The Bishopston Society has received a letter and report from English Heritage giving their reasons as to why they felt Bishop Road School was not worthy of listed status. The letter and full report follow:
Earlier aspects of this case can be read here
Mr Neil Embleton, Planning Adviser, Bishopston Society
Our Ref: 1417955
Direct Line: 0117 975 0661
14 January 2014
Dear Mr Embleton,
Bishop Road Primary School, Bishop Road, Bristol
Following your application we have been considering adding the above building to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. We have taken into account all the representations made and completed our assessment of the building. Having considered our recommendation, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has decided not to add Bishop Road Primary School to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
I attach a copy of our advice report, prepared for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which gives the principal reasons for this decision. The annex of this report will be published on our Heritage Gateway website in order to provide clarity about the building’s designation status. The website makes it clear that the buildings and sites included on the Heritage Gateway are mostly privately owned and are not open to the public.
If you consider that this decision has been wrongly made you may contact the DCMS within 28 days of the date of this letter to request that the Secretary of State review the decision. An example of a decision made wrongly would be where there was a factual error or an irregularity in the process which affected the outcome. You may also ask the Secretary of State to review the decision if you have any significant evidence relating to the special architectural or historic interest of the building which was not previously considered. Further details of the review criteria and process and how to request a review are contained in the annex to this letter.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance. More information can also be found on our website at www.english-heritage.org.uk.
Designation Co-ordinator - West
Designation Team West
29 Queen Square
Review Criteria and Process
A review will only be carried out in the following circumstances:
(1) there is evidence that the original decision has been made wrongly. Examples would include:
- where there was a factual error, eg. the wrong building was listed; or - where there has been some irregularity in the process which has affected the outcome, eg. relevant considerations were not taken into account or irrelevant considerations were taken into account.
(2) there is significant evidence which was not previously considered, relating to the special architectural or historic interest of the building, as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. An example would be where new evidence relating to the date of a building has been discovered which might make a material difference to the architectural or historic interest of the building.
Having conducted a review, the Secretary of State will either affirm or overturn the original decision. It is important to understand that the original decision will stand until the Secretary of State has made a decision on whether the original decision should be affirmed or overturned. If the original decision is overturned, this will not have retrospective effect.
How to request a review of a listing decision.
Reviews are carried out by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and review requests should be made on the Department’s ‘Listing Review Request Form’. The Form is accompanied by Guidance to assist you in making a review request. Both the Form and the Guidance can be downloaded from the ‘Reviews of Listing Decisions’ page of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s website at:
If you are unable to access the website please contact:
Review requests should normally be made within 28 days of the date of this letter. Requests made beyond this period may be considered in exceptional circumstances.
English Heritage Advice Report 10 January 2014
Case Name: Bishop Road Primary School
Case Number: 1417955
Background: English Heritage has received an application for the listing of Bishop Road Primary School, Bishop Road, Bristol.
Asset(s) under Assessment
Facts about the asset(s) can be found in the Annex(es) to this report.
Bishop Road Primary School
Listing: Do not add to List
Date: 26 November 2013. Visit Type: Full inspection
The listing application was prompted by concerns over a planning application (Ref 13/04795/F) for a two-storey extension to the front of the school on Bishop Road, incorporating a new entrance, reception/waiting area and offices on the ground floor, with a new library and meeting room on the first floor and an extension at the rear. At the playing field site an existing former scout hut is to be replaced with a single-storey building incorporating toilets and changing facilities and flexible learning spaces. A current temporary modular building near the main school is to become a permanent building.
The planning application was initially to be determined on 17 December 2013 and as such this case was marked as hot with a shortened consultation period. However, following the consultation circulated on 5 December 2013, Bristol City Council requested that the usual 21 day consultation period for the listing case was adopted as they had decided that the planning application was now not to be determined until 29 January 2014. This was granted, and taking into account our office Christmas closure, a deadline for 2 January 2014 was given.
