This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol3", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
In the matter of fittings for technical schools it would perhaps be difficult to improve upon those designed for the Manchester Technical School, of which the architect is Mr. A. W. S. Cross, F.R.I.B.A. Fig. 9, for instance, illustrates one end of the chemical lecture theatre, where it adjoins the preparation-room. Communication can be obtained at will through an opening having two glazed sliding sashes, one on either side, through which objects can be passed from one room to the other without using the door. The space in the thickness of the walls between the two glazed sashes is, however, intended primarily to be used as a fume cupboard, and, by means of the glass on each side of it, experiments which take place within it can be watched with great perfection by the students, while it is accessible, if necessary, from either room. On the lecture-room side the glazed sash can, when desired, be covered by a sliding blackboard, made, like the sashes, to rise and fall with counter-balance weights. Beneath this window are small cupboards, and in front of it, separated by a small gangway, is the lecture table. On one side of the opening there is a large permanent lantern screen, and of course the windows are provided with dark blinds, so that daylight can be shut out when the lantern is in use, as it frequently must be during the delivery of scientific lectures. Another portion of the wall space is covered by a series of blackboards, the outer one of which is made to rise and fall, while the inner one has half its surface hinged. Thus a drawing on the upper part of a blackboard may easily be made while the instructor is standing on the floor, and then the board be raised to display the drawing to the class. As instruction is sometimes given by diagram, as well as by blackboard drawings and lantern views, a series of diagram screens occupy the upper part of the wall, capable of being raised and lowered by means of pulleys.
Fig. 10 illustrates some of the details of the same room to a larger scale. From a careful study of this it should be possible to devise any similar arrangement of sliding and hinged blackboards, and attention may be drawn to the use of the friction rollers. The full details of the fume cupboard are also of some importance, with its tiled flooring, and the reagent cupboard underneath, again accessible from each room. The large scale detail shows a strip of indiarubber to be attached to the inner side of the upper sash, so as to make the fume cupboard air-tight, this being a most necessary provision ; and it will be seen that putty is not trusted for fixing the glass, but that hard-wood beads are used as is usually done in shop fronts. The flue from the fume cupboard is contrived in the thickness of the wall, and there is a gas jet provided so as to give an induced current of air if needed.
A detail of the working benches of the organic laboratory, shown in Fig. 11 is equally important. The bench is double, there being spaces for four students on each side, the counter top at which each student works being separated from that of the opposite student by a glazed stoneware channel, while there is a sink for every four students. Of course, ample water supply is provided, and both channel and sink possess carefully contrived and specially made wastes for rapid discharge into a channel below the floor level. Right along the centre of the bench from end to end there runs a water pipe with taps, and vacuum is similarly laid on ; and above it are two-rows of shelving, while beneath the counter each student has four drawers and two large cupboards with shelving, there being long boxes for the storage of glass tubes in each of these cupboards. These are placed in pairs and are open at alternate ends, passing right through from side to side of the double bench, enabling each student to store tubes of considerable length.