Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
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TL3114SW NORTH ROAD, Goldings 817-1/5/306 (West side) 08/04/68 Goldings including retaining walls and steps to forecourt and terrace


Large country house, subsequently orphanage, now County Council offices. 1871-77, architect George Devey, with C20 alterations and extensions. MATERIALS: red brick, English bond, with diaper patterns in blue headers, above a coursed rubble stone base, and with ashlar dressings and stone mullioned windows; Welsh slated roofs with multiple stone-coped parapeted gables, numerous multiple shafted moulded brick chimneystacks with moulded bands and oversailing caps. STYLE: Free Elizabethan. PLAN: irregular plan, informally divided into projecting and receding bays, with central entrance hall on north-west side, and principal reception rooms opening off and inner hall, the Saloon, and facing the gardens on the south-west and south-east fronts; forecourt approached through archway, raised terraces on garden fronts. Long, irregular service wing runs northwards at an angle to the main house. EXTERIOR: 3 and 4 storeys with attics. Entrance front of 6 irregular bays, each marked by a gable on the roofline, with varied widths and profiles, Dutch gables in bays 1 and 4 from left, numerous stone mullioned windows with dripmoulds above, and iron casement sub frames. Large projecting stone mullion and transom bay window, with coursed rubble base, at ground-floor level to billiard room, to right, spread across bays 2 and 3, large flush-set mullion and transom window to former Dining Room. In bay 5 to right of entrance, the first floor has a storey height mullion and transom window, with a narrow semicircular bay window at right, lighting the main staircase and landing. Bay 6 at right has a broad entrance chimneybreast to the Library, rising with offsets on left to a 3 flue chimney to-floor level. Brickwork enriched with diaper patterns across whole elevation. Entrance in bay 4 has a 4-light window on second floor, above a canted 3-light mullion and transom bay, with an elaborate carved stone strapwork balustrade above, and a carved stone panel in spandrel below. Porch on ground floor has twin leaf hardwood panelled doors with moulded stiles and muntins and ogee traceried heads. This is set within a stone Tudor arch surround with moulded jambs and intrados, projecting keyblock and carved spandrels with

shields and fern leaves; outer surround with attached Ionic columns raised on tall plinths with entablature and pulvinated frieze. Panel above door records that the William Baker Technical School (run by Dr Barnado's Homes) was opened on 15 November 1922 by HRH Prince of Wales. South-east principal garden front has 5 bays, projecting wings at left and right with Dutch gables framing 3 recessed bays with plain gables. 3- and 4-light attics windows, projecting bay windows with multi-light mullion and transom windows, 2 storeys, rectangular left-hand bay 1, canted in bays 3 and 4, semicircular in Bay 5 at right. Garden entrance in Bay 2, a recessed glazed hardwood traceried screen with twin leaf half-glazed doors, with a broad stone Tudor arch with moulded jambs and intrados, with carved spandrels below a projecting dripmould. Above is a pierced strapwork carved stone balcony with a moulded cap, with a moulded and traceried oak arcade with a low copper roof above. South-west elevation has large multi-light mullion and transom windows across most of the ground floor in projecting polygonal and rectangular bays, with, at left, a link to the single storey conservatory which has continuous stone mullioned windows, a brick parapet and Welsh slated roof, with the gable end facing the entrance forecourt having an open semicircular pediment with curved swept links to flanking pinnacles, and a large mullion and transom window. The service wing runs northwards from the right-hand end of the south-east garden front, and is treated as a part of the overall composition. It is linked with a 3-storey polygonal bay window and a tall octagonal stair turret. Central projecting 3-storey semicircular bay, with attic gable above and 3 flue chimney to right. A second gable further right, and a projecting 5-storey tower with a coursed rubble base and brick walls with full height diaper patterns. 3-storey canted bay window with brick diaper-patterned spandrels 1 and 2 3-light mullioned windows above in centre of east face - the servants' hall was on the ground floor; moulded stone band and castellated parapet concealing lead flat roof. Octagonal stair turret on north face. Parapeted wall beyond to north concealed former kitchen yard, roofed over and converted to workshops in 1940s with metal casement windows in outer face. INTERIOR: an elaborately designed and fitted country house. Main hall (Saloon) panelled to dado height, panelled doors with moulded architraves, broken pediments above pulvinated friezes. Fireplace with bolection surround, panelled outer surround with Jacobean pilasters with strapwork and carved shelf, panelled overmantel. Stair set in arcaded screen with Ionic columns on tall plinths with rusticated blocks. Close

