Richmond House


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Clifton Road, Bristol, BS8 1LD


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Statutory Address:
Clifton Road, Bristol, BS8 1LD

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Bristol (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A former garden house, built in around 1701-1703 and with later alterations.

Reasons for Designation

Richmond House is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as an early-C18 example of a garden house retaining its distinctive two-room plan with a central entrance hall and rear staircase, that is particular to this building type; * for the survival of early-C18 fixtures and fittings that are characteristic of the period and exhibit a high quality of craftsmanship with features of note including panelling, an oak open-well staircase with twisted balusters, and mullion and transom cross windows with associated hood moulding.

Historic interest:

* built in the early C18 it is thought to be the earliest merchant’s house to be built in Clifton, beginning the development of this significant C18 suburb, and therefore makes an important contribution to our understanding of the social and economic development of Bristol in the C18.

Group value:

* for its contribution to the historic character of Clifton and its relationship with numerous listed buildings and structures, including the garden wall of Richmond House (Grade II) and several other merchants houses such as Bishop’s House, (1711, Grade II*), 22 Clifton Road (late C18, Grade II), Clifton Hill House (1746-1750, Grade I), Callandar House (late C18, Grade II), and Goldney House (Grade II).


The Manor of Clifton was acquired by The Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol in 1676, and included the ruined remains of a medieval house, known as ‘the old castle’. In 1701 this plot was leased to Whitchurch Phippen, a wealthy mercer and linen draper, who by 1703 had built Richmond House on the site. Phippen’s primary residence was at 9 High Street where he lived until his death in 1710, and Richmond House appears to have been built as a second residence for entertainment purposes, much like the city’s garden houses of the C16 and C17.

Built as a single-pile, five-bay house its design had characteristic architectural features of the C17 such as paired cross windows set beneath hood moulds, whilst the symmetrical five-bay arrangement and the absence of gables is characteristic of the early C18. The entrance doorway probably had a shell hood, fashionable in the two decades spanning 1700, but the scarring to the wall suggests that it was replaced, probably in the mid-C18, with a triangular pediment, now, also, removed.

In 1746 The Society of Merchant Venturers commissioned a survey to establish the extent of their property. The survey includes Richmond House which is shown as having a rectangular footprint and is described as ‘Mrs Phippen’s holding’. The service wing to the rear is not depicted on the survey, and was probably added in the late C18 when the house is thought to have been used as a boarding school. Other alterations that seem to have occurred at this time are the raising of the roof to increase the height of the third storey and to enable the insertion of dormer windows to the rear (north) elevation, the replacement of the cross windows with sashes to the principal elevation, and the addition of the single-storey extension to the west elevation. It is shown in this form on Ashmead’s map of 1828. The building returned to being a house in the mid-C19.

Since the mid-to late C20 Richmond House has been owned by the University of Bristol and is used as halls of residence.


Former house, built in around 1701-1703.

MATERIALS: built of brick that has been rendered, with some limestone dressings, and brick copings to the chimney stacks. The roof is covered in pantiles; the roofs of the single-storey addition to the west elevation and the two-storey addition to the rear (north) elevation have slate tiles. The windows comprise three early-C18 cross windows to the north elevation with ovolo moulded timber frames and some leaded lights, and C18 sash windows, some of which have been repaired and renewed in the C20.

PLAN: originally a single-depth plan with a principal room to either side of the central entrance hall, with the staircase to the rear. A single-storey addition has been added to the west elevation, and there is an C18 two-storey service wing added to the rear. There has been some reconfiguration of the plan form with the insertion of partition walls and doorways, particularly to the upper floors. The north-east corner of the building has been stripped out and a metal fire-escape staircase (not of special interest) inserted.

EXTERIOR: the principal (south) elevation is of three storeys with gable end stacks and a moulded cornice to the raised parapet. Its symmetrical five-bay façade is arranged as 2:1:2 with sash windows and a central recessed doorway with a timber architrave and a six-panel door; the top square panels are glazed. To the left is a single-storey hipped roof addition.

The north elevation retains part of its hood mould to ground and first-floor level and three early-C18 cross windows. There is a late-C18 addition, extending to the north; its doorway to the right has been blocked.

A C19 French window has been inserted to the right of the gable end stack to the east elevation. Three of the four windows to either side of the stack have been blocked.

INTERIOR: the central entrance hall has an oak open-well staircase with a closed string, square newel posts with square moulded caps and pyramid pendants, barley twist balusters, and a heavily moulded handrail. The principal reception rooms to either side have timber moulded cornices and panelled window shutters. The west room has raised and fielded wall panelling to its south and west wall, with a chair rail between the lower and upper panels. The fireplaces to both rooms are mid-C19; that to the east room retains its grate. There is a small room to the north of the west room with a corner fireplace and moulded stone surround of the late C18. Throughout the interior other features of note include cornices, panelled window shutters with a combination of swivel fasteners, butterfly hinges and H-hinges, C18 and C19 panelled doors and associated door architrave, (although many of the doors are C20 fire doors), moulded skirting boards, some fitted cupboards and C19 fireplaces.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Foyle, A, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Bristol, (2004), 214
Leech, Roger, The Town House in Medieval and Early Modern Bristol, (2014), 260-2
Ashmead, G, Map of Bristol (1828)
Survey by de Wilstar 1746 (Bristol Archives SMV/6/5/4/3)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 09 Jan 2001
Reference: IOE01/05298/32
Rights: Copyright IoE Ms Judy Goodsell. Source Historic England Archive
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