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Shirehampton Public Hall and Library

A Grade II Listed Building in Bristol, Bristol

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Latitude: 51.4869 / 51°29'12"N

Longitude: -2.6755 / 2°40'31"W

OS Eastings: 353193

OS Northings: 176652

OS Grid: ST531766

Mapcode National: GBR JM.KFQX

Mapcode Global: VH88D.KWXJ

Plus Code: 9C3VF8PF+PR

Entry Name: Shirehampton Public Hall and Library

Listing Date: 4 March 1977

Last Amended: 30 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1202596

English Heritage Legacy ID: 380605

Location: Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston, Bristol, BS11

County: Bristol

Electoral Ward/Division: Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston

Built-Up Area: Bristol

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bristol

Church of England Parish: Shirehampton

Church of England Diocese: Bristol

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Public hall and library. Dated 1904. Designed by the architect Frederick Bligh Bond in a Queen Anne revivalist style, and built by C A Hayes. The mid-to late-C20 additions to the rear elevation are excluded from the listing.


Public hall and library. Dated 1904. Designed by the architect Frederick Bligh Bond in a Queen Anne revivalist style, and built by C A Hayes. The mid-to late-C20 additions to the rear elevation are excluded from the listing.

MATERIALS: built of squared and coursed Lias stone with ashlar dressings to the ground floor; the first floor, the gable-end stacks and the upper stages of the clock tower are roughcast. The hipped and gabled roofs are covered in Cornish slate tiles, and the tower roof has bands of slate and red-stone tiles. The timber sash windows have wooden glazing bars and the hopperheads and downpipes are cast iron.

PLAN: the building is roughly rectangular on plan comprising projecting front wings to either side of the central lobby with a lateral open-plan hall to the rear. The library is to the south-west end of the hall. To the rear (south-east) elevation is a single-storey toilet block to the hall and a single-storey extension to the library, both of which are not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: the principal elevation (north-west) is arranged as a single-storey, three-bay range with a projecting central porch, flanked by two-storey, single-bay symmetrical wings with hipped roofs and gable-end stacks. Behind, is the pitched roof of the hall with two flat-roofed dormer windows and a central, square, louvered lantern with a swept pyramidal roof. The central porch has a pair of half-glazed panelled doors set within a moulded architrave with a keystone depicting the Green Man. Above, is a wide, segmental open pediment with modillion cornice, supported on a pair of console brackets. To the tympanum is a keyed oculus with ornate avant-garde carvings, over glass, to either side. On the central panel to the parapet is the raised inscription ‘SHIREHAMPTON PUBLIC HALL 1904’. To either side of the porch are four-light, four-over-four sash windows, with a modillion cornice above. The flanking wings have tripartite windows to the ground and first floor, with the central section of the first-floor window forming a bowed oriel. There is a modillion cornice to the eaves. To the bottom left of the left-hand wing is the inscribed foundation stone. Attached to the right-hand wing is a single-storey, flat-roofed range with a four-over-four and a six-over-six sash window. To the south-west elevation, to the right of the flat-roofed range, is a three-storey clock tower. To the base of the tower is the entrance to the library reached via a ramp, and arranged as a round-headed doorway with a pair of panelled doors, beneath a broken-triangular pediment supported on console brackets. To the second stage of the tower is a round-headed stair window, and above, to the third stage, are pairs of louvred, round-headed belfry windows with aprons to each of the four sides of the tower. The modillion eaves cornice with console brackets to the corners is surmounted by an ogee shaped roof, with a clock face to each of the four sides, and a weather vane to the pinnacle. To the right of the tower, the two-storey library wing projects forward of the hall. Its north-west wall is blind, and there is a flat-roofed dormer to the roof, and a ridge stack. Its south-west swept gable-end has a four-light, nine-over-nine sash window arrangement to the ground floor, framed by offset buttresses. To the first floor is a tripartite window with the central window forming a bowed oriel supported on a console bracket. The rear (south-east) elevation of the hall was not inspected but there are understood to be two clerestorey windows, a nine-over-nine sash window and two flat-roofed dormers to the roof. The north-east elevation comprises the gable end of the hall, which has a pair of panelled doors with a fanlight above, flanked by pairs of sash windows. Above, is a five-light bowed oriel window and a keyed oculus to the gable. To the right is the side elevation of the north-east wing, with a set-forward entrance porch with raised parapet, with a pair of sash windows above and an eight-over-eight sash window to the right. Beneath this window is a relieving arch to a blocked basement window. Supporting the gable-end stack is a buttress.

