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The Speech Room – Harrow School

Background & Brief

William Burgess was commissioned to design the building in 1871. The new building was erected to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the school. Burges’s original proposals of 1871 were subsequently modified in 1874. The building opened in 1877 in an incomplete state as the interior decoration had not been carried out – possibly due to lack of funds. Burgess death in 1881 and the loss of his personal input was another set back for the completion of the the Speech Room. No record of any decorations survive until c.1925 when the Proscenium Arch was elaborated with a polychrome design. Further works were carried out in 1975 for the filming of Young Winston which were funded by the film company.  Architectural Paint Research (APR) was commissioned to clarify the decorative history of the interior of the Speech Room and recommend options for the its future presentation.