We are delighted to be able to offer DVS members the opportunity to visit Aldin House and chapel, two Grade II Listed buildings at St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School in Slough. The site has a fascinating social, industrial, educational and architectural history, some published and some being currently researched and pieced together by DVS committee member and heritage designer Paul Bonnici-Waddingham, and Slough historian Tony Sargeant, both hosts of our visit.
The original school was attended by Percy de Paravicini of Datchet, among others. Jock Kinross of Riding Court also sent his daughters here. At the start of WWI, the school accommodated a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital where many Datchet women volunteered, helping to care for the wounded soldiers. Links to the village continue to this day.
Our visit: We will begin in the front grounds of the school where the Dolphin Inn once stood, on the important London to Bath mail coach run, and where ‘pleasure gardens’ attracted day visitors to an otherwise agricultural area. We will then take a tour through the lower floors of Aldin House, a fine example of mid-Victorian Italianate architecture which was built prospectively in the 1860s as a private residence using bricks made on the grounds. (At the time brickworks were a major local industry.)
Within a few years of being completed, the still unoccupied house and grounds were leased to an Eton Master to create a preparatory school for younger Etonians – St Michael’s – resulting in further development of the site and the loss of the Inn. This marked the beginnings of the site’s heritage in education provision. The chapel, the next part of our tour, bookends the extended range of buildings to the west and has been attributed to the architect Gilbert Scott with later extension by Alfred Waterhouse, designer of London’s Natural History Museum.
We will then head back into Aldin House and to the upper floors with the opportunity to complete our commentary with the benefit of the splendid views of the rear school grounds. Light refreshments will be available at the end of our visit.
When: Saturday 24 March 2018, 10am-12pm.
Where: We will meet within the front grounds, by the coach parking area, of St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School, 1 Langley Road, Slough SL3 7AF. The school entrance is on the junction of Bath Road and Langley Road. We have been given permission to park on site, around the perimeter of the circular drive to the front. If you need a lift, or can offer someone a lift, please let us know.
Cost: There is no charge for the visit, although a small charge may be made to cover the cost of refreshments afterwards. You may also wish to make a donation.
How to book: Places are limited so this visit will be restricted to members only, on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve your place, please telephone Marjorie Clasper on 01753 545110, or email marjorie.clasper(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)tiscali.co.uk
Please bring your DVS membership card with you.