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© Ms Ruth Povey

IoE Number: 379354
Photographer: Ms Ruth Povey
Date Photographed: 30 June 2001
Date listed: 04 March 1977
Date of last amendment: 30 December 1994
Grade II*

The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.

BRISTOL ST5873SE COLSTON STREET 901-1/11/85 (East side) 04/03/77 Foster's Almshouses and attached walls, railings and gates (Formerly Listed as: COLSTON STREET (East side) Foster's Almshouses) GV II* Includes: Nos.8-11 Foster's Almshouses CHRISTMAS STEPS. Almshouses. W wing 1861, N wing 1872, S and E wings 1880-83. By Foster and Wood. MATERIALS: brick with black diaper work, limestone dressings, ridge and lateral stacks and tiled hipped roofs with leaded finials and tops of towers. PLAN: double-depth plan to 3 sides of a courtyard with a S wing. French Burgundian Gothic Revival style. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, basement and attic; 6:5:5-window ranges to inside of courtyard. Moulded ground-floor drips, ovolo eaves cornices carved with fruit and leaves, decorative iron gutters, with dragons to hoppers and across the down pipe at drip height; good cast-lead foliate finials to the ends of the hips, decorative ridge tiles, ridge stacks to each end of roof with diagonal ribs and moulded cornices to each range, and similar lateral stacks with linked pairs of stacks. Mullion and casement windows, decorative narrow windows with trefoil ogee heads, with metal casements. The courtyard has square 3-storey towers in the inner corners with open elliptical ground-floor arches on round columns, with an ogee hood with crockets to the right-hand tower rising through a relief carving of the almshouses; first-floor corner statue niches with canted canopies, a figure in the right-hand one, with 2-light second-floor windows, and leaded ogee pyramidal roofs with corner cast-lead crockets and finials. Gabled timber-framed 2 storey porches to the centre of the E range and left of centre of the N range with open 2-centre arches, open each side on the first floor to full-width stone balconies on brackets with lattice timber railings, which extend into a timber winder stair tower in the NW corner, with 8 corner buttresses and a central newel post, and a tiled conical roof; the S range has a gabled timber porch with moulded curved sides; double half-glazed doors. Cross windows to the N range, 3-light mullion windows to the E and S; a corner oriel on the SW corner of the courtyard has a carved moulded base, aprons and heads, attached corner buttresses, and a conical lead roof with good finial. The elevation to Christmas Steps is a 10-window range, with a ground-floor string, first-floor continuous drip and label moulds; matching ground and first-floor windows, canted 2-light oriels 2 and 4 from the left, cross windows 1, 2 and 4 from the right, single mullion windows the rest, a 2-light dormer 3 from the left with a square panel in the gable. Basement arcade of 6 semicircular arches on chamfered square columns with octagonal capitals and bases, getting taller to the left, with plate-glass shop fronts. Colston Street front is a 6-window range with a stepped plinth, canted oriel 2 from the right with a 3-light window beneath, with a right-hand lateral stack. Rear elevations have 4 gabled dormers with triple quatrefoils, separated by a set-back corner block. INTERIOR: stone floors on moulded beams, stone winder stair with wrought-iron barleysugar balusters and newels, moulded rails, panelled shutters and 4-panel doors, with barleysugar window catches. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached front wall across the courtyard has sunken quatrefoils and a wrought-iron railing with fleur-de-lys and small finials, lamps on square piers to elaborate wrought-iron double gates. Rear retaining wall has attached spike-headed wrought-iron railings. HISTORICAL NOTE: Foster's almshouses were founded by John Foster in 1483. A finely detailed composition accounting well for the lower Christmas Street elevation, and modelled on the Hotel Dieu, Beaune. (Gomme A, Jenner M and Little B: Bristol, An Architectural History: Bristol: 1979-: 315; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 434; Crick C: Victorian Buildings in Bristol: Bristol: 1975-: 29).

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