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Gower Street School (Former Cottage Hospital), Telford

A Grade II Listed Building in St. Georges and Priorslee, Telford and Wrekin

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6971 / 52°41'49"N

Longitude: -2.4371 / 2°26'13"W

OS Eastings: 370555

OS Northings: 311136

OS Grid: SJ705111

Mapcode National: GBR BY.32QT

Mapcode Global: WH9D3.JGPP

Entry Name: Gower Street School (Former Cottage Hospital), Telford

Listing Date: 30 May 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418616

Location: St. Georges and Priorslee, Telford and Wrekin, TF2

County: Telford and Wrekin

Civil Parish: St Georges and Priorslee

Built-Up Area: Telford

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: St George's St George

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Summary

A former cottage hospital, opened in 1873. The function of the building changed to a school c.1879 and the ward ranges were subsequently extended between 1882 and 1902.

Description

A former cottage hospital, opened in 1873. The function of the building changed to a school c.1879 and the ward ranges were subsequently extended between 1882 and 1902.

MATERIALS: Red brick walling, laid in Flemish bond, with stone dressings and a tiled roof with lead flashings.

PLAN: the projecting, central portion is two storied and the north and south pavilion wings are single storied.

EXTERIOR: the eastern, road front is symmetrical with the two-storied, three-bay portion at the centre. This has a projecting entrance porch with arched portal, flanked by buttresses with offsets, stone dressings and tumbled brickwork. Above is a gabled dormer with a two-light, mullioned window and stone dressings. A plinth with offset and a cogged band below the eaves circle the building. To either side are sash windows with stone surrounds at ground floor level and above are hipped dormer windows with casements. The hipped roof has cast-iron cresting to its ridge and there is a bellcote, which was presumably added when the building became a school, above the central gable. At either side are ranges of four mullioned and transomed windows and beyond these are paired gables, each of which contains a pair of tall lancet lights. To the roof are triangular vents with cusped, timber surrounds. The north and south ends each have half-hipped roofs and three lancet lights. The rear has the two-storey projecting pavilion at the centre, from which an L-shaped single-storey wing projects at right angles. This has bargeboards, a porthole window and an iron finial to the gable end, and a projecting square bay window to its south side. Projecting at either side, the ward/classroom wings have three bays with mullioned and transomed windows. Between these are the projecting square flues of the chimney stacks, which have been decapitated. The later classroom extensions, continue this pattern. To either end are small lean-to additions, which appear to be entrance lobbies. A chimneystack at the north end survives to near full height. In the vicinity lies an outbuilding of which its use is unclear and which has not been internally inspected (2013).

INTERIOR: the northern ward survives largely intact. This has timber trusses with arched braces and wrought-iron ties, which rise from stone corbels. The roof is panelled with central octagonal ventilation outlets to the centre of each bay. There is a deep frieze to the top of the wall with carved quatrefoils. The lower walls are covered with vertical, pine boarding and the west wall has two fireplaces with deeply-chamfered stone surrounds. The south ward appears to be largely similar, but the roof is largely hidden by a suspended ceiling. The corbels and lower timbers are visible, as are the stone fire surrounds. The added classrooms at the far north and south ends continue the overall pattern of the ward interiors, with similar timber roof trusses, iron ties and chamfered stone fire surrounds and mullioned and transomed windows. The central pavilion, which housed the treatment rooms and quarters for the medical staff, appears little altered following the conversion of the building to a school. At the time of survey (December 2013) recent vandalism had included theft of lead from the roof which had caused water to penetrate and ceilings at the upper level had collapsed. Joinery, including the staircase balustrade, doors and windows, have also been damaged.

History

The building was erected in 1873 as a cottage hospital for workers of the local Lilleshall Company of iron smelters. The company had been founded by the Second Earl Gower in 1802. His descendants, the Dukes of Sutherland, continued to own the land and commissioned the church of St George from GE Street in 1861-2 as a memorial to the Second Duke Of Sutherland. The hospital was apparently built by John Millington of Ketley and known as Granville Hospital. The building proved to be too large for its original purpose and by 1879 it had been converted to use as the Wrockwardine Wood Girls and Infants Board School. It continued to be known locally as the 'Hospital School'. A smaller hospital was built by the Lilleshall Company in Albion Street with eight beds, a matron, nursing sister and female attendant.

The Ordnance Survey map published in 1882 shows the original building, marked 'School (Girls & infants)', with its original footprint. Extensions to the northern and southern ends of the principal range are shown on the OS map published in 1902.
The building continued to function as a school and was renamed Gower Street Girls' and Infants' Council Schools until it was closed in the late 1950s. It re-opened as the Oakengate and District Youth Centre in 1963 and continued in similar community use until its closure in 2006.

Other than two small lean-to additions to the rear the building appears to have been little altered since the additions recorded on the map of 1902.

Reasons for Listing

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The Gower Street School House is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: a cottage hospital, dating from 1873, the building which has suffered comparatively few alterations to its original fabric, despite the conversion of its function to a school and then a youth centre. In addition to ward rooms, it retains the dispensary, staff accommodation and service rooms of the hospital, which were converted to teacher's housing;

* Rarity: although a considerable number of cottage hospitals were built throughout the C19, many have been demolished or considerably extended and this is a rare example of a building which survives in largely original condition;

* Architectural quality: the building has a street frontage of architectural quality, which clearly reflects its history, firstly as a cottage hospital and then as a school;

* Local interest: the hospital was built for the factory workers at the Lilleshall Works, a major local employer.

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