Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1067565

Date first listed: 24-Aug-1990



Ordnance survey map of HOLMEWOOD HOUSE SCHOOL
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Tunbridge Wells (District Authority)

Parish: Speldhurst

National Grid Reference: TQ 55212 38620


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Reasons for Designation

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8/444 Holmewood House School


School, converted from a house. The original house on the site, called Mitchells, was built to the designs of Decimus Burton for C.H. Okey and J. Carruthers. It was burned in 1837 and rebuilt to a different design (Colvin, p.173). C20 extensions. Sandstone ashlar brought to course, the masonry of the principal block with diagonal rustication and contrasting rusticated borders, smooth ashlar dressings; hipped slate roof; stacks with ashlar shafts.

Plan: Roofed on an east west axis, the main block has a deep rectangular plan with the entrance in the centre on the north side, the south (garden) elevation with a central low service block to the north west. The main block has a heated entrance hall with corridor on the long axis, the princiapl rooms facing south, the principal stair rising from the corridor to the west. The C20 additions adjoin the service block at the west end.

Exterior: 2 storeys. Roof concealed behind parapets; ashlar chimneyshafts with sunk round-headed mouldings, corbelled cornices and multiple shafts, the principal stack with moulded dividers to the flues. Original C19 windows. Overall symmetrical 7-bay entrance (north) front, the parapet with a moulded cornice and sunk panels rises in the centre with pilasters on either side of a larger panel with a moulded frame. A platband forms the sills of the first floor windows which have sunk panels below, above a second platband with moulded stone brackets. Deep projecting central portico with paired Tuscan columns with no bases to the front and pilasters to the rear with a plain frieze and cornice, the roof glazed. Patterned tiles below the porch include a Greek key border. 2-leaf front door, the leaves glazed above moulded panelling with glazed panels to left and right, divided by pilasters. First floor window above porch a tripartite sash, 12-pane in the centre, 4-pane in the outer lights, the lights divided by recessed stone mullions with carved consoles. The other first floor windows are 12-pane sashes, except the left hand bays which have blind recesses on both first and ground floors. Ground floor window tall over 9 pane sashes. The left (south) return is 5 bays in a matching style, the 2 left hand bays with blind recesses. Stone steps down to the cellar at the left end. The south (garden) elevation is 9 bays to the main block, the centre 3 bays bowed, the details matching those on the north elevation. A 5-bay block adjoins at the left (west) end. This is probably original: 3-bays in the centre with a parapet and late c19 first floor 4-pane sashes. A single storey projection along the front has a parapet and early C19 6 over 9 pane sashes, the left hand bay with a fine stone doorcase with pilasters and a cornice with a dentil frieze and egg-and-dart moulding. To the right a single-storey projecting polygonal bay with a parapet above a similar frieze and moulding is divided by engaged columns with capitals and square bases. Above the door and polygonal bay rendered first floor projections are probably later additions. C20 addition to the far left is not of special interest. The north elevation of the service block is 9 bays with a 1:3:5-bay front in a similar but plainer style to the main block with C19 small-pane sash windows. The masonry of the 5-bay block at the right end is not rusticated and the parapet is completely plain.

Interior: The entrance hall has an Adam style chimney-piece with paired pilasters. A carved white marble medallion fixed to the wall above is in the style of Chantrey. Adam style swags within panels (possibly C20) applied to the woodwork of the entrance hall. The entrance hall is top-lit from a first floor glazed dome with a round well cut in the ground floor ceiling, the opening with a good cast iron balustrade on the first floor. Fine late 1830s cast iron balustrade to the stair with a mahogany handrail, the balusters richly decorated with stout 3-dimensional scrollwork and stylized flowers. The dining room has decorated plaster cornices and a white marble chimney- piece. The principal room to the-west, now the staff room, has a good C19 painted ceiling including key patterns. The library is panelled with a ceiling rose and subdivided by a segmental archway with anthemia in the spandrels. The first floor landing is panelled with a guilloche frieze. Most of the first floor chimney-pieces are late C19 with grates and tiled surrounds, an C18 style chimney-piece survives in the bow-fronted bedroom. Well-preserved joinery includes doors, doorcases and skirtings.

Source Colvin, H., A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects. 1600-1840 (1978 edn.).

Listing NGR: TQ5521238620


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 438587

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Colvin, H M, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, (1978)

End of official listing