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12 Northgate Street and 9 Bridge Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Abbey, Bath and North East Somerset

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Latitude: 51.3831 / 51°22'59"N

Longitude: -2.3588 / 2°21'31"W

OS Eastings: 375126

OS Northings: 164953

OS Grid: ST751649

Mapcode National: GBR 0QH.BFC

Mapcode Global: VH96M.2HBL

Entry Name: 12 Northgate Street and 9 Bridge Street

Listing Date: 21 November 2011

Last Amended: 29 May 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1405795

Location: Bath and North East Somerset, BA1

County: Bath and North East Somerset

Electoral Ward/Division: Abbey

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Bath

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Church of England Parish: Bath St Michael Without

Church of England Diocese: Bath and Wells

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Former music shop with workshops and accommodation to basements and upper floors.

The part of the building to Slippery Lane has C17 fabric with C18, C19 and C20 alterations. 12 Northgate Street is late C18 with a c1928 shop frontage and interior. 9 Bridge Street was rebuilt in c1903 but retains its late-C18 basements. 12 Northgate Street shop frontage and rear single-storey extension were designed by Alfred Taylor. William Willcox designed 9 Bridge Street.


Materials: Bath stone with Welsh slate roof. The rear extensions have flat bitumen roofs.

Plan: the building, which is L-shaped in plan, is accessed via the shop frontages of 12 Northgate Street to the west and 9 Bridge Street to the south-east, and forms continuous premises that includes the buildings to the north of Slippery Lane. The Podium shopping centre abuts the north elevation and 9 Bridge Street extends into the sub-basement of 8 Bridge Street. Slippery Lane continues through the sub-basement level of Bridge Street.

12 Northgate Street has a double-depth plan with narrow street frontage. The shop extends to the rear (east) with single-storey, top-lit structures. To the south are the former houses on Slippery Lane which have been extended upwards. 9 Bridge Street is on a corner plot and has been knocked through to 10 Bridge Street. Further to the rear (north) 11 Bridge Street has been reduced to a single-storey structure.

Exterior: 12 Northgate Street: four storeys and basement with a narrow frontage of two bays. To the ground floor is a Neo-Grecian style shop front with central lobby entrance. The shop front has plate glass with bronzed window bars and a carved white limestone frame with acanthus frieze, and ashlar fascia above. There are black and white tiles to the entrance lobby with the lettering ‘MILSOMS’. To the first floor is a sill band, and six-over-six sashes with architrave surrounds and floating cornice heads. The second floor has six-over-six sashes in architrave surrounds. The third floor has three-over-six sashes in architrave surrounds, above which is the cornice and parapet. There is no chimney. To the rear elevation are central six-over-six sash windows to the first and second floor and a central casement window with two, eight-light panes to the third floor. At ground-floor level is a single-storey extension with a roof lantern and three further single-storey buildings with roof lights extending to the east. To the south of these are the former houses of Slippery Lane which have been re-roofed with bitumen and slate. There are a series of blocked door and window openings to the external (south) elevation with ashlar architraves and some with hood moulds.

9 Bridge Street: three storeys, attic and basement with a street frontage of three bays with a six bay return. To the ground floor is an Edwardian shop front of three panes with narrow timber mullions. The heads are arched and divided into three panes, with stained glass to the spandrels. To either side of the shop front are rusticated pilasters which carry a modillion cornice which continues above the fascia. The upper floors are framed by giant Corinthian pilasters, which carry a frieze band. The first and second floor windows have six-over-one sashes in architrave surrounds with cornice heads; the central window at first floor has a segmented pediment. The mansard roof has paired pedimented dormer windows with six-over-one sashes. There is a pair of parapet vases to the right hand corner and a further vase to the left hand corner. The return elevation (east) is arranged four:two bays. To the ground floor is the shop entrance denoted by a double door with tiled mosaic to the pavement with the lettering ‘DUCK, SON AND PINKER’. To the right is a large display window. Both the door and window have rusticated ashlar surrounds. To the first and second floor there are six-over-one-sashes, with architrave surrounds to those to the left. The second and third windows from the left at first floor have cornice heads. Above is the cornice, parapet and mansard roof with a paired pedimented dormer window with six-over-one sashes. Over the right two bays is a paired flat-roofed, small-paned dormer window. There is a large, rubble end stack, without pots.

