Open House Festival

Acland Burghley School


Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis Architects, 1966

93 Burghley Road, NW5 1UJ

An important example of 1960s comprehensive school design in the Brutalist style. Acland Burghley has recently received support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for its ambitious ‘A Hall for All’ project and have welcomed in a resident orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a collaborative partnership which is a UK-first.

Getting there


Tufnell Park


Kentish Town West


4, 134, 390

Additional travel info

Bike storage facilities onsite



Accessibility notes

The first and second floors can be accessed in a wheelchair.


Reasons for Grade ll listing

Acland Burghley School, Camden, 1963-7 by Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis, is listed at Grade II status.

It was listed in March 2016 for the following principal reasons:

- Architectural interest: the design’s bold elevational treatment and skilful handling of pre-cast concrete components and their finishes confer a strong aesthetic while respecting the wider Victorian townscape.

- The jewel-like, top-lit assembly hall is a particularly notable feature where the use of timber and concrete gives a rich texture.

- Plan-form: the innovative plan, comprising three towers radiating from a central administration core with the linked assembly hall, remains relevant and fit for purpose, affording permeability and appropriate levels of accessibility combined with practical and humane functioning spaces.

- Architects: Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis were one of the country’s foremost post-war architectural practices with a number of listed educational buildings to their name.

- Historic interest: the London County Council was at the forefront of innovative architectural approaches to the design of non-selective secondary schools. Acland Burghley favourably compares with the listed Lilian Baylis and Haggerston Schools, and is a good example of a school commissioned from well-regarded architects during this formative period.

A Hall for All

An imaginative plan to transform the Brutalist, hexagonal hall at Acland Burghley school into a community arts and performance space – plus the first ever Museum of Brutalist Architecture (MoBA) in the UK – has been announced, after receiving initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project, which received a £110,000 grant thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will create a much-needed arts and performance space for the community. The overall plan for the site has been developed by local architects Reed Watts and has won planning permission from Camden Council. The project aims to transform this Grade II listed space by:

- Restoring the inside of the hall to its original, Brutalist glory
- Installing an underground earth duct passive ventilation system – the single most expensive element in the project – to minimise environmental impact
- Installing flexible, modern staging and seating for a capacity of up to 300 people plus disabled access to ensure all members of the community can participate both as audience members and performers
- Creating flexible backstage areas and updating the acoustics and lighting in order to facilitate world-class performances
- Revamping front of house facilities to ensure wide participation in a range of events
- Opening out the south side of the building for outdoor productions in front of a restored amphitheatre area

The race is now on to raise a further £1.3 million in the next year so further support is needed to reach this ambitious target. It’s hoped this will be achieved through established foundations and generous individual donors alongside smaller community fundraising events and ideas.

Find out more about the project here:

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

"This imaginative partnership takes collaboration between professional artists and the public education system into new and exciting territory in which creativity has a part to play in all aspects of the curriculum."
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England

In September 2020 the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment moved into our school in the first residency of its kind in the United Kingdom. Since then the partnership has continued to flourish and the orchestra has become fully embedded in the life of the school community. The OAE rehearses in our unique standalone Assembly Hall and have their offices in the main school building. They also provide a full education programme which works to enhance Acland Burghley’s curriculum offer.

This includes the Musical Connections project with the Additional Educational Needs Faculty and the creation of the Moon Hares opera in collaboration with the Dance and Music departments as well as local primary schools which culminates in an annual performance at the South Bank Centre.

For students interested in the production side of managing an international orchestra, there is also the opportunity to join the Dreamchasing Young Producers Club. This innovative scheme mentors and trains young people in the skills of management, creative design and production. The OAE run sessions every week after school.

For staff, there is the opportunity to join the OAE and Acland Burghley staff choir as well as joint socials and many more possibilities for cross-organisational collaboration.

Online presence


Back to top of page