In 1994, Bishop Road Primary School was considered for listing as part of a wider survey, but was believed not to be of sufficient interest. However, no internal visit was undertaken. The building is not situated in a Conservation Area.
A consultation report outlining the history and factual details of the buildings was sent to all relevant parties.
The applicant responded and confirmed that he would not submit any further information. Bristol City Council (as owners) responded and submitted a report with further evidence on the historic development of the school buildings. This has confirmed that William Venn Gough was indeed the architect for Bishop Road Primary School. The following relevant comments were made:
English Heritage Advice Report 10 January 2014
COMMENT 1: 'The loss of the following structures including boundary walls, playground sheds, separate Boys entrance to the building and the decorative arch on Bishop Road (most likely matching those of the Girls and Infants), the original external arrangement of latrines with their decorative lantern lights and the loss of the separation between the original playgrounds, has eroded the integrity of the site as a whole.'
RESPONSE: In accordance with DCMS's Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (March 2010) and English Heritage's Selection Guide for Education Buildings as endorsed by the DCMS (April 2011), for schools of this date, surviving ancillary structures such as walls, railings, gates, shelters and lettering and sculptural embellishments will enhance the case for designation. As such their interest and level of survival are a relevant consideration. This will be further discussed below.
COMMENT 2: '[...] the Edgar Building, as with the Grant and Silverthorne buildings has been so altered, that the alterations to the interior and exterior combined with the replacement of large amounts of fabric have ‘reduced (the) designation worthiness’ to the point of falling short of meeting the criterion of listing.'
RESPONSE: In accordance with DCMS's Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (March 2010) and English Heritage's Selection Guide for Education Buildings as endorsed by the DCMS (April 2011), for schools dating from between 1870-1914 preservation and intactness is a relevant consideration. As such level of intactness and any alterations that have affected the buildings will be taken into account as part of this assessment and will be further discussed below.
COMMENT 3: 'As regard to W. Venn Gough, his scheme(s) for this site appear to reflect a more standard design approach and do not reflect his more elaborate and interesting designs...', and 'When taken into context of the Board Schools and his role as a school architect the design of Bishop Road is very much a standard approach for a sub-urban school.'
RESPONSE: In accordance with DCMS's Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (March 2010) and English Heritage's Selection Guide for Education Buildings as endorsed by the DCMS (April 2011), historic interest illustrated by a direct association with a nationally important architect is a relevant consideration for the selection of buildings for listing. Nevertheless, the interest of the building will need to be considered in a national context, as well as within the context of the wider oeuvre of the architect. This will be discussed in further detail below.
1870 is a seminal date for assessing schools, with the introduction of school boards and substantial state funding following in the wake of the 1870 Education Act. Large numbers of board schools survive nationally, which demands care in their assessment for listing. Usually only the best or in some cases the most typical local examples merit listing.
In accordance with DCMS's Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (March 2010) and English Heritage's Selection Guide for Education Buildings as endorsed by the DCMS (April 2011), for schools dating from between 1870-1914 preservation and intactness is a relevant consideration, alongside architectural interest, planning, earliness of date and the rarity of the type of school in question. Additionally their contribution to the character of historic neighbourhoods should be taken into account. External architectural quality is usually the most striking feature of schools of this period and is a fundamental criterion for listing.
Regard should also be given to the local context and the sort of school that is being considered. Interiors matter too; fixtures were generally plain and most plans formulaic and increasingly standardised. Exceptions are thus of interest. Level of completeness can be most important: losses and ill-proportioned additions can reduce the degree of interest. Surviving ancillary structures such as walls, railings, gates, shelters and lettering and sculptural embellishments will enhance the case for designation. Historic associations with nationally important persons or events can give additional interest and as such will also be considered.
Dating from 1895-6, Bishop Road Primary School is a relatively late example of a board school and as such, greater selection is required. For a school of this type and date, the plan form of all its three school buildings, despite some reordering and subdivision of spaces, has survived relatively well. The flat-roofed extensions, including the late-C20 gym, arguably form part of a legitimate expansion to meet changing needs and have not adversely affected the overall interest. However, the plan-form of the buildings is of a relatively standard design for this period, and does not reflect any significant changes and/or avant-garde approaches in the education system.
