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Ackworth School (That Part Comprising Centre Block East and West Wings Shed Court Main Entrance)

A Grade I Listed Building in Low Ackworth, Wakefield

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Latitude: 53.6497 / 53°38'58"N

Longitude: -1.3342 / 1°20'3"W

OS Eastings: 444107

OS Northings: 417229

OS Grid: SE441172

Mapcode National: GBR MV37.YD

Mapcode Global: WHDCD.GJWD

Plus Code: 9C5WJMX8+V8

Entry Name: Ackworth School (That Part Comprising Centre Block East and West Wings Shed Court Main Entrance)

Listing Date: 6 June 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1025067

English Heritage Legacy ID: 342619

ID on this website: 101025067

Location: Mount Pleasant, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF7

County: Wakefield

Civil Parish: Ackworth

Built-Up Area: Low Ackworth

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ackworth St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Leeds

Tagged with: Boarding school Charitable organisation Independent school

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(west side) Low Ackworth
Ackworth School (that part comprising: Centre Block, East and West Wings, Shed Court, Main Entrance).


Foundling hospital, 1758 to 1773; Quaker residential school since 1778. By
John Watson II (and/or Timothy Lee, Vicar of Ackworth: see History below);
with additions 1786 and subsequently, and some alterations. Sandstone
ashlar, with roofs of stone slate and some slate. Three principal blocks
built in series to form the east (1758), north or centre (1759-62), and west
(1763) sides of a wide green or forecourt, with linking colonnaded quadrants
(1773). All of double-pile plan. Two storeys, in Palladian style, each
principal element symmetrical and of 13 bays with a 3-bay pedimented centre
breaking forwards slightly. The centre block, raised on a low terrace, and
with a sunk basement, has bands on 2 levels, a raised central doorway
approached by 6 steps splayed in descent, with flat parapets and drum
terminals, the doorway with glazed and panelled double doors, a pedimented
Ionic architrave and an inscription in the pediment:


15-pane sashed windows flanking the door, otherwise tall 12-pane sashes at
ground floor and shorter 16-pane sashes at 1st floor; an oculus in the
pediment; hipped roof, and 5 chimney stacks behind the ridge. The east and
west ranges each have the former central pedimented doorway altered as a
window, matching the 12-pane sashes on both floors; but the central windows
to each side have architraves with cornices on consoles and the lst-floor
window above the former door has scrolls on the sill and head; each has an
oculus in the pediment; a hipped roof, and a turret clock behind the centre
of the ridge with an octagonal cupola with a weather vane, that on the east
range surmounted by a lamb with a sprig of thyme in its mouth (see History);
and chimneys like those of the centre. Linking 8-bay quadrants, of 2 lower
storeys, with Tuscan colonnades at ground floor, pilasters and 4-pane sashes
above. The east facade of the east block matches its west facade except that
the centre retains double doors (each of 3 fielded panels) with a 6-pane
overlight; and in the left angle of the projected centre is a rainwater head
with raised date "1758". On this (east) side of this range is a narrow
courtyard ("Shed Court") enclosed on its east side by single-storey 14-bay
colonnaded range (formerly open but now glazed) interrupted in the centre by
a pedimented entrance archway with impost bands and keystone to the inner and
outer entrances; hipped roof.
Interior: the principal feature of interest is the reception room in the
centre block (known as the Old Library), which matches the hall conventional
in country houses of the period: it has pedimented architraves to the
entrance doorways in the front and rear walls, the latter round-headed with
fielded panel double doors and doorcase; 2 doorways at each end, all with
moulded architraves and cornices and similarly panelled doors, those toward
the front segmental-headed; on the chimney breast at each end, a moulded
plaster eared architrave to a picture panel; modillioned cornice and plaster-
panelled ceiling.
History: built as a branch of the London Foundling Hospital established by
Captain Coram in 1741 (the crest of which, said to be designed by Hogarth,
surmounts the east range); east range designed by John Watson II (Linstrum
West Yorkshire p. 244), centre by Timothy Lee (Foulds and Milligan, 1979);
closed as Foundling Hospital 1773; purchased by Society of Friends in 1778
for £7,000, for use as boarding school, and opened 1779.
References: Pevsner; Linstrum West Yorkshire Architects and Architecture
(1978); E. V. Foulds and E. Milligan So Numerous a Family (Ackworth, 1979).

Listing NGR: SE4410717229

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