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Somerset Historic Environment Record

14928

Site Name: Castle House, Queen Street (South side), Bridgwater
Civil Parish: Bridgwater
LISTED BUILDING grade: II*
Grid Ref: ST 2997 3712 (ST 23 NE)
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Image: Image of HER 14928 - Photo by Somerset County Council
  HER 14928 - Photo by Somerset County Council

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

House. 1851. For William Ackerman. Brick with pre-cast concrete facing panels, solid concrete, pantile roof with rendered stacks. Double-depth plan including rear range. Early Tudor Revival style.

Two storeys; two window range. The front elevation is very ornate, and composed in the manner of an early Tudor gatehouse. The ground floor walls are constructed in brick with pre-cast concrete facing panels, the walls of the first floor are of solid concrete blocks simulating rusticated jointing. The upper parts of the parapet and mock battlements are rendered brick. Above and below the first floor are friezes formed of perforated pre-cast concrete blocks supported by pre-cast concrete corbels. Projecting concrete drip cills protect the base of the parapets, both friezes and the plinth. The windows are mullioned and transomed two tight casements with head stops to label moulds. Canted bays to the sides form stair turrets, to front of which, on both floors and attic, are niches with depressed-arched heads, formerly housing painted concrete statues; those to ground floor have head stops to tablet moulds. To centre of the front is a small single-storey canted bay with a single window and panelled parapet above. The doorway under a hood on consoles is to left and entrance to a stair turret is in the corner to far left.

INTERIOR: there is extensive concrete work within the house including staircases, handrails and window frames, all prefabricated at John Board's works. The structure seems to be held together with tie-bars and one section of roof trusses is made out of reinforced brickwork, made to look like a cruck frame or parabolic arch. An early and significant use of concrete, for both decorative and structural purposes.

History: probably one of the earliest surviving examples of the use of prefabricated concrete and constructional post-tensioning. The house contains a wide variety of castings, mostly as ornament but with enough items carrying loads to be classified as of minor structural importance; it shows an innovative interpretation of traditional masonry features in concrete and are a relatively early method of reinforcement in the structure. Castle House is associated with two important Sedgemoor families, the Boards and the Ackermans; John Board (1802-1861) who extended his family's brick company into cement in 1844, and his grandson William Ackerman who joined the company in 1871 and is credited with the first 'true' Portland cement. {1}

Grade was II. {2}

A remarkable C19 castellated folly set back from the road, said to retain part of the old town fortifications. Rectangular tower of colourwashed stone with banded rustication above ground floor and recessed panels in plinth. 2 storeys plus attics in gable end. Turrets flank front. Wide bands with circular patterning and brackets divide the storeys. Mock battlements with some larger merlons bearing classical cartouches. Large niche to each storey of turrets, those on 1st floor containing (right) a painted statue of Napoleon, and (left) a console supporting a carved head. One storey turret in centre also has a niche. 2 windows with rectangular dripmoulds and head stops. 2-light mullioned and transomed windows. Doorway under hood on consoles to left, entrance to stair turret in corner further to left. {3}

English Heritage Listed Building Number: 373965. First Listed on 16/12/1974. English Heritage Unified Designation System Asset Number: 1355168 {4}

References:

1 Statutory List - 5th amendment of 31st List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic interest: District of Sedgemoor (Somerset) (2/7/1999) Location: HER files.
2 Superseded entry in Statutory List - Thirty first List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of Sedgemoor (Somerset). (31/1/1994)
3 Superseded entry in Statutory List - Fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of Sedgemoor (Somerset). (16/12/1974)
4 Data transfer - Listed Buildings database, English Heritage. Record ID: 373965 (2005)

Record created in June 1983

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