The Auction Rooms
DescriptionIn 1836, members of the non-conformist Baptist Church in Milton Road decided that provision should be made for the daily instruction of children of dissenting parents whose poverty prevented them supplying a means for their education. Consequently, the British School was built by subscription opposite the church and opened in 1841 for around 200 children.
The building, on what was then the main route to Twyford, is of red brick, laid in rat trap bond with cast iron windows and timber sliding slashes. It still retains its classic features both externally and internally (where beams and windows still remain in the main and ante rooms).
The school was run on the Lancaster model under the principles of the British and Foreign School Society. Joseph Lancashire's plan was the monitoring system whereby older pupils would instruct the younger ones, with the master standing at one end on a raised dias, facing rows of benches. In side passageways small groups would gather around lesson boards hung on the walls. Hence, ventilation, daylight and quietness were of paramount importance, reflected in the open truss roof and pivoting windows.
Following the advent of state education, the trustees converted the rooms for use as a Sunday School and this remained as such until the building was sold in the 1990s.
The building is grade II listed and is used by Martin and Pole as an auction and storage room, with the venue appearing on television programmes.
Because of its contribution to Wokingham’s heritage, this building is part of the Wokingham Society’s Blue Plaque Trail. A leaflet giving details of all of the buildings on the Trail can be obtained from the Wokingham Town Hall Information Centre and Wokingham Library. An electronic version is available from www.wokinghamsociety.org.uk The Trail is also available on a downloadable App called Wokingham Town History.
SourceWokingham Society’s Blue Plaque Trail.
“The Auction Rooms,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed September 20, 2020, https://www.wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0311.