Impington Village College: students engaged in a domestic science lesson, 1939
Designer: Edwin Maxwell Fry and Walter Gropius
© RIBA Library Photographs Collection
This staged photograph displays how the architect and college administrators wanted daily life in the new facilities to be seen. Keen to ensure that their projects were regarded as successful, it was common throughout the 20th century for architects and schools to distribute images that portrayed calm and organised spaces for learning.
The students here are like machines; their rolling pins, bowls and baking trays are strictly placed and aprons perfect. The classroom walls are clad in sanitary white tiles, and aluminium windows open at the same angle. The instructor stands authoritatively in a pristine white jacket. Modernism, seemingly forward-thinking and stylistically progressive, demanded a homogeneous school experience.