A private house, later a school and now converted into separate flats. Mid C19, extended in 1881, with C20 additions; late-C19 extensions and alterations by Wilson and Willcox. In c.1994 a wing was attached to the west side of the observation tower, this modern extension is not of special interest.
Reason for Listing
* Architectural interest: A good example of an early C19 villa with interesting architectural features, in particular an observation tower with castellated parapet which utilises the building's position above the City of Bath;
* Historic interest: it was the home of Anna Sewell, the author of the novel 'Black Beauty'.
The house was built for a doctor interested in astronomy, hence the addition of the tower. The author Anna Sewell is reputed to have written 'Black Beauty' (1877) here.
MATERIALS: limestone ashlar, slate roofs, some double Roman tile.
PLAN: a rambling structure, originally compact symmetrical double depth house, to which was added in 1881 a long rear range and lofty observation tower, to left of house, in front of tower, enclosed yard with service buildings. In the mid-1990s a wing of further flats was attached to the west of the of the observation tower, this addition is not of special interest
EXTERIOR: two storeys, with full height octagonal bays (also 1881) having large plain sashes at each level, to heavy stone sill bands, and with central plain sash above panelled door in Doric half-column door-case with entablature. Broad mid platband, and cornice with blocking course having blind octofoils and vertical slot panel embellishment. Ashlar stack to four coped gables. Return to right, with various sashes, steel escape stair, and some late C20 minor additions, also has third coped gable, to 1881 range, with small gabled wash house and stack attached. Left return has one exposed gable, two storey gabled wing with sashes, and part of long rear range, including plank door to arched opening, in small single bay link to lofty square observation tower. Tower in six storeys, with cornice and crenellated parapet above plain sashes, with incised embellishment to lintels under stopped drip course, at fifth level are two such sashes and central oculus, under common drip course, with segmental centre over oculus. Return to tower has two sashes at top levels, with drip courses, but not embellished, and rear has central buttress or chimney shaft above deep wing with C20 windows to outer gable. Rear in one long plane, in two storeys, with large plain single or paired sashes, and plank door to blocked arched head adjacent to tower. Stone modillion eaves cornice to cast iron box gutter, and coped verges, first four bays have coped ends, and next two bays, also has four terracotta ridge vents, and pierced square finial. `Link’ bay also has ridge vent. To left of main front coped rubble wall containing small rectangular yard, extending full width, returned and stopped to square pier with pyramid capping approx 6m from tower base. Inside yard small service range with low-pitched double Roman tile roof, and plank doors plus four-light casements.
INTERIOR: the main building was partly inspected in the late C20. Lobby with margin pane part-glazed inner doors to hall with Minton tile floor, flanked by main rooms, each with wide elliptical recess to rear, opened and glazed in room to left. Each has fine original working shutters and panelled mullions, and late C19 fireplaces, one with white marble surround, brought from elsewhere in complex. Large square inner hall on Minton tile floor has original stone grand open well staircase, but with late C20 balustrade replacement. Former roof-light has been under-ceiled.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.