Port Kells Elementary School
19076 88 Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, V4N, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Port Kells Elementary School is a large one-storey stucco-clad school building with a twin-gabled facade and a hipped roof, situated on the south side of 88 Avenue, across the street from the Port Kells Church, and west of the village of Port Kells in Surrey. This historic place also includes a large grassed field with mature coniferous and deciduous trees located behind the school.
Port Kells Elementary School is significant as an early surviving school in Surrey, as a demonstration of the growth and development of the community, and as an indication of the value that was placed on public education. The first Port Kells school opened in 1891 on the Telegraph Trail, within the boundaries of Langley. The current Port Kells Elementary School opened in 1907 and has played a pivotal role in the life of local children for over a century. Modifications and additions made to the school over the years illustrate the school’s evolution and reflect the continuing population growth of the community. Despite a large extension on eastern side, the building still retains its original historic character and is a landmark in the neighbourhood.
The school is also valued for its association with the development of the Port Kells neighbourhood. Port Kells was established in 1885 by two Irish pioneers, both named Henry Kells, who planned a town site on the Fraser River waterfront straddling the Surrey and Langley municipal border. Although no major development materialized, Port Kells remained as a modest service area for the local community. Rail service was established by 1891, and when the tracks were eventually removed in 1929, the former rail route between Port Kells and Cloverdale was paved for automobile travel, dramatically improving access to the area.
Port Kells Elementary School is further valued as an example of the standardized architecture that typified educational institutions at this time. The original structure, with its rectangular plan, twinned front-gabled projections and paired entries, followed a design provided by the provincial Department of Lands & Works in 1907. This practical design was easy and inexpensive to execute and provided separate entrances for boys and girls on the north side. In accordance with mandated school policy, the windows are banked along the east and west sides to allow abundant natural light, leaving sufficient wall space for large blackboards.
Source: City of Surrey Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Port Kells Elementary School include its:
- location west of the village of Port Kells on 88 Avenue
- institutional form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one-storey height and square plan, pyramidal roof, parallel twin front-gabled projections with flared bellcast eaves, and separated entries on the north side
- wood-frame construction with original wooden drop siding covered by later stucco and original cedar shingle roof covered with later duroid shingles
- original wooden frame window openings
- associated landscape features, such as the grassed schoolyard and mature coniferous and deciduous trees
- continuous use as a school site
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Primary or Secondary School
Architect / Designer
Department of Lands and Works
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Surrey Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection