The town of Kukleny was part of Prague Suburbs until 1891. When Kukleny became independent, it became an industrial area of the whole Hradec Králové agglomeration. The local council in Kukleny decided to build a school building in 1893. Due to its location in a non-floodplain area and the presence of the most important communication route from Prague, Kukleny was attractive enough for the rapid establishment of yards, factories, apartment buildings, villas, workers’ houses and infrastructure. In Pražská Street, a new town building was built in the style of Neo-Renaissance architecture, designed by architects Josef Žák from Prague and Filip Trlica.
The construction of the building was completed on 3 September 1901 and on 15 September 1901 it was handed over to its purpose; from 16 September it was used for education. Construction was carried out according to the design with the motto “Air.” Originally, the building had a basement, the ground floor, the principal’s apartment, the first floor and the attic. The basement consisted of a stairwell, a corridor, a cellar, and a corridor to two small cellars. The ground floor had two large entrances, a corridor on either side, four classrooms, two teacher’s offices, a vestibule, and the principal’s office. Next, there was the principal’s apartment which consisted of two rooms and a kitchen with pantry. The ground floor contained two staircases, a cloakroom, a store room, showers, a gymnasium, and two toilets. The first floor, accessed by two staircases, contained six classrooms, a staff room, a study, a library, and two toilets on either side. The attic had three compartments and stairs on both sides.
The school chronicle states the following: “Between 1905 and 1906, the first form of the town school for boys was opened. The first school year started with 54 pupils. There were two schools in one building until 1911, when the municipal school was attached to the administration of the town school. At that time, the school was attended by pupils from the right bank of the Elbe, not only from Kukleny, but also from Prague Suburbs, Svobodné Dvory, Stěžer, Plačice, Opatovice, Libišany, Sedlice, Rozběřice and Sadová. Soon the building was no longer enough for all the pupils. After 1930, the school in Kukleny became the largest elementary school in the Hradec Králové district. At this time, the principal’s apartment had to be closed down, and it became a classroom, a cabinet and the principal’s office, and the teachers had no staff room. Plans for the construction of a new building were thwarted by the economic crisis.”
During the war, between 1939 and 1945, the number of pupils fluctuated. The German language was taught compulsorily. Home-schooling was often introduced, e.g. due to coal shortages and polio. The school premises were also taken over for the Wehrmacht. The school chronicle again writes: “No textbooks were used in the school year of 1941–1942. The addition of entries to the chronicles was forbidden to the principals, the chronicles had to be handed in, and the entries were probably added retroactively.”
In 1948, a constitution was introduced to establish a single co-educational school. According to the school chronicle, “In the late 1950s, a large extension was built at the community school to allow more boys and girls to attend. In 1958 it was decided to build a ten-classroom national school pavilion at a cost of 1,000,000. The construction was carried out with the help of parents and older pupils throughout 1959.”
On 1 May 1960, the new two-story pavilion was put into use. Two years later, a new building was opened for the school workshops (now a day care center and school club).
Then, after 1977, “an extension, including a sports hall, a block of offices, classrooms, a staff room and sanitary facilities was self-built by the locals.” Patronage companies such as Montas, the Seed State Enterprise, ZVU, local citizens and factories, the catchment communities, parents and, last but not least, the teaching and administrative staff generously contributed material assistance to the school.
In the early 1980s, when the number of pupils increased to 831 children, the school employed 39 teachers, 5 governesses, and 8 operational members of the staff. Pupils were taught in as many as 28 classes. In the school year of 1987–1988, the number of pupils gradually began to decline and in 1994–1995, there were only 520 pupils.
The school grounds were further expanded by the addition of the house No. 138 with the adjacent land in the neighborhood of the school (a former blacksmith’s workshop). Subsequently, a new school playground was built and the house was converted into a school club – today it is the school workshops.
In 1999, the skin of the original school building was completely renovated. The building as it stands today should therefore be preserved as original.
The neo-Renaissance school skin sets the rhythm of the building, which follows the main central axis. The first floor is decorated with a block bossing. The right and left wings have an aedicula with semi-columns for the two main entrances. The one in the left wing has been removed to make room for pupils and teachers and its rebuilding follows the order of the rectangular windows. A bust of Jan Amos Comenius was placed in front of the school in 1953 and it stands in the central axis. The second floor is separated from the first floor by a cornice and dominated by the latticework. The windows on the second floor are set in chambers and are complemented by a cornice with volute brackets above and below the windows. Above the portals the windows grouped and the pediment is replaced with a bust decoration and two statues of child figures. The roof section is decorated with five triangular traceried gables. The largest one, in the main axis of the building with an arched divided window, with sculptural decoration and the coat of arms of Kuklen dating from the early 19th century, the other two smaller ones above the main entrances, each with a single arched window. The smallest with rectangular windows lies between them.
Denisa Römerová, Vojtěch Škuta, Dominika Dobiášová