ENTRANCE BLOCK TO THORNER'S HOMES, MEMORIAL STONE AND PERIMETER RAILINGS WITH TWO PAIRS OF GATEPIERS (TO REGENT'S PARK ROAD AND CLIFTON ROAD)

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1396389
Date first listed:
20-Dec-2010
Statutory Address:
ENTRANCE BLOCK TO THORNER'S HOMES, MEMORIAL STONE AND PERIMETER RAILINGS WITH TWO PAIRS OF GATEPIERS (TO REGENT'S PARK ROAD AND CLIFTON ROAD), REGENT'S PARK ROAD

Map

Ordnance survey map of ENTRANCE BLOCK TO THORNER'S HOMES, MEMORIAL STONE AND PERIMETER RAILINGS WITH TWO PAIRS OF GATEPIERS (TO REGENT'S PARK ROAD AND CLIFTON ROAD)
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Location

Statutory Address:
ENTRANCE BLOCK TO THORNER'S HOMES, MEMORIAL STONE AND PERIMETER RAILINGS WITH TWO PAIRS OF GATEPIERS (TO REGENT'S PARK ROAD AND CLIFTON ROAD), REGENT'S PARK ROAD

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

District:
City of Southampton (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 39593 13638, SU 39612 13578, SU 39624 13638

Reasons for Designation

The entrance building, perimeter railings and gate piers at Thorner's Homes, opened in 1932 to the designs of Maurice Webb of Aston Webb & Sons, and the stone memorial inscribed by Eric Gill, has been recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: An elegant composition of gables and balconies, linked by a tall open arched under a prominent clock tower in an Arts and Crafts manner with historicist references, all executed in refined materials and dressings. * Attention to detail: The spiral columns to the rear are an imaginative feature and the perimeter railings and gate piers form a proud and refined boundary to the estate. * Historical interest: The generous bequest of Robert Thorner to support poor widows in the late C17 is manifest in the quality of the buildings three centuries later. The story is captured in the handsome stone monument in centre court. * Authorship: the work of a noted architectural practice of the period, carried out by the son who designed a number of listed buildings in a similar idiom. The monument was inscribed by the major sculptor and typographer, Eric Gill.

Details



983/0/10077 REGENT'S PARK ROAD 20-DEC-10 Entrance block to Thorner's Homes, mem orial stone and perimeter railings wit h two pairs of gatepiers (to Regent's Park Road and Clifton Road)

II

Also Known As: Entrance block to Thorner's Homes, memorial stone and perimeter railings with tw o pairs of gatepiers (to Regent's Park Road and Clifton Road), CLIFTON ROAD Main entrance building with clocktower to a development of almshouses for Thorner's charity. 1932 by Maurice Everett Webb (1880-1939) of Aston Webb & Sons. Grey brick with red brick dressings outlining most features, occasional stone and brick tile dressings, tiled roofs and continuous red brick plinths. Arts and Crafts manner, with Neo-Georgian references (the refined brickwork with red dressings and cornices) and nods to the Neo-Tudor (the steep gables and pitched tiled roofs), both referring to the long tradition of almshouses. The stone memorial was inscribed by Eric Gill.

EXTERIOR: The entrance block, facing Regent's Park Road, comprises a handed pair of two-storey almshouses linked by a tall arch with modillion eaves cornice, foliate keyblock and stone plaque that reads THORNER'S HOMES 1932, all under a continuous tile roof. To each side of the central arch there is a pair of tall gabled ranges linked by balconies. Each gable has a window on each floor at its outer edges, framed with red brick dressings and capped with a slender stone cornice, with a ventilation slit in the gable's apex. Between the gables, to Regents Park Road, there are angled exterior doors on both floors onto a small patio framed by a wide arch at ground floor and a balcony with red brick dressings at second floor. On the rear elevation, the wide balconies in the same position have red brick copings (and modern handrails) and are supported by a pair of unusual columns formed of flat brick tiles and square on plan, but twisted a full 360 degrees so that they form a complete spiral along the height of the column, on a stone base with a stone cornice. The gables on this side are simpler, with tripartite, centrally-placed windows. Also on this side are the recessed exterior staircases that serve the upper flats. In the centre of the roof is a large copper fleche with clock tower and miniature cupola straddling the roof ridge and placed diagonally. The originally timber windows and French doors were replaced in uPVC in 2004 in the original openings with one fixed pane over top-hung opening windows. There is grey brick chimney with red brick dressings in the centre of each wing.

