Gad’s Hill School

Gad’s Hill Junior School in Higham, Kent, previously operated within Dickens House, a Grade I listed former residency of Charles Dickens. Used for some years as an independent school with accommodation, the confined nature of the buildings made life increasingly difficult for teaching staff and the site was not fit for purpose. Clague was asked to design two new buildings and allow the school to cater for juniors and seniors. This also meant the historic house could be refurbished and used as a visitor centre.

Gad’s Hill in Higham, Kent, is formerly home to renowned Victorian author Charles Dickens. It had previously been used as an independent school, with accommodation and some later additions clustered around the main house.

Due to the nature of the Grade I listed buildings, the school found it increasingly difficult to operate within their confines and needed a way in which to improve and increase its space. Gad’s Hill Junior School asked us to design two new, bespoke buildings to help increase its intake to include seniors. This would then mean Dickens House could be given over to be refurbished and used as a visitor centre.

Weaving itself around an existing, converted stable, the senior block is comprised mostly of teaching accommodation and a library spread over three storeys. We used this new block as an opportunity to relocate the car park and incorporate a new entrance driveway.

Construction of the junior block began in 2011 and comprises a sports hall, kitchen, school and dining halls and teaching accommodation over two floors. We ensured our designs followed the trend of the site and landscape. The new, linear building is constructed over the former car park.