Interior: 12 Northgate Street: the shop has a linear, open-plan, arrangement from west to east. There are two rooms at ground floor with a further three rooms at a lower level. These rooms are accessed by a short staircase with wooden handrail, newel posts and panelling, and a decorative iron balustrade. The lower-level rooms have barrel-ceilings with decorative plasterwork and geometric leaded roof lights. The upper floors house the living accommodation with some survival of fireplaces and joinery. There is evidence of late-C20 rebuilding of the wall along Slippery Lane. To the north wall of the former houses on Slippery Lane there survives a C17 window frame with an ovolo moulded mullion. There is further evidence of blocked window and door openings as well as a chimney breast. To the ground floor and basement level are some C18 fireplaces.

9 Bridge Street: the shop interior includes cornicing and a decorative plasterwork ceiling. The upper rooms are open-plan. There is a lift shaft which enabled pianos to be moved, and this retains its panelled door. The hoist has been relocated to the ground-floor entrance hall. The basements include two-centred arch openings, vaulted ceilings and fireplaces.


12 Northgate Street and 9 Bridge Street form a single property (2013) incorporating buildings along Slippery Lane to the south, extensions to the rear of 12 Northgate Street, and Nos. 10 and 11 Bridge Street to the immediate north of 9 Bridge Street.

The chronology of the site is complex and has been largely informed by recent research (2012, see Sources) which has provided new information about the historical development of the building. There is evidence for buildings along Northgate Street and Slippery Lane from at least the early C17 as shown on Saville’s map of Bath (1600-4). Gilmore’s map of 1694 shows a building on the site of 12 Northgate Street and seven houses along Slippery Lane. G. P. Manners’ map of the Parish of St Michael, 1818, provides a recognisable plan of the current buildings along Northgate Street, Slippery Lane and Bridge Street. The map evidence and the surviving fabric suggest that the surviving houses along Slippery Lane are of largely C17 date and are now readable as four former dwellings: a three-bay house, a single-bay infill house, and a pair of single-cell houses, which may have formerly been a single dwelling. They retain a proportion of their limestone rubble construction with ashlar door and window surrounds, and drip mouldings above some of the window openings. There is also evidence of a blocked C17 stone mullion window with ovolo moulding.

The area including Northgate Street and Bridge Street was redeveloped in the mid- to late C18 as part of the Georgian expansion and development of the city of Bath. In the mid-C19 William Lewis, the proprietor of the Bath Herald newspaper, took over the lease for 12 Northgate Street and he altered the buildings to the north of Slippery Lane for his printing works. The top-lit, single-storey and basement structures covering the former garden of 12 Northgate Street were erected for the Bath Herald in the mid- to late C19. Much of these works were undertaken by Alfred Taylor.

In 1871 Lewis acquired 9, 10 and 11 Bridge Street (10 and 11 Bridge Street adjoined 9 Bridge Street on its north side and did not have a Bridge Street frontage). In 1884 he assigned the lease, which included the basement workshops, to the music business Duck, Son & Pinker; founded in 1848 by William Duck. The firm were initially only interested in the workshops as they had existing premises on Pulteney Bridge. But in 1903 No. 9 and 10 Bridge Street were re-built above ground level to the designs of architect William Willcox, specifically for Duck, Son & Pinker. No. 11 Bridge Street was reduced to a single storey in 1927 and the scars of the upper floors remain visible to the exposed wall of 10 Bridge Street.

In 1925, Duck, Son & Pinker took over the whole site including 12 Northgate Street. In 1928, Alfred Taylor was re-employed to provide a new street frontage for 12 Northgate Street and to alter the interior to accommodate a purpose-built music school, workshops and showrooms. Duck, Son & Pinker continued in business on the premises until 2011.

The bronze lettering ‘MILSOM & SON’ to the fascia is due to be removed with listed building consent.

Reasons for Listing

12 Northgate Street and 9 Bridge Street, the former premises of the music business Duck, Son & Pinker, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: for their imposing street frontages with a good Neo-Grecian style and Edwardian shop fronts;
* Historic interest: for its development in the early C20 as a single commercial premises for the music firm Duck, Son & Pinker;
* Date: significant survival of pre-1700 former dwellings incorporated into the building;
* Group value: for its contribution to two of Bath’s commercial streets and its relationship with neighbouring listed buildings.

Selected Sources

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