rules.

More interesting, probably, would be to find out the relationship between these designs and the standard manuals of elementary school plans issued, over several decades, by a government office in London and by the Church. These explain why Victorian schools up and down the country are so similar. My own recollection of them, and the book based on them, suggests that the local architect might not have been quite as original in his design as his clients may have supposed.

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JOHN PEARCE

21 Newlands Close

Sidmouth

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