Hampstead Art School sets sights on empty university mansion

A Hampstead art school is calling on King’s College London to throw it a lifeline and allow the facility to stay in the community.

Hampstead School of Art will be forced to move out of its home in Kidderpore Avenue while a developer rebuilds the school.

But the arts school has its eye on a Grade-II listed university building across the road as an ideal temporary home for the institution, founded by sculptor Henry Moore in the 1960s.

Principal Isabel Langtry is in talks with the college to try to secure a two or three-year lease for the vacant Kidderpore Hall.

Mrs Langtry, who trained in pure sculpture at Central Saint Martins, said: “We desperately need that building so we can stay in the heart of the community.

“Henry Moore and Jeannette Jackson started this school for the promotion of local artists and teaching of the community and it is what this school still does.

“There is not another building in the area that would be suitable and it is just sitting there empty at the moment.”

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Grecian-style Kidderpore Hall was built in 1843 for East India leather trader John Teil.

In 1882, it was snapped up by Westfield College, which later became part of King’s College, and used as a Christian women’s college.

A spokesman for King’s College said: “King’s will continue to work with Barratt Homes to help find a solution to Hampstead School of Art’s accommodation issues prior to the construction of their new purpose-built facility. But the college is unfortunately unable to offer accommodation on its remaining Kidderpore estate.”

Mrs Langtry is optimistic that negotiations can continue with the college over Kidderpore Hall.

Barratt Homes, which has bought the old King’s student halls and Hampstead School of Art, has agreed to include a purpose-built arts school in its redevelopment plans. But Camden Council has yet to give the proposals a green light.

Mrs Langtry said: “Barratt Homes wants to retain the school in Hampstead and that’s an amazing thing.”

Hampstead School of Art is hosting a jazz evening on December 7 to raise money for the new school building. For details, visit www.art-school-hampstead.co.uk