'Lighthouses, my boy! Beacons of the future! Capsules with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wiser, better England of the future' - that was the vision of architect E.R Robson when he designed Bermondsey's Alexis Street School, now part of St James's Primary School.
In 30 years from 1870 the London School Board built 400 schools, most of them designed by Robson in the Queen Anne style that has become so familiar in inner London, thanks to his work.
Sometimes if space was very tight, the playground was on the roof.
Robson's schools were deliberately designed to be light and spacious: 'lighthouses' and 'beacons of the future,' often serving the poorest urban communities of inner London.
Robson described his schools as 'sermons in brick.'
They were designed to communicate a vision of a better world: 'If we can make the homes of these poor persons brighter, more interesting, nobler, by so treating the necessary Board Schools planted in their midst as to make each building undertake a sort of leavening influence, we have set on foot a permanent and ever-active good.'
And 139 years after it was built in 1876, Robson's Alexis Street school, is still going strong, still essentially being used for the purpose for which it was designed.
You can read more about Robson's school board 'sermons in brick' here
on theMunicipal Dreams website