Thursday, July 23, 2015

Goldsmiths Sayes Court Institute: for 'bona fide artizans and working people' only (1896)

In the late 19th century, the Goldsmiths Institute in New Cross had a satellite 'Sayes Court Institute' in Evelyn Street, Deptford. According to the 1896 Goldsmiths handbook (a copy of which is in the Special Collections archive in Goldsmiths library), the building (pictured)  included a gymnasium hall, reading room/games room and four classrooms.

Membership was restricted to 'bona fide artizans and working people' only, with the benefits including access to Goldsmiths Library and Swimming Bath as well as classes.Use of the building was offered by W.J.Evelyn, who was one of the Governors of the College. Evelyn, a descendant of the 17th century John Evelyn who lived at Sayes Court, bought the site from the Government in 1869 and created what is today Sayes Court park. The building offered for the use of Goldsmiths was a former dockyard building. I'm not sure how long the Institute continued.

The building, also known as Sayes Court Hall, was originally built as a model making facility for the dockyard. It is shown on this 1914 map in the north west corner of Sayes Court Gardens.

1914 Map -source: Sayes Court wikipedia

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