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Admiralty House (Building Number 1/20) and Attached Railings

A Grade II* Listed Building in Portsmouth, Portsmouth

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Latitude: 50.8007 / 50°48'2"N

Longitude: -1.1057 / 1°6'20"W

OS Eastings: 463118

OS Northings: 100505

OS Grid: SU631005

Mapcode National: GBR VNP.QB

Mapcode Global: FRA 86KZ.C1Y

Plus Code: 9C2WRV2V+7P

Entry Name: Admiralty House (Building Number 1/20) and Attached Railings

Listing Date: 13 August 1999

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1244604

English Heritage Legacy ID: 476655

Location: Charles Dickens, Portsmouth, PO1

County: Portsmouth

Electoral Ward/Division: Charles Dickens

Built-Up Area: Portsmouth

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: St Thomas of Canterbury, Portsmouth

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

Find accommodation in


(East side)
HM Naval Base
774-1/29/194 Admiralty House (Building No 1/20)
and attached railings


Commissioner's house, now Commander-in-Chief's residence. 1784-6 by Samuel Wyatt, Clerk of Works Thomas Telford; for the Navy Board. C19 additions and alterations. Bomb-damaged 1941 with subsequent restoration. Yellowish brick in Flemish bond with ashlar dressings. Hipped slate roofs with brick stacks, those of centrepiece with ashlar cornices and set flanking cupola. Mid Georgian style.
EXTERIOR: 3 storeys with basement, 5 bays, with slightly recessed 3-bay wings of 1 storey with basement, and single storey 1-bay end pavilions. At left end, 2-storey 2-bay addition, gable end-on, projecting slightly. Ashlar plinth and ground-floor band; moulded sill string to ground floor; 1st-floor sill band; dentilled cornice and blocking course to centrepiece; cornice and ashlar parapet with -balustraded panels to wings; corniced pediments to pavilions. Windows have gauged brick flat arches; sashes with glazing bars, replaced on 1st floor and to left wing; on 2nd floor, 6-pane sashes with ashlar sills; added louvred shutters to 1 st and 2nd floors. At centre, mid-late C 19 portico with round-arched entrance and windows, iron- bracketed canopy, parapet, and stone steps inside up to entrance with part-glazed, panelled, double door. The added 2-stage wooden cupola has octagonal upper stage with round-arched windows, pilasters, "imposts" and "keystones"; and swept lead roof carrying flagpole. The end pavilions each have a window within a round-arched recess, that on left replaced by wide C19 tripartite sash. Addition at left end has internal porch on right with Ionic columns supporting entablature and console- bracketed segmental pediment; 6-pane sashes, shorter on 2nd floor, and modillioned eaves cornice. At right end, stone steps down to basement area and iron railings and gate, the bars of bulging "I" section and the gate having a base rail of ovals. Rear: 3-bay centre-piece has C19 central2-storey porch addition and flanking, pilastered, baywindows. On left, late C19 projecting single- storey billiard-room with roof lantern. Right-hand wing, rebuilt after bomb damage, links to end pavilion which has tall window in round-arched recess.
INTERIOR: entrance vestibule with fluted, foliate, cornice and pilastered architraves leads to full-depth hall with rich cornice (urn, garland and egg-and-dart motifs) off which are drawing and dining rooms. The former has decorative marble fireplace by John Bacon (Lloyd, p413) with central portrait and with Neptune's trident and entwined dolphins to pilaster jambs. The dining room has similar fireplace, also by Bacon, the decorative shell centrepiece flanked by dolphins and lions' heads, and with garlands to pilaster jambs. Also in this room, semi-domed recess with decorative plasterwork, including central roundel and ribs of husks, flanked by doors in original corniced architraves which have acanthus- leaf friezes. Decorative fireplace also in morning room (front right); and former library (front left) recorded as having original bookcases, one still intact (Lloyd, p413). Main staircase (rebuilt mid C20) has mid- late C19-style openwork balusters; original dog-leg secondary stair has stick balusters, scrolled brackets, and 2nd handrail carried on band of ovals. On 1st and 2nd floors, panelled doors, reveals, and shutters; decorative wooden fireplaces and ceiling cornices (all plainer on 2nd floor).
HISTORY: built as the residence of the Navy Board's Commissioner, who was in charge of the daily running of the dockyard. It accommodated also visiting royalty, and hence was built on a more lavish scale than might otherwise be expected. Notable as a rare and little altered design in the dockyards by a national architect.
(Sources: Coad J: Historic Architecture of HM Naval Base Portsmouth 1700- 1850: Portsmouth: 1981: 6, plate 2; Coad J: The Royal Dockyards 1690- 1850: Aldershot: 1989: 54-61 ; The Buildings of England: Lloyd D: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight: Harmondsworth: 1985: 412-3).

Listing NGR: SU6299200361

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