Colours for schools

As a keen collector of colour charts, I covet this chart showing colours for schools from the post-war period.

Colour chart showing recommended colours for use in schools

Colour chart showing recommended colours for use in schools

After WWII came not only the baby boom but a commitment on the part of government to raise the school leaving age to 16, creating an urgent need for new schools. In Hertfordshire, Sir John Newsom was Chief Education Officer from 1940 to 1957 and oversaw the building of new schools at an unprecedented rate, which he achieved by pioneering the use of prefabrication.

Newsom rejected the grim ‘Horsa huts’ that the government had proposed should be used to create instant classrooms (Horsa was actually an acronym that stood for ‘Hutted Operation for Raising the School Leaving Age’). Instead he insisted that schools should be bright, airy spaces with large windows and panels of bright colours. He set aside one third of a percent of his building budget to pay for artworks to be installed in Hertfordshire schools and these included sculpture by Henry Moore and murals by Kenneth Rowntree and Peggy Angus.

The range of colours was developed by John Newsom and his team of architects with the paint manufacturers after they expressed exasperation at the lack of pure, bright colours with which to enliven the new schools.

I published an interesting biography of John Newsom back in 2005 (when I say ‘I’, I mean University of Hertfordshire Press, where I work).












A very fine chap.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s