Here’s what’s behind the street name allocated to Fairfield Park Lower School’s new site.

John Ruskin, like all the notable people commemorated in Fairfield’s street names, was a Victorian – a nod to the period in which Fairfield Hall was built. A writer and educator initially known for his art criticism, he later penned essays and gave lectures on subjects ranging from architecture and education to politics and economics, science and even environmentalism. 

A man whose opinions on the preservation of old buildings inspired the foundation of the National Trust, whose political followers included Mahatma Ghandi and early members of the Labour Party, and whose thinking on social theory contributed to the foundation of the welfare state, Ruskin was ahead of his time in many ways, and his views on education were no different. At a time of strict rules and regimented learning, he believed in the importance of art, music and sport in helping children to find fulfillment – so where better to be reminded of him than on the way to school?