The Gloucester Lunatic Asylum, Horton Road, Gloucester
Client: Barlow Black Partnership
Site: Grade II* listed asylum erected 1814-1823 and designed to accommodate both paupers and ‘opulent’ patients, who occupied suites of rooms with their servants. The first phase was probably designed by William Stark with a crescent in the centre front, disguising an ingenious version of the secure radiating plan. The building was massively extended later in the 19th and in the 20th centuries, including the provision of an iron roof with patent cast iron tiles, installed after a fire of 1832. In 1856 the hospital was purchased by the county. It was disused and derelict at the time of the assessment.
Summary of Project: An assessment of the development and importance of the buildings based on documentary research and buildings analysis.
Objective: To inform proposals for the reuse of the building, including the possible demolition of some of its parts.
Dorchester County Hospital, Dorset
Site: In 1998, at the time of its closure, the site of the old Dorset County Hospital occupied a 7-acre site in the southwest corner of the walled Roman City. At the beginning of the 19th century there were no buildings on the properties. The front quarter or so of the eastern property was developed as the hospital starting in 1840 and completed by 1862, to Benjamin Ferrey’s original design in Jacobean style. It is listed Grade II and the only listed building on the site. The other two properties were developed later in the 19th century with large houses on plots which extended the full distance from Princes Street back to the circuit of the Roman walls. The adjacent plot acquired a large detached stone house built for the banker Edward Pearce in 1860, with high quality improvements from 1886 and 1889. Somerleigh Gate was built at the front of the property in 1885 as a Dower House, dated 1885, designed by Crickmay & Son, Westminster and Weymouth. The third property was developed in 1850 as the rectory for Holy Trinity parish in Tudor Gothic style. The contemporary coach house and stables remained. The site included other 19th century buildings like an 1896 corrugated iron Parish Institute and another stables and coach house, built in 1897 by Thomas Lynes. The hospital itself acquired various extensions and additions through the 20th century. The rest of the site was acquired by the National Health Service in the 1940s and their grounds were largely built up with specialist hospital and service buildings, the majority from the 1960s. In short the site contained 27 buildings dating from 1840 to the 1980s.
Summary of Project: Documentary research, and appraisal of each building along with an historic impact assessment of the proposed conversion of the buildings to domestic accommodation or their demolition.
Objective: To assess the historic significance of the buildings and the impact of the proposals within the conservation area.
The Shire Hall, Dorchester, Dorset
Client: West Dorset District Council
Site: A large building in the centre of Dorchester built to the designs of Thomas Hardwick of London 1796-1800 to contain two courts of law (a nisi prius court and a crown court) and associated facilities, an armoury and a record room. It retains the courtroom in which the Tolpuddle Martyrs were tried at the 1834 Assizes and sentenced to 7 years transportation. In 1889, the nisi prius court was adapted to contain the county council chamber with a new floor inserted and was later converted to offices in the 1950s, to the designs of Mr Oswald Brakspear. In 1956 the TUC acquired the old Crown Court to save it from office conversion and presented it as a monument to labour history. In 1968 it was passed back to the Rural District Council and is now owned by West Dorset District Council.
Summary of Project: Documentary research and fabric analysis to disentangle the various phases of the building, including re-dating elements of it. Research into court practice in the 1830s helped to establish the use of the surviving fittings in the crown court.
Objective: To support a scheme to reinterpret the building.
Chard Town Hall, Somerset
Client: Chard Town Council
Site: The elegant classical front of the Grade II* listed Town Hall dominates Fore Street. It was built with a Hamstone façade between 1834-37 to the designs of Richard Carver, the County Surveyor. The Council Chamber on the first floor was designed to be used also as a Magistrates Court or an Assembly Room, whilst the ground floor level served as a Corn Exchange with a meat market behind. In 1883 a rear extension was added as a Corn Exchange which doubled as a Public Hall (complete with stage and changing rooms). The meat market was moved to the front.
Summary of Project: An appraisal of the historic development of the building with documentary research.
Objective: To inform a programme of grant-aided repair.