Our History

This is a design drawing in pencil, ink, and wash on paper for Heathfield School by Philip Webb. The sheet contains exterior elevations, cross section elevations, and a plan for the school. There are also drawings of a hearth and fireplace, as well as detailed views of architectural features, including doors and parts of the roof, to show joinery. On the back is written: ‘Heathfield School.’

The National School at Heathfield, now called All Saints’ and St Richard’s Church of England Primary School, was Webb’s first of three school commissions. The school was originally built in 1816, and in 1861 John W Billing was commissioned to design a larger building to replace the earlier one. Billing died before his design was realised and Webb was replaced as the architect. Rather than design an entirely new structure, Webb modified Billing’s design and oversaw its completion in 1864.

Philip Speakman Webb (Oxford, 1831-Sussex, 1915) was a prominent British architect who designed numerous buildings throughout Great Britain. Known for his contributions to British vernacular architecture, Webb was also a skilled draughtsman, and designer of tableware, tiles, stained glass, and furniture. He also designed gravestones and memorials for his friends and clients. Webb lent his hand to many collaborative projects and worked closely with his colleagues, namely William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Edward Burne Jones. His precise drawings of animals, particularly birds, frequently adorn tiles, stained glass, textiles, and wallpaper produced by Morris and Co. Webb is best known for designing Morris’ Red House in Bexleyheath, as well as Clouds House, Naworth Castle, and several London town houses. Among his other accomplishments, Webb is attributed with laying the groundwork for the Arts and Crafts and Modern movements, establishing longstanding principles in historic preservation, and creating some of the most influential designs still studied and celebrated today.