The south elevation of Edgar Building and former Lodge, give Bishop Road Primary School considerable architectural interest. It survives well and displays good-quality architectural detailing, and together with the surviving low walls and railings along Bishop Road and Cambridge Road, its attached shelter, and the surviving arched entrances and lettering on the Lodge. This elevation clearly makes a positive contribution to the historic street scene and to the contemporary housing development around it, contributing to the understanding of the historic development of this particular part of Bristol. However, this is the only external elevation that has retained this level of architectural quality, and its survival is not of sufficient interest to weigh against the lack of architectural interest of the building as whole. Its rear, and the exteriors of the other two buildings as a whole are of a very plain design in comparison and have undergone considerable change, mainly due to the loss and replacement of all their original windows. Although in general the introduction of the replacement windows does not necessarily affect architectural interest, it has unfortunately done so in this case.
The school's design interest lies particularly in the considerable size and strong design of the mullioned windows set in each of the gables. They form the main architectural features of the exterior, as also confirmed by the surviving front facade discussed above. As such, their replacement with non-matching plastic windows has significantly affected the character and architectural interest of the school as a whole.
Grant Building and Silverthorne Building are of a simple and standard design and have undergone significant alterations and, as mentioned above, the replacement of all the windows have had a major impact on their overall architectural interest. The interiors of Grant Building and Silverthorne Building are also very plain, without any surviving features of interest, and although it is likely that their roofs (now no longer visible), which spring from the surviving corbels, survive at least in parts, they are likely to be of a very plain and standard design.
In comparison, the interior of Edgar Building displays a slightly more elaborate architectural treatment, such as for example its surviving roof in the library and by some of its carpentry. However, the loss of the timber roof to the main hall, and the creation of a new reception area, together with the overall loss of historic fixtures and fittings, all undertaken during the late 1980s and early 1990s has indeed affected its interest considerably. Additionally, although the extent of change remains debatable, it is clear from the historic OS maps, and the architectural drawings (mostly proposals) that the attached Infants' wing has undergone substantial alteration. As such, in comparison with listed board schools of similar type and date, it unfortunately does not meet the expectation raised by the architectural treatment of the main front of the school. Although Edgar Building has a good-quality front elevation, this building is not of sufficient architectural or historic interest in a national context to merit listing in its own right.
New evidence has shown that William Venn Gough was indeed responsible for the school's design, and as such it is important to assess the buildings within the context of the wider oeuvre of this important architect, but also that of contemporary Board school designers in general. In a national context, one must conclude, this particular school displays a rather standard design both in its layout and style. And, when comparing it with Gough's other work (mainly in Bristol), it is clear that it can not be seen to be part of his most interesting work, nor does it display the quality and level of architectural detail and extravagance displayed in his listed examples.
The school has further interest through its association with the actor Cary Grant and the scientist Paul Dirac, two persons of national and arguably international calibre, as they were pupils at the school (and thus likely lived in houses in the neighborhood). However, although this is clearly an important association and one that will continue to inspire the achievement and pride of the school, its pupils and the wider community, this interest is not sufficient to weigh against the overall lack of special interest of this much altered school.
Despite the fact that Bishop Road Primary School lacks the level of interest on a national level for it to merit listing, it is clear that it continues to have strong local architectural and historic interest. It clearly makes a positive contribution to the local area, and its historic association with two important and inspiring people, continues to be celebrated with pride by both the school and its local community.
After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are not fulfilled. Bishop Road Primary School is not recommended for listing.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
Bishop Road Primary School, a former Board School of 1895-6, by William Venn Gough who also designed the extensions of 1902-5, is not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a relatively late example of a Bristol board school, and in the context of William Venn Gough's oeuvre, it is of a relatively plain and standard design.
