Description of Historic Place
The Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is a well-built, one-storey, rectangular red brick building with classically derived proportions, a broad gable roof, returned eaves, and a small bell-tower. The building features a central door with a date stone above it on the front gable-end, raised and contrasting brick quoins at the corners, and symmetrical rows of large multi-paned windows with stone sills and contrasting brick arches on both side elevations. The Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is located on the northwestern edge of Pickering Township on Highway 7. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is a very good example of the historical theme of the development of a publicly funded system of education in Ontario, following the Common School Acts of 1846 and 1850. The Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is also one of the best early examples of a public institutional presence in Pickering Township, illustrating a significant phase of cultural development for the community in both recognizing the importance of education and supporting its funding through taxation.
The Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is a typical, small, red brick schoolhouse and is a good example of early rural school architecture resulting from the provincial standards for appropriate rural school design in the 19th century. Constructed of very good quality materials and craftsmanship, the Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is also a good example of the simple and adaptable functional design of the open, well-lit, one room layout of schoolhouses from this period.
The Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House reinforces the quaint character for which Brougham is famed. Located at the edge of the hamlet along Highway 7, the Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House is the first building marking the entrance to Brougham. It is familiar to both the village and the region due to its continued public use, now taking the form of a well-known art gallery.
Sources: Dana Johnson, (Former) S.S. # 10 Pickering Township, Brougham School (P.I.N. 680), 1613 Highway 7, Pickering (Brougham), Ontario, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Building Report 05-019; Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House, Pickering, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 05-019.
The character-defining elements of the Art Gallery / Former Brougham School House should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of the historical theme of the development of a publicly funded system of education in Ontario, following the Common School Acts of 1846 and 1850 is reflected in:
- its simple and attractive aesthetic design, scale, and solid, well-built appearance which illustrate the influence of the provincial education department’s efforts in the 1850s to encourage “modern” school design and are evidence of local support for formal publicly supported education.
Its good aesthetic design, which is an example of early and well designed rural school architecture, its good functional design, and its very good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
- the clean, simple lines and pure massing composed of a one-storey, rectangular brick block capped with a broad, low gable roof and a small bell-tower;
- the pattern of openings with one central door on the front elevation and symmetrical rows of windows on each side elevation;
- the simple and adaptable design of the open, one-room layout (that remains legible despite the addition of partitions) with an extant, raised teaching platform and blackboard at the front;
- the unique circulation pattern, with a central front door and common vestibule but separate cloakrooms for boys and girls, each with its own door opening onto the classroom;
- the effective provision of natural light by means of the large windows lining both sides of the former classroom;
- the highly competent brickwork which is an early example of the use of this material in Pickering Township, and which provides the character of permanence generally associated with institutional buildings;
- the classically derived proportions and simple decorative program consisting of returned roof eaves, contrasting brickwork for the quoins and round arches above the windows, the stone windowsills, a date stone and small bell-tower, which together give the building the appearance of a small temple.
The manner in which the building reinforces the quaint character of the hamlet of Brougham and its landmark value as evidenced in:
- its small scale, simple forms and choice of materials which is similar to the cluster of red brick buildings that constitute Brougham and for which the hamlet is famed;
- its location at the edge of the hamlet, marking the entrance to Brougham;
- its familiarity to the community as a former schoolhouse and its continued use as a well-known art gallery.