Bancroft's School was founded in 1737 as a result of a bequest of 1728 by Francis Bancroft for the establishment of an almshouse and charitable school for 100 boys, to be run by the Drapers' Company. The original School and Almshouses were in Mile End Road in East London, but in 1884 a new site was sought in rural surroundings for the sake of the pupils' health. Bancroft's School moved to Woodford Green in 1889 and its collegiate style buildings and chapel remain, although the school has been extended over the years. The buildings are ranged around a landscaped quadrangle laid to grass, divided in two by a flagstone path with a central war memorial of 1920. The quadrangle is partly cloistered and has perimeter paths with a series of benches along the sides. The west side of the quadrangle has a screen consisting of a series of arches with ornamental railings and central gateway leading onto the terrace that overlooks the main school playing fields and cricket field.
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Bancroft's School was founded in 1737 as a result of a bequest of 1728 by Francis Bancroft of the City of London for the establishment of an almshouse and charitable school for 100 boys, to be run by the Drapers' Company as Trustees. Bancroft was buried in St Helen's Bishopsgate (q.v.) and the stone medallion with coat of arms rescued from his tomb in 1892 is placed over the internal entrance arch to the quadrangle. The original Bancroft's School and Almshouses were in Mile End Road in the East End, but in 1884 as London became increasingly unhealthy, a new site was sought in rural surroundings for the sake of the pupils' health. The Mile End site was sold to the Beaumont Trust who built the People's Palace, now the site of Queen Mary's College (q.v.). Bancroft's School moved to the current site in Woodford Green in 1889. The collegiate style school buildings designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield and paid for by the Drapers Company remain, and include the chapel, although the school has been extended over the years. It opened in Woodford Green with around 200 boys, mainly boarders, and now has some 960 day pupils of both sexes. Blomfield's grand red brick, stone-dressed buildings are ranged around a landscaped quadrangle that is laid to grass, divided in two by the east/west flagstone path which has a central white stone war memorial of 1920 designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield. The quadrangle is partly cloistered and has perimeter flagstone paths with a series of benches along the sides.
The quadrangle is entered from the east through an arch in the high gatehouse tower, this latter having two corner turrets from which there are fine views of the surrounding area; the west side of the quadrangle is partly cloistered, with screen consisting of a series of arches with ornamental railings and central gateway leading onto the terrace which overlooks the main school playing fields/cricket field. A one storey sports pavilion with clock tower overlooks the playing fields from the south. At the main school entrance on the High Road are iron war memorial gates dating from 1950. Planting in the quadrangle is minimal with a single ornamental tree of recent planting in each area of lawn, with tubs of evergreen shrubs at each corner of the quadrangle and along the west screen.
Bridget Cherry, Charles O'Brien, Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 5: East', Yale University Press, 2005 p367-9; Ian Dowling and Nick Harris, Images of London: Wanstead and Woodford, Tempus Publishing 2003 ed, p108; school information sheet for Open House