* Historic interest: its historic interest lies on a local rather than national level;
* Intactness and alteration: both externally and internally the school buildings have undergone alteration, resulting in the loss of important features, which has significantly affected their overall interest.
Agreed. Bishop Road Primary School has some good architectural detailing to the principal elevation but disappointingly this is not carried through to the other elevations or other buildings. It is a late example of a Board school that has seen some alteration and, despite being designed by William Venn Gough, the school lacks coherence and interest in its layout and in its architectural treatment when compared to listed examples by Gough. It does not merit listing, but does make an important contribution to the area.
Jill Guthrie, 8 January 2014
Name: Bishop Road Primary School Location: Bishop Road Primary School, Bishop Road, Bristol, BS7 8LS County: City of Bristol District: Unitary Authority Type Parish: Non Civil Parish
Bishop Road Primary School in Bishopston, Bristol, is a former board school of 1895-6 built to plans by the architect William Venn Gough (1842-1918) who also designed the extensions of 1902-5. The school, built for the Horfield School Board, opened in January 1896 to serve the newly-expanding suburb of Bishopston, characterised by late-C19 and early-C20 terraced housing. It catered for boys, girls and infants. The first headmaster, Mr Edgar, set high standards and pupils often won scholarships to local grammar schools whilst others achieved success through sport. The school soon expanded and by 1905 was housed in the three main buildings which survive today (Edgar Building, Grant Building and Silverthorne Building), originally each with their own outdoor playgrounds. The second edition Ordnance Survey map published in 1903 shows the current Edgar Building and Grant Building. As indicated by the revised Ordnance Survey map published in 1916, the Silverthorne Building to the north had been added by then, and the former infant school wing to the east of the Edgar Building had been extended to the rear. The latter underwent a number of changes during the late-C19 and early-C20, and in 1947. It is claimed to have been (partially) rebuilt during these building phases, though this could not be fully verified on site nor are the historic architectural drawings (mostly concerning proposals) conclusive on this matter.
In 1939 the pupils' leaving age was raised and subsequently part of the school was used for secondary education. After the Second World War the school educated children from 5 to 16 years (Infant, Junior and Secondary), housed in the three buildings on the site. In 1947 the Infants wing was altered and given a canteen to provide school meals. During the 1960s and 70s the Silverthorne Building was used as a Teacher Training Centre.
In 1979 the Infant and Junior Schools were amalgamated to form the current Primary School. The Secondary School closed in the mid-1980s. In the late 1980s / early 1990s the school was extensively refurbished: the roof over the main hall was replaced and windows were replaced with new ones, except for those to the south front of Edgar Building, which the Council, together with the exterior of the Lodge, sought to preserve. Today, with circa 630 pupils, Bishop Road is one of the largest primary schools in the City.
Famous former pupils include the Bristol born stage - and film actor Cary Grant (born Archibald Alexander Leach, 1904 - 1986), who became one of Hollywood's classic leading actors, and the Bristol - born theoretical physicist Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1902-1984), who made fundamental contributions to the early development of quantum mechanics and electrodynamics, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933.
Horfield School Board was set up in 1871 under the provisions of the Public Elementary Education Act of 1870. Boundary extensions of 1897 led to a merger of the board with Bristol School Board which operated from 1871 to 1903. The use of the Gothic or Tudor style was prevalent for Board Schools in Bristol until the 1890s after which the Queen Anne style, following examples in London, was also used. Board Schools in Bristol frequently have a high central hall with spreading single storey blocks around it.
William Venn Gough, born in 1842 in Frome, Somerset, is an important Victorian architect who was based in Bristol. From 1872 he had an office in Nicholas Street, and between 1898 and 1906 he was based in Hampton Road before moving to Bridge Street in 1914. He designed many prominent buildings in the City, such as Cabot Tower, Brandon Hill, 1897-98 (listed at Grade II and situated within a Grade II registered park) and the former Port of Bristol Authority Docks Office in Queen Square, 1889, listed at Grade II. However, Gough is probably best known for his school buildings in Bristol, which include Colston's Girls School, 1891 (listed at Grade II), Bedminster Bridge Board School, c1895 (listed at Grade II) and St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School House, 1895 (listed at Grade II).
