1931 Willoughby Elementary School
7949 208th Avenue, Township of Langley, British Columbia, V2Y, Canada
1931 Willoughby Elementary School
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The 1931 Willoughby Elementary School consists of a two storey building situated on a large School Board property in the Willoughby area of Langley, British Columbia.
The 1931 Willoughby Elementary School is significant for its historical and cultural values. It is a vital public facility for the people of Willoughby, as is alluded to by its joint management by the Willoughby Hall Society and the Willoughby Community Women's Institute, and its ownership by Langley School District #35.
The school serves as a strong physical reminder that links the community with its rural past. It is an important community facility that, together with the Willoughby Hall a few blocks away, gave this rural area its sense of identity. The isolated nature of the homesteads in early 20th century Willoughby meant that the educational and social gatherings created by the school were particularly important to the cohesiveness and to the morale of the residents. It strongly contributed to an overall social stability that was very important at the time for those wishing to instill the values of British traditions and laws in this young province.
The community of Willoughby started to develop in the 1920's with the building of a church and community hall down the road. The building of a school was very significant because it further declared that Willoughby was a good place to live, that it had a large enough population to warrant its own school, and that it was a legitimate community. Although modest in nature and in size by today's standards, the school was a public building of which they could be very proud, for it was a 2 storey building in a 1 storey town.
It was typical in Langley in the 1930's to build one and two-room schoolhouses with the main floor seven feet above an abbreviated first floor, and this building follows the same pattern. It has continuously been used as a stand-alone elementary school and is the last remaining two-storey, one-room school in regular use within Langley School District #35. As a result of its now unique design, its continued use, and its location, the school remains a landmark in the community.
It became clear in the early 1990's, after a lengthy and heated debate to preserve its form and use, that the 1931 Willoughby Elementary School has strong sentimental value for the residents of the community and has become a successful symbol of the community's values.
Source: Langley Centennial Museum Heritage Files.
The character-defining elements of the 1931 Willoughby Elementary School include:
- Its prominent siting on and orientation to 208th Street
- The formal qualities of the building, such as its two storey rectangular massing, medium gable roof, wood frame construction, and wood drop-siding
- The long bank of tall single-hung sash windows on the south side of the building
- Its simplicity in form and function
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Primary or Secondary School
- One-Room School
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Langley Centennial Museum Heritage Files.
See also: Langley Heritage Society, Willoughby Community Women's Institute
Cross-Reference to Collection