Survey of London: Volume 8, Shoreditch. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1922.
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XXIV.—THE SHOREDITCH TECHNICAL INSTITUTE (Formerly ASKE'S ALMSHOUSES AND CHARITY SCHOOL).
The London County Council.
General description and history.
Robert Aske, by his will dated 18–20th January, 1688–9, bequeathed to the Haberdashers' Company the sum of £20,000, to be laid out in the erection of an almshouse for 20 poor single freemen of the company and in the maintenance and schooling of 20 poor boys, sons of freemen. On 20th December, 1690, a private Act of Parliament was obtained settling the charity upon the company.
The site of the almshouse and school was purchased on 13th June, 1690, (fn. 1) and the buildings, designed in 1692 by Dr. Robert Hooke, (fn. 2) were erected in 1695. They were composed of brick and stone, and consisted of a chapel (fn. 3) and school-rooms in the centre, with ten tenements on each side, terminating with projecting wings containing school rooms. There was an open colonnade in front on the ground floor, 340 feet in length, (fn. 4) formed by a series of stone columns supporting the storey above (see Plates 71 and 72). The whole block of buildings was set well back from the road behind a brick wall, which had a central gateway. (fn. 5)
The centre block was raised above the roof of the tenements, and had a moulded pediment, in which was placed a clock. Over the central doorway was a niche which contained a statue of the founder holding a scroll in his hand, with inscription beneath.
These premises, having become greatly dilapidated, were pulled down in 1822 and rebuilt in 1825–7, on three sides of a square, (fn. 6) from the designs of David Riddel Roper. (fn. 7) In this scheme the school buildings were increased in area.
In 1873 a new scheme for the administration of the Aske charity was approved. As a result, the almshouses were demolished, and the school buildings greatly enlarged for use as day schools for 300 boys and 300 girls. At the same time day schools for boys and girls were also established at Hatcham. In 1898 the Hoxton schools were removed, that for the boys being transferred to West Hampstead, and that for the girls to Acton. The Shoreditch premises were purchased by the London County Council, and are now utilised as the Shoreditch Technical Institute, the small open space in front being maintained for the use of the public.
The present front consists of a stone tetrastyle portico of the (Greek) Doric order as the central feature, with a heavy entablature and pediment, the frieze being enriched with carved laurel wreaths. The rest of the front is in two storeys, constructed in yellow brick, with stone dressings to the ground-floor openings and plain moulded cornice. The slate roof has semicircular-headed dormer windows. On each side of the entrance doorway under the portico there is a stone commemoration tablet, giving a general history of the Aske charity.
Condition of premises.
In the Council's collection are:
(fn. 8) General exterior of premises (Shoreditch Technical Institute) (photograph).
(fn. 8) Aske's Hospital, Hoxton (Bowles)—(photograph of print in Crace Collection). Hoxton Hospitall, 1720 (print in Strype's Stow).
The east prospect of Haberdashers' Almshouses at Hoxton, by B. Cole, 1739.
(fn. 8) View and plan of almshouses (photograph of print in possession of Haberdashers' Company).
Plan of Hoxton Hospital with the gardens, by J. Baker, 1795. (Photograph of plan in Brit. Mus. Addl. MSS.)
(fn. 8) Haberdashers' Almshouses, Hoxton, 1828 (Elmes and Shepherd's Metropolitan Improvements).
(fn. 8) Coloured perspective drawing presented to Haberdashers' Company (photograph).
Portrait of Robert Aske (artist unknown) in possession of Haberdashers' Company (photograph).
Tablet on exterior wall of portico, commemorating general history of Hospital buildings (photograph).
Tablet on exterior wall of portico, commemorating services of Benjamin Hawes (photograph).