Preliminary design for an LCC nursery school, Kennington, London, 1939
Pencil and watercolour
Designer: Nugent Francis Cachemaille-Day
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections
The 1930s saw the rise of the Nursery School Association and greater public demand for early childhood education, creating a niche market for nursery school architecture. Over the course of the decade, the number of nursery schools in Britain more than doubled. Young architects sought these programmatically simple commissions with the assumption that a successful nursery would feed directly into work on primary and secondary schools.
Having just set up his own London office in 1936, N F Cachemaille-Day demonstrates in this rendering how an architect could use simple materials in very interesting and innovative ways to great effect. Without the generous space that Fry and Gropius enjoyed at the site in Impington, Cachemaille-Day's inner-city school maximises the potential of its location by arranging internal accommodations around a semi-enclosed courtyard. Like Impington and most schools after World War I, the nursery's demanding design brief restricted the architect to a single level.