A former Board School of 1895-6 in Tudor style designed by William Venn Gough who also designed the extensions of 1902-5, with later alterations dating from the mid - to late-C20.
MATERIALS: the three school buildings (Edgar Building with the Lodge facing Bishop Road, Grant Building and Silverthorne Building) are constructed in random coursed Pennant stone with limestone dressings. The roofs to Edgar Building are covered in red mathematical tiles, except for the rear left hand wing with the hall, which has been replaced with concrete interlocking tiles. The pitched roofs to the hall have four rows of three Velux roof-lights, inserted in the late-C20. As shown on architectural plans of 1894, the roofs above the hall had originally 12 dormers. The central two-storey block to the Edgar Building has a hipped roof with a decorative central cupola (in timber and lead), and a large axial limestone ventilation stack with shafts and with small limestone stacks to each gable end. The Lodge has a pitched roof, with tall gable end stacks. It is covered in mathematical tiles, except for the lower three rows of the rear roof slope which have been replaced with concrete tiles.The pitched roofs to Grant - and Silverthorne Building are covered in plain red tiles. The eastern roof slope to the Grant Building carries forty solar panels recently introduced.
PLAN: Overall, the plan-form of the buildings has survived largely intact, though some of the larger (class)rooms have been subdivided.
Edgar Building occupies the southern part of the site facing Bishop Road. It consists of a central square hall surrounded by classrooms and a library, which is attached to the east side of the former Infants wing which has an irregular plan. Attached to the south front is a former toilet block, and the caretakers lodge with pupils' entrances to either side.
Grant Building, situated to the north-west of Edgar Building, has a rectangular plan with a central corridor now lined with classrooms to the west and formerly a hall to its east, now subdivided into further classrooms. At its north end is a gym, built in the later C20 and replacing a former building attached to this end of the building. Further modern flat-roofed extensions are added to its south end.
Silverthorne Building, built circa 1902-5, occupies the north part of the site and has an L-shaped plan consisting of a hall lined with classrooms and entrance lobby to its north. At its east end it has a modern flat-roofed extension. In the triangular-shaped playground that forms the far north-west corner of the site stands a temporary classroom building introduced in the late-C20.
EXTERIOR: the two storey Lodge, facing Bishop Road, has a full dormer with three six-over-six paned timber sash windows set above a large, decorative plat band with stone carved lettering reading 'SCHOOL BOARD FOR HORFIELD'. Below at ground-floor level it has a central entrance with a late-C20 timber door, with a six-by-six paned timber sash window to either side. Attached to the left and right hand corners are two decorative four-centred-arched entrances with stone carved lettering above reading 'GIRLS' and 'INFANTS'. The iron gates to the arches are late-C20 replacements. Extending to either side of the arched entrances (along Bishop Road and Cambridge Road), is a stone rubble dwarf wall with curved stone coping, and decorative stone piers set at regular intervals, holding cast-iron spear-headed railings (probably a later replacement). Attached to the rear of the Lodge is a single storey flat roofed toilet block, formerly this had two glazed lanterns to light the Girls and Infants latrines, as indicated by a photograph of the school of circa 1900.