INTERIOR: There are two flats on each floor, either side of the central arch (one was inspected). They are understood to be modestly fitted out originally, as well as having later-C20 alteration, and are therefore not of special interest.

MEMORIAL STONE: Portland stone memorial pier in the central courtyard with a cornice, capped with a stone ball balanced on an open obelisk base. In serif lettering, designed and inscribed by Eric Gill, this records that in 'A.D. 1932 These Homes were built by the Trustees of the Will of Robert Thorner who died 17th July 1690 and who lies buried in Baddesley Churchyard. The will contain'd amongst other philanthropic provisions a direction that the Testators should be mainly devoted to the buildings and maintenance of houses in Southampton for poor Widows. The Trustees of the Will also have Homes in the Polygon and formerly had some on a Site between Above Bar & and the Town Hall which was acquired by the Corporation in 1931'. Other faces are blank or tell more recent history of Thorner's Homes in similar typescript.

RAILINGS and GATEPIERS: The site is bounded by iron railings on a brick plinth with periodic taller sections that have ornate scrolled tops and a trio of urn finials. Three entrances in the railings are framed by grey brick piers with red quoins capped with stone balls.

HISTORY: This site was first developed in the early 1930s by the Thorner's charity, which was established by the bequest of Robert Thorner, a wealthy Southampton merchant who died in 1690. His philanthropic legacy was to support poor widows of the area and the first almshouse in his name was established in 1793 in the centre of Southampton. This sober, pedimented almshouse was demolished in the 1930s to make way for the grandiose new Southampton Civic Centre. Thorner's built the new, replacement premises on Regent's Park Road just outside the centre of Southampton's Shirley district. The architect for the new scheme was the firm of Aston Webb and Son. Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930) had died by this time but his sons, Maurice and Philip, took over the family practice and it likely that Maurice was responsible for the commission. Maurice Webb (1880-1939) took over his father's practice and designed a number of notable buildings in the 1920s and '30s that have now been listed, including the crematorium, lodge, chapels and waiting room at Camberwell New Cemetery (1928-9), the block of flats with shops at the Grampians, Hammersmith (1935-7), the depository for Bentall's department store in Kingston (1936-7), and several offices in London.

The almshouses were built around three courtyards (North Court, Centre Court, and South Court), around which were arranged 15 two-storey houses, which were paired to the main, north and south entrances. The other 13 almshouses are not included in the listing.

SOURCES: - Original architectural drawings in Southampton City Council Archives, ref. '582/1 Almshouses (60 flats): Regents Park Road, for Trustees of Thorner's charity 1931'. - Drawing exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1933 No. 1426 'Thorner's Homes: new almshouses for sixty inmates at Southampton'. - David Peace 'Eric Gill. The Inscriptions' (1994) 138.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The entrance building, perimeter railings and gate piers at Thorner's Homes, opened in 1932 to the designs of Maurice Webb of Aston Webb & Sons, and the stone memorial inscribed by Eric Gill, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: An elegant composition of gables and balconies, linked by a tall open arched under a prominent clock tower in an Arts and Crafts manner with historicist references, all executed in refined materials and dressings. * Attention to detail: The spiral columns to the rear are an imaginative feature and the perimeter railings and gate piers form a proud and refined boundary to the estate. * Historical interest: The generous bequest of Robert Thorner to support poor widows in the late C17 is manifest in the quality of the buildings three centuries later. The story is captured in the handsome stone monument in centre court. * Authorship: the work of a noted architectural practice of the period, carried out by the son who designed a number of listed buildings in a similar idiom. The monument was inscribed by the major sculptor and typographer, Eric Gill.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
510716
Legacy System:
LBS

Legal

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

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