Former free school of 1831 converted into a pair of houses in the late 1850s
Reason for Listing
Nos. 13 and 15 Queen Street, a former free school of 1831 converted into a pair of houses in the late 1850s, is recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: Good unaltered front elevation with an interesting use of buff coloured bricks in place of stone dressings;
* Intactness: Extensive survival of hornless sash windows, mainly retaining original glazing, in addition to other internal features such as the principal staircases, and items of joinery and plasterwork;
* Historic Interest: The origins of the building as Long's School and the connection with Isaac Pitman;
* Group value: As a school it was the earliest of a group of C19 public buildings on Queen Street including the II* listed National School (1844-45 associated with the important educationalist Samuel Wilderspin); the Assembly Rooms (a former Temperance Hall) of 1843; the former Primitive Methodist Chapel of 1867; and the Odd Fellows Hall of 1864.
The central block of the building which now forms the semi-detached houses nos. 13 and 15 Queen Street was extended and altered from a school building erected in 1831. This school building was built for Long's School, a charity day school established with a £200 bequest by William Long of Baton in his will dated 1722. The school is thought to have operated in rented accommodation before 1831, and to have been the oldest day school in the town offering at least some free places to children of the poor. By 1831 the school was associated with the British and Foreign School Society and was thus also known as Barton's British School. Isaac Pitman was appointed as school master in 1832 (his first appointment) teaching Taylor's shorthand to his more advanced pupils. He moved to Gloucestershire in 1836 and in 1837 published his own shorthand system. In 1842 the school was closed as a result of "some maladministration of the funds" and the school building was left vacant until about 1858 when it was converted into a pair of houses with the construction of side wings extending to the rear.
MATERIALS: Red brick in Flemish bond with buff brick imitating stone dressings to the front elevation, redbrick in English garden wall bond to sides and rear. Slate roofs.
PLAN: Mirrored pair with a central, double pile block beneath a nearly pyramidal roof falling from a central stack. The central block has front and rear ground floor reception rooms and principal first floor bedrooms. Flanking and set slightly back are entrance stair halls which extend to the rear as wider, 2 storey, gabled service wings.
EXTERIOR: Front: Central block is of four evenly spaced bays with 3-over-6 hornless sashes to the first floor and slightly taller 6-over-6 sashes to the ground floor, all set in chamfered, eared architraves formed with buff bricks. Buff bricks are also used to imitate rusticated quoins. Simple eaves band which continues to the parapet above the flanking entrance bays which have 4-panel doors with semicircular fanlights with single, 6 pane casement windows with central mullions to the first floor.
Side elevations: Tall, round-headed hornless-sash stair window with a small circular window just to the west (towards the rear). Backdoor/tradesmen's entrance giving access to the kitchen.
Rear elevations: The central block retains two first floor, 8-over-8 hornless sashes with slightly different mouldings to the other sash windows. No.13 has a replacement 2-over-2 sash to the ground floor; no.15 has French doors. Most of the other windows to the rear have been altered.
INTERIOR: The principal staircase to each house has a mahogany handrail that is ramped, wreathed and set on turned balusters rising from a curtail step with an ornamented cast iron baluster. Internal doors are 4-panelled, some to no. 13 were overboarded at the time of the inspection. Each house retains an identical cast iron bedroom fireplace incorporating an ornamental frieze below the mantle, other fireplaces are later replacements, although one in no.15 may retain an original marble surround/mantelpiece. Other original features include joinery and plasterwork. It is reported that tie beams in the roof structure of no.15 are planed and moulded, suggesting that they were originally intended to be seen, presumably being part of an open roof structure as typically used in C19 school buildings.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.