Behind the Lodge the south front of Edgar Building facing Bishop Road, consists of a two-storey central block with lower wings extending to either side. The right hand side of this main elevation of the former Infants wing could formerly be seen from Bishop Road and Cambridge Road (as shown on the photograph of circa 1900), but is now unfortunately obscured by tree growth and a modern flat-roofed electrical mains building. The central block has three full dormers each with triple limestone-mullioned windows with round-arched lights. At ground-floor level are two round-arched entrances set between tall six-over-six paned sash windows. Two new doors with ramps have been inserted. The lower wing to the west has three full dormers, that to the far west contains the headmaster's room with three small six-over-six paned sash windows. Below, there are three small windows at ground-floor level, possibly formerly open as they are aligned with three internal open arches, and as such may be former pupil entrances. The other two dormers have full-height triple-mullioned windows with round-arched lights, as before. The north (rear) elevation of Edgar Building has tall gable ends each with tall, triple stone-mullioned windows with a relieving arch above, and flanked to either side by slightly lower stone mullion windows. The original timber windows have all been replaced with plastic ones. The main, east elevation of the Grant Building has four gables each with full-height double stone mullioned round-headed lights (except for that at the far right-hand side). In between the gables are small double stone mullions, with the second one to the right now converted into an entrance with a large metal ramp to allow access for people with mobility problems. The original entrance to the far right has steps leading to a round-arched lobby, now giving access to the gym that was added to the north end of the Grant Building. All the windows to the Grant Building have been replaced with plastic ones.
The Silverthorne Building has an irregular south front facing the main playground which is enclosed by the Grant Building to the west and the Edgar Building to the south. The two-storey left-hand side to the Silverthorne Building has a central gable and scattered fenestration. To the right is a four-centred-arched entrance lobby with steps leading to the main entrance, now with plastic doors and windows. The gabled wing to the right, slightly set back, has large stone square mullioned windows identical to those to the long gabled east and west elevations. The north gable end is blind. Historic maps indicate the building extended further northwards at this end. All the windows to the Silverthorne Building have been replaced with plastic ones.
INTERIOR: the interior of the former caretakers Lodge was not inspected, though recent photos suggest its layout has been altered, and no original fixtures and fittings appear to survive. The interiors of both the Grant Building and the Silverthorne Building have been much altered and contain no visible original fixtures and fittings of interest, except for some of the stone corbels supporting the roof. Though now no longer visible due to the lowering of the ceiling with modern panels, this probably consists of an open timber roof structure which is likely to survive at least partly intact, though this could not be verified.
The Edgar Building contains some of its historic carpentry, mainly including doors, and arched classroom windows overlooking the open, double-height hall. The hall, formerly subdivided by a timber partition (removed in the late 1980s / early 1990s), has two arched-braced timber trusses resting on decorative corbels and finials below the tie beams in the centre resting on a row of cast-iron columns. According to Bristol Councils Principal Building Surveyor, former timber bressummer beams spanning centrally across the hall were replaced with steel beams as part of the refurbishments of the late 1980s / early 1990s. The walls to the hall have plain timber panelling up to a dado rail, possibly replaced as part of the above works. To the east of the hall a doorway with deep square-panelled reveals gives access to the library which has a plain timber queen-post roof. The lower parts of the walls to the corridor along the south side of the hall, and that leading to the round-arched entrance hall, are lined with glazed brick, now painted over. The main corridor along the south side of the hall contains three round arched openings to either side, those to the east now blocked up. As part of the works undertaken in the late 1980s / early 1990s a new entrance, reception area and school office were created at the west end of this corridor, by subdividing former classrooms at this end.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The school has three late-C19 or early-C20 playground shelters built to a long rectangular plan, one standing in the playground in the north part of the site, opposite Silverthorne Building, and two extending from the front and rear elevations of the Edgar Building. They are constructed in random coursed pennant stone with red tiled roofs resting on cast iron columns. Their roof timbers survive partly intact, though two of the shelters have been filled in.
Foyle, A, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Bristol, 2004, 35, 279-280
OS map 25", 1903 and 1916
Architectural Building Plans held in Bristol Records Office:Vol: 39 f: 20Vol: 48 f: 68Vol: 198 f: 11Vol: Horfield
(unnumbered) f: 42Vol: Horfield (unnumbered) f: 77-78Green Label Plan 12
Bristol City Council, Design, Access and Planning Statement for Bishop Road Primary School, October 2013
Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Architect Biography Report for William Venn Gough ,
http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architectfull.php?ide=203031, 2 December 2013
The National Archives, Records of Bristol Board Schools 1792-2000,
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=002-21131&cid=-1 3 December 2013