Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Royal Victoria Patriotic Building

A couple of weekends ago we were in London for a family clan gathering, called to celebrate the 21st birthday of our niece Rachael, who also happens to be Andrew's god-daughter.
Birthday cup cakes

Sunday morning we took the dogs on a long walk across Wandsworth Common and Mortimer was in heaven. He is very much a dogs dog (as opposed to a people dog) and couldn't believe the amount of canines there were to play with.

We could be related!
He was also quite impressed with our host's new puppy Dexter, who although only 16 weeks played constantly.

Morts didn't even mind when Dexter swung from his ear or stole his blanket to sleep on.

Blanket thief
 He loved Tooting Common and was keen to show Dexter how to have fun.

First you start with the small stuff

Then you move up!

Yea that was fun!
I'm getting quite hungry actually

Anyway during our walk we stumbled across a magnificent Victorian Gothic building, known as the 'Royal Victoria Patriotic Building', built between 1857 and 1859 with money from the Royal Patriotic fund. I have to confess to never having heard of this but did some research and discovered that the fund was set up in 1854 by Queen Victoria who was concerned for the well- being of widows and orphans of British serviceman who were dying in the Crimean War. An appeal for donations was made and £1.5 million was raised - a staggering sum at that time.
Prince Albert was the first president of the Royal Commission responsible for the administration of the fund. Grants were made for hardship cases and to place orphans in existing schools. But with such a large sum raised it was decided to found and administer two new schools, one each for boys and girls. One of which was the building we had stumbled upon. The fund continued throughout the 19th century providing support during various Victorian conflicts.

But back to the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building. Originally called the Royal Victoria Patriotic Asylum it was intended for 'the Education and Training of three hundred Orphan Daughters of Soldiers, Seamen and Marines who perished in the Russian War, and for those hereafter who may require like succour'. You can read the complete history here.

Over the years the building has been used for many things, finally fallen into complete disrepair by the late 1970's and nearly demolished. However it was rescued and brought back to full glory and now has a mix of flats, studios, workshops, office space, a restaurant and a theatre.


It is a beautiful building with the very best of Victorian Gothic style, I hope that the photographs capture some of the grandeur.


  1. Despite my south London childhood, this is a new one on me too. What an interesting place, and if Mortimer had a good time too, a perfect day.

  2. I think that because it had been a succession of schools and then fell into near dereliction it passed by everyone's radar. At one point it was thought the best use for it was as a bird sanctuary. So a south London girl as well, next we'll find out we went to the same school!

    1. Just found your comment on my comment. Grey Coat Hospital.