646-1/14/547 SHAKESPEARE STREET
12-JUL-1972 (South side)
Arkwright Building, Nottingham Trent
(Formerly listed as:
UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM COLLEGE AND
Former university college, public library, technical schools and natural history museum, now university building. By Lockwood & Mawson of Bradford. 1877-81; closed for structural repairs 1883-90. Rear additions of 1893, 1932 and mid C20. Ashlar and yellow brick, with ashlar dressings and banded Westmorland slate roofs. Gothic Revival style.
EXTERIOR: plinth, string courses, pierced balustrade, cast-iron crests to the main roofs. Pointed arched windows with shafts and linked hood moulds.
Symmetrical main front and returns, 9 x 5 bays, enclosing a central block flanked by narrow courtyards.
Main range, to Shakespeare Street, 2 storeys plus basement and attics; 9 bays. Projecting centre and end bays, all with elaborate gables with spire turrets. Ground floor has traceried windows, first floor arcaded windows. Central entrance bay has an arched triple doorway under gables, and above, 3 traceried windows. Side ranges, 8 windows, have canted bay windows in the fourth bay, and gabled dormers. End bays have 2 windows, with a single traceried window above.
Left return, to South Sherwood Street, has a corner block, 4 windows, with a canted corner turret and spire to left. In the centre, a range with projecting centre, 4 windows, and side bays, 3 windows, all under a clerestory roof. To left, a projecting block with doorway and sidelights, and hipped roof. Beyond, projecting addition in the same style, 1932, 3 windows, with buttressed gable end. Right return the same, with mid C20 footbridge attached to the right-hand block. Rear elevations in a simpler style, mainly brick, with a square factory chimney with polychrome bands.
INTERIOR has central entrance hall with elaborate pointed arched arcades on 2 sides, the right one containing a cast-iron open well stair. Landings on 2 sides, with wrought-iron balustrades, the right landing arcaded. Panelled, hooded chimneypiece in medieval style. Arcaded first floor corridor to right. Lecture theatre has C20 alterations but original roof likely to remain above recent suspended ceiling. Some rooms retain late C19 fireplaces. Further staircases to wings and entrance vestibule in right wing has short staircase with marble and alabaster balustrade. Arcaded corridors towards the rear, with round wooden columns. Some ground floor rooms have cast-iron columns. Former chemistry laboratory at rear, an early example of this type of facility, with wooden queen post roof and smaller rooms to its side with high wooden ceilings and panelled skylights. First floor rooms to each wing have elaborate steel trussed clerestory roofs. Early C20 addition has segment-arched hall on the first floor.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE
This a very fine and elaborate example of later C19 architecure in the Gothic Revival style by an architectural firm which designed buildings of world renown. Although the small central spire has gone, the building is otherwise extremely well preserved externally, and additions and rebuilding, not least because of 2nd World War bomb damage, have not lessenend its significance. Internally, a significant number of impressive spaces and original features survive as well as the original plan-form. The Arkwright Building is the most prominent and architecturally important public building constructed in Nottingham by the Corporation in the C19.
The building has historic importance as a landmark in the architectural history of the provision of education in England. This building is unique in bringing together three cornerstones of Victorian education thinking, the further educational college, the public library and the museum.It was the first municipally funded college of further education to be built in England.
It has been at the heart of the developments of both of Nottingham's Universities and as such is the single most important educational building in the city.
There are historical associations with the internationally renowned writer D.H. Lawrence who attended the University College 1906-8.
The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Nottinghamshire: London: 1979-: 238.
Arkwright Building, Shakespeare Street, Nottingham - An Architectural Assessment: English Heritage Research Dept. (Unpublished): 2005
Further Education Colleges in Victorian England: English Heritage Research Dept. (unpublished draft): September 2005
Listing NGR: SK5703840328