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The Prince of Wales opens the new Bekynton Field development at Eton College

9th June 2015

The Prince of Wales meets members of the teaching staff during a visit to Eton College

The Prince of Wales meets members of the teaching staff during a visit to Eton College

The Prince of Wales officially opened a new development at Eton College today.

His Royal Highness toured the Bekynton Field development, which includes a 300-seat hall and 40 new classrooms and common rooms. The development is the largest addition to the college since it was founded 575 years ago.

Architect John Simpson, who was responsible for The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace, designed the development to blend in with the existing historic school and it features conservation-grade brickwork, stonework and brick arches.

The Prince said: "The quality of the craftsmanship, the brickwork, the stonework, the copper and everything else is a great tribute I think, above all else, to those people who have these remarkable skills.”

Bekynton Field also has been built with sustainable features. A ground source heat pump provides heating, drawing energy through a series of pipes under a nearby car park and the same pump reverses in the summer to cool the buildings.

The fountain's evaporation is also used to help keep the new Jafar exhibition gallery cool in the warmer months.

On the apex of roof of the new Jafar Hall stands what has been described as "the largest and most complex" decorative copper feature constructed for a generation.

The hand beaten craft work, which is known as an akroterion, was made by Michael Johnson and Shelley Anderson from Newlyn Copper Works in Cornwall.

The Bekynton Field development houses the Modern Languages, Divinity and Economics and Politics departments and its Jafar Gallery is home to the Eton Museum of Antiquities - one of the world's finest private collections of Egyptian antiquities, bequeathed to the school by a former pupil.

The Prince of Wales was tasked with placing the last piece - a marble head of a young man from a Greek relief, dating from the late 5th to early 4th century BC - in its display case to complete the exhibition.

His Royal Highness also listened to pupils' poetry and drama recitals as he joined students in the Jafar Hall.

 

HRH places an historic artefact into a display cabinet during a visit to Eton College

HRH places an historic artefact into a display cabinet during a visit to Eton College