A large model farm building which includes two covered cattle yards with fattening stalls, a boiler house, feed preparation rooms and stores for farm machinery and feed. Designed by the county surveyor, Robert Griffiths and built in 1875 for William Orme Foster.
Reason for Listing
The Home Farm Building, and the manager's office at Apley Park, Norton, Shifnal, Shropshire are designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: the buildings are well-designed to cope with each of the processes which they contain through a logical, functional flow of activity. The building also has an impressive facade to the south, dramatic internal spaces and well-considered detailing throughout;
* Intactness: alterations to the original fabric have been relatively minor, and the survival of so much of the original layout and detail, including belt drives and a machine room is rare and notable;
* Technical Innovation: the use of laminated timber to form the trusses over the covered yards was innovative and not seen again in an agricultural building until 1881. Moreover, it is well-suited functionally and aesthetically to the task and has endured well;
* Group Value: the covered yards and barn complex, together with the separate manager's office, form an effective group which is linked by their appearance and function.
The Apley Park estate was sold in 1867 to William Orme Foster, an iron founder and builder of the first railroad to cross the United States. He made improvements to the estate, including this complex of buildings which was designed to accommodate a variety of functions including the protection and fattening of cattle; preparation of animal feed by belt-driven machinery; and efficient use of animal manure. The architect was Robert Griffiths, County Surveyor for Shropshire. Greater use of tractors has caused the imposition of four wide doors on the south front, each of which now takes the place of a pair of bays which were formerly divided by pilaster buttresses, and the configuration of ridge skylights on the southern range have been altered to be flush with the roof. On the north side the space which formerly housed farm machinery has now been adapted to hold grain bins, and the boiler house no longer operates, but the building is otherwise little altered and still functions as a shelter and feeding space for cattle.
MATERIALS: red brick, laid in English bond with blue brick dressings and a slate roof. The covered cattle yards have trusses of laminated timber supported by cast iron columns.
PLAN: to the north of the block is a barn and boiler house with an engine which was designed to be connected to feed preparation rooms which included belt-driven machinery such as cake crushers, grinders, chaff cutters. To the south are two large covered yards, designed to protect cattle and the manure which they produced from the weather. Pens surrounding the yard allowed for fattening of individual cattle. Between the yards there is a pedestrian walkway at ground floor level and above these are hay lofts set at first floor level which enable feed to be thrown down to the cattle through doorways.
EXTERIOR: the south front is symmetrical and has a projecting central wing with three bays and two storeys. This has a taking-in door to the first floor and an oculus to the gable. Above is a square bellcote with arched openings. Old photographs show that this formerly had a hipped roof, but it now has a flat roof with a weather vane. The single-storey wings to either side have four bays of openings. The four cart entrances have been widened in the C20 and now have flat heads and the pedestrian doorways have cambered heads. At either end of the front are projecting wings with cambered-headed windows to the ground floor and occuli to the gables. The east and west flanks both have wide, arched entrances which project up into gables through which the cattle enter the covered yards flanked by smaller doors which give access to individual stalls around the periphery of the yards. The northern front has two storeys. At ground floor level are basket-arched entrances to storage bays for farm machinery and at first floor level are taking-in doors with gabled heads. Projecting from the centre of this front is a gabled wing which has the boiler room chimney attached to its western flank. This has a square base with arched niches to three sides. Above this the body of the chimney dies back via offsets to an octagonal upper body which tapers as it rises and has a moulded top.
INTERIOR: the two yards each have a series of three pitched roofs with central roof lights. These roofs are supported by trusses made of a combination of solid timbers and laminated beams. The central roof trusses differ from the lattice trusses to either side in having laminated, semi-circular arches. The central roofs have louvered vents to either side and are supported on stout cast iron columns. The central feeding gallery is also supported on iron columns and beams. Arcades with cambered arches surround the yards. The fattening pens retain their mangers and water troughs, although new metal gates have been fitted in several instances. In the northern wing the mixing room has the belt drive and a meal crushing machine. An original cast iron spiral staircase leads up from here to the feed store at first floor level. Several floors have been replaced by poured concrete, including those to the covered yards and in fattening pens, but throughout the building the majority of original fittings survive, including metal-framed windows, doors and door furnishing.
FARM OFFICE: to the east of the home farm building is a separate and related manager’s office. This faces towards the home farm building and is single-storeyed, of red brick with a hipped, slate roof. Its west front is symmetrical and has plank doors with cambered heads at either side of a canted bay window. The interior has a tiled lobby and original fitted cupboards at either side of a stone fire surround with arched grate.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.