INTERIOR: a pair of panelled and glazed doors with margin lights and glazing above lead into the lobby, which to either side has a ticket desk comprising a hatch with shutters and a counter. The central section of the lobby has a barrelled ceiling with a moulded cornice, and above the panelled doors to the hall, between the cornice and ceiling, is a segmental pediment. To either end of the lobby is a dogleg staircase, that to the north-east end has decorative cast-iron balusters. There are a series of rooms to the north-west side of the lobby. The porch and lobby have a dark blue and white tiled floor. The hall has a barrel-vaulted roof and a parquet floor. Basket-arched recesses house the original ventilating radiators. To the south-west end is the panelled stage with a set of steps to either side. To the north-west end is the gallery. The gallery is accessed via the north-east lobby staircase and has six rows of fixed, folding chairs with armrests. To the back corners of the gallery are square recesses with ventilated radiators. The north-east wing of the building houses the former caretaker’s accommodation. To the ground floor is the former living room, now used as a meeting room, which has a fitted cupboard and a mid-C20 electric fireplace. The entrance hall provides access to the basement and a staircase to the first-floor former bedroom. The former bedroom, now used as an office, retains a cast-iron fireplace. The first floor of the south-west end incorporates the clock tower, and there is a hatch to the ceiling providing access to the belfry. The library has a separate public entrance to the base of the tower, and its porch has a further doorway to the public hall. The south-east wall has been removed to provide access to the single-storey extension, and the wooden counter, originally to the south-west wall, has been removed, as has the fireplace in the north-east wall. The staircase has turned balusters and leads to the former children’s library on the first floor. There is a panelled door on the half landing. The first-floor room, which no longer forms part of the library, has a panelled and glazed partition wall to the former librarian’s area, a fitted cupboard and a doorway to the public hall. Throughout the interior are panelled doors, moulded cornices, and beaded dados and skirting boards.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the mid- to late-C20 extensions to the rear are not of special architectural or historic interest.


On the 10 August 1903 Squire Napier Miles of King’s Weston Estate donated land to the parish of Shirehampton for the building of the public hall. It was built at a cost of £2715 and funded by a £100 donation from Squire Miles and funds from Barton Regis Rural District Council, which consisted of six civil parishes including Shirehampton. The library, which was not included in the original plan, had been added to the design by 1904, and its building was funded with an £800 donation from the Carnegie Foundation. The official opening of the public hall and library was on the 29 September 1904 but it was not until 6 March 1905 that the library was opened to members of the public. In the early C20, following the inclusion of Shirehampton into the City of Bristol in October 1904, the inscription above the hall was changed from ‘SHIREHAMPTON PARISH HALL 1904’ to ‘SHIREHAMPTON PUBLIC HALL 1904’.

The public hall and library was designed by the architect and archaeologist Frederick Bligh Bond. Bond (1864-1945) was articled to C F Hansom in 1882 and worked, briefly, as an assistant to Arthur Bloomfield in 1886. He was practising as an architect in Bristol from 1888 and undertook a number of commissions for the King’s Weston Estate, including the public hall.

Through the encouragement of Squire Napier Miles, who was a keen amateur musician, many musical performances were held at the public hall, including the first performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’, ‘The Lark Ascending’ on the 15 December 1920.

Since the mid-C20 some alterations have been carried out to the building including the addition of a single-storey toilet block to the south-east elevation of the public hall in 1950, and a single-storey extension to the library in 1996. Internally, the library has undergone some minor reconfiguration with the removal of the counter and its replacement with a modern desk in a different position, the replacement of the standing shelving and the relocation of the first-floor children’s library to the ground-floor extension. The library facilities are now located on the ground floor and the former children’s library is now used as part of the public hall.

Reasons for Listing

Shirehampton Public Hall and Library in Bristol, designed by Frederick Bligh Bond and built in 1904, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural inerest: as an accomplished and well-detailed public hall and library in the Queen Anne revivalist style. Designed by architect Frederick Bligh Bond the building is a prominent example of a civic structure, by a noted architect, which is designed to impress both externally and internally;
* Intactness: the principal façade and side elevations are unaltered and the building retains its original plan and a good proportion of original fittings including panelled doors, radiators and seating to the hall gallery;
* Historic interest: the first performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ ‘The Lark Ascending’ was performed at the public hall on the 15 December 1920.

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