The Oldest School Science Laboratory

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When William Tuckwell designed the school buildings he always intended science to be at the centre of the school’s curriculum. The laboratory he fitted out in 1873 is believed to be the first purpose-built science classroom in any British school.

‘No matter how rough or shabby a room, … it will be well ventilated, have gas and water laid on, and will hold sixteen to twenty boys’ wrote the Rev William Tuckwell in Nature issue 1, 1869.

The need for specialised science teaching led to other rooms in the school being taken over such as the physics classroom pictured here. Physics and chemistry were the only two subjects to have dedicated classrooms up to the 1940s.

On 6 July 1957 HRH Princess Margaret opened a new science block, consisting of four laboratories, two preparation rooms and a science library. Incorporated into the block was a war memorial and gateway; the whole building being dedicated to the Old Aluredians who gave their lives in World War II. The old Tuckwell Laboratory was demolished to make way for the gateway into the Memorial Quad but not before it had given over 80 years of service.


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