The Old Bothy, a gardeners' bothy for Cowdray Park built in the early C20.
Reason for Listing
The Old Bothy, Cowdray Park, an early C20 estate building providing accommodation for unmarried gardeners, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture and intactness: a substantially intact estate building which is unusual in its design, well-detailed externally and which retains the majority of its internal features including extensive glazed wall tiling
* Rarity: as an unusual building type which is only, inevitably, found associated with large country houses or estates which had a requirement for gardeners in some numbers
* Group value: the old bothy is located within the registered landscape of Cowdray Park (Grade II*), in close proximity to the fine Victorian mansion of Cowdray Park which it served. It also has group value with the kitchen garden, stable yard and other historic estate buildings which are located to the immediate north of the old bothy
The Old Bothy, historically providing accommodation and ablutions for Cowdray's unmarried gardeners, was built in the early C20. It post-dates the 1912 Ordnance Survey map but is of a pre-war style architecturally, thus probably built in the second decade of the C20 (its Edwardian character could point to an error in the map). It is presumed to be part of Sir Weetman Pearson's improvements. The building should be seen as part of the expansion of the estate facilities, prompted by the remodelling and considerable extension of Cowdray Lodge to create the large Victorian mansion known as Cowdray Park in the 1870s. This development was the impetus for improvements to the estates ancillary buildings and a number of buildings were newly constructed or enlarged in the immediate vicinity of the old bothy in the late C19 and early C20.
Former gardeners of the Cowdray estate remember the bothy in use, and one stayed here when first employed here in 1946. A refurbishment plan dated November 1957 provides details of intended modification to the service facilities to the rear (north) of the building but also indicates how the bothy's accommodation was arranged. The main hall was the dormitory with 14 beds arranged on all sides and a hat and coat rail to the centre. The east range housed the dining room with a store or prep room at the north-east corner. The west range houses the living room with a larder to its north and the kitchen in the north-west corner. Toilet facilities were in the north centre of the building but were remodelled in 1957 and a new kitchen also constructed in this area. Estate recollections also indicate that there was some kind of generator in the upper part of the building which served the house. This was operable at the same time as the building was used as accommodation. It was last used for accommodation in the 1960s since when it has provided a storage facility for the house.
MATERIALS: stone with galleted joints, red brick dressings and slate roofs. Extensive use of glazed tiles as an internal wall covering.
PLAN: a central hall flanked by side ranges to west and east. Rear centre stairs to upper partial floor.
EXTERIOR: the entrance elevation faces south and is the most decorative with greater use of red brick detailing to the door and flanking windows which have segmental arched heads. The piers for the doorway rise above a decorated gable with oval window. Windows are timber-framed with leaded lights. It is stylistically reminiscent of an Edwardian village hall. The rear elevation is more modest. It has two gabled end bays with louvered oculi to the first floor, and three flat-roofed central bays divided by shallow brick piers. These have large round-arched overlights above off-centre pedestrian solid wooden doors. These have the appearance of being secondary, however.
INTERIOR: in plan it has a central hall which has a boarded roof with roof lights and exposed metal trusses flanked by smaller rooms. Stairs to the attic storey are in the centre rear (north) of the building. The interior retains many original features including quarry tile and parquet flooring. The internal walls are tile clad: white with olive green dressings to the hall and brown to the rear staircase hall. The hall and side ranges are separated by large round-headed arches dressed with olive green tiles; that to the east has a glazed timber screen. The upper floor, which is only present to the rear (north) of the building as the `hall to the south is double-height internally, was not inspected as the floor was deemed unsafe.
English Heritage, Register Entry for Cowdray House and Park, Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, (1982)
Website of the Cowdray Heritage Trust including a Cowdray timeline at www.cowdray.org.uk [accessed 25 Oct 2010]
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.