string with long bobbin balusters, moulded handrails and newels with square urn finials with ogee caps, ceiling with ribs and circular panels with sunflowers and poppy heads in urns with initials 'S' (Smith). Drawing Room with bolection moulded panelling, Ionic pilasters, modillion cornice, fireplace in recess with Ionic columns on plinths in antis, marble bolection surround. Carved wood outer surround, geometrical ribbed plaster ceiling. Morning Room has half octagonal bay, panelling with moulded stiles and muntins, modillion cornice, elaborate fitted Jacobean style sideboard, fireplace with white marble bolection surround with wooden Tuscan fluted pilasters, moulded shelf and panelled overmantel. Dining Room faces forecourt; Jacobean style oak panelling with triglyph frieze, oak outer surround with coupled Tuscan attached columns, strapwork frieze, and shelf carved with stylised oak leaves, overmantel with coupled Ionic and central single Ionic pilasters. Ceiling with ribbed square and star patterns and Tudor rose motifs. Billiard Room has softwood panelling, fireplace with green marble bolection surround, squat Tuscan columns on overmantel, ceiling with strapwork pattern. Principal bedrooms have white marble fireplaces some with de Morgan tiles, low dados with moulded rails, moulded ribbed ceilings. Newel stair to second-floor schoolroom suite, closed string with heavy mouldings, panelled newels with ball on pedestal finials, pulvinated column balusters and heavy moulded handrail. Many rooms on second floor subdivided. Service wing has stone flagged lower corridor, high kitchen, servants' hall in base of tower, closed string and newel back stairs. On ground floor to south is attached linked orangery/conservatory with a cast-iron trussed roof. HISTORICAL NOTE: Robert Smith inherited the Goldings estate in 1861, and was Sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1869. The old Goldings Hall of 1650-60 was demolished c1875, by which time the new Goldings commissioned from George Devey was nearing completion. The buildings were adapted and extended, and a chapel was built in 1923. A new wing was added north of the arched entry to the forecourt in 1960. In 1967 the school closed, and Goldings was purchased by Hertfordshire County Council, whose County Surveyor's Department has occupied it ever since. George Devey (1820-86) was one of the major Victorian country house architects, designing in a picturesque style, with Elizabethan and Jacobean details, which merged with the evolution of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the late C19. A skilled water colourist, Devey's picturesque massing was based on pictorial composition, but his plans were often rambling

and haphazard as at Goldings. (The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Hertfordshire: Harmondsworth: 1977-: 147; Smith JT: Hertfordshire Houses: Selective Inventory: London: 1993-: 82; Green L: Hertford's Past in Pictures: Ware: 1993-: 69; Hertfordshire Countryside: Campbell D: Goldings: a curious Hertfordshire Mansion: Letchworth: 1946-1973: 34-5, 38; Dixon R: Victorian Architecture: London: 1978-: 50-2, 257; Girouard M: The Victorian Country House: New Haven and London: 1979-: 84-5, 438; Allibone J: George Devey Architect 1820-1886: Cambridge: 1991-: 91-5, 164).

Listing NGR: TL3099614223


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Allibone, J, George Devey Architect 1820-1886, (1991), 91-95 164
Dixon, R, Muthesius, S, Victorian Architecture, (1978), 50-52 257
Girouard, M, The Victorian Country House, (1971), 84-85 438
Green, L, Hertfords Past in Pictures, (1993), 69
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 147
Smith, J T, Hertfordshire Houses Selective Inventory, (1993), 82
'Hertfordshire Countryside' in Hertfordshire Countryside, (1946-1973), 34-35 38


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

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