For details of The Art & Music Schools, see N. Rhind: Blackheath Village & Environs, Vol 1, pp 199-208
William Webster (1856-1910) was almost solely responsible for the establishment of the Blackheath Conservatoire of Music, the Blackheath Art School, the Art Club and the erection of the Blackheath Concert Hall.
Webster and his friends established art and music schools for Blackheath on a non-profit making basis but created one institution to be run on stoutly commercial lines, in order to subsidise the building ion an art school and conservatoire. This was the Blackheath Art Club, constructed at the far end of Bennett Park.
Webster and his group set up the Government School of Art at No 41 Bennett Park in 1881, which became known as the Blackheath, Lee and Lewisham Government School of Art, moving to No 27 Bennet Park in 1884. Webster's ambition was to include an art school on the same site as the music school and concert hall and it opened in 1896. The school had 300 pupils attending classes in life, figure and landscape drawing and also applied art arts courses in subjects such as pottery, modelling, carving and sculpture, wood engraving, art needlework and graphic design drawing.
The success of the school led to the the building of a new studio block in 1907.
The Art School was affected by the Great War with the Army Pay Corps from the Blackheath Concert Hall taking over the Art School. where they remained until 1921. From 1928 the Principal was John Platt, a skilled wood engraver, who remained until 1941 when the buildings were again requisitioned for government use. The Ministry then occupying the Concert Hall expanded into the Art School and stayed for the next 41 years. until 1982.
The Art School reopened in September 1983. Facing falling rolls and economic recession, with few students able to cover tuition costs, the management of the art and music schools was combined into the Blackheath Conservatoire for Music & the Arts.
00178. Blackheath Conservatoire of Music and the Blackheath School of Art
28000. Blackheath School of Art - Artists & Students