Coopers Mansion House

Hidden behind a fence on Hawkwood Lane, a large old house, known as Coopers, and from which the adjacent school took its name, has been quietly but decidedly rotting over the last few decades. Most of the lead on the many roofs has been stolen, resulting in water damage, and a recent outbreak of dry rot meant that the building has been in danger of collapsing, and in urgent need of refurbishment.

History

The Mansion House was originally constructed around 1750 by Francis Cooper and consisted of a three storey central house, with full height canted bays on both sides. It was subsequently extended in both the 19th and 20th Century.

Its occupants have included Sir Richard Adams, a Baron of the Exchequer, Mr Richard Stone, a City banker, of Martin's Bank, Mr Bowden, who gave land to allow St Mary's Church to be built, Lord Richard Cavendish, and Charles Morley. William Gladstone, the Liberal Prime Minister, was a regular visitor in the late 19th Century.

The original 18th Century three storey section of the building is constructed of soft red facing brickwork to the South East (rear) elevation with large timber vertical sliding sash single glazed windows with glazing bars.  The North West elevation facing Hawkwood Lane is constructed of yellow London stock bricks with a painted stone string course, parapet and cornice.  The photograph below shows the eastern front of the house in the early 20th Century.

Coopers

Since 1908 it has been used as a school, and is now part of Coopers Technology College Academy, an occupied school providing secondary education to 1450 pupils.  The Mansion House has in recent years been primarily used for sixth-form student lessons, classroom learning, specialist support, and information technology suites, but the deterioration in its condition meant that it could not be used without significant repair. It is a listed building.

Refurbishment

Following extensive discussions and negotiations with the Government, funding has now been received to undertake the necessary permanent repairs which will prevent further damage and also preserve the character of the building. 

The following repairs have been carried out in order to restore the building:Coopers West Front

Look here for a slide show of the repair work.

The Mansion House is a significant feature of the College and also the local area.  These works will help to contribute in preserving the heritage, history and character of the area of Chislehurst.  The design of the repairs has taken into careful consideration the importance of preserving the character of the building.

The College is working with and taking advice from the London Borough of Bromley’s Conservation department and is following the necessary procedures to ensure all work is carried out in the correct manner and to the required standard.

The repair works are being undertaken by specialist conservation contractors adopting traditional conservation techniques whilst using only the best quality materials.  Coopers Technology College take great pride as custodians in having the opportunity to restore the building back to its former glory for future generations to enjoy.

Interior

Entering through the fine portico on the eastern side, a fine staircase, with finely carved balusters and tread ends is well preserved. There is a classical drawing room, with a marble fireplace, Ionic pilasters and a classical frieze. The long dining room has a fine plaster ceiling (probably a copy) and a carved wooden fireplace. Other rooms have ornate fireplaces that have been well preserved.

Many alterations have been made over the last century to enable it to be used as a school.

Coopers South

Read about the recent opening of the restored house