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Blue School and Portway Annexe

A Grade II Listed Building in Wells, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2094 / 51°12'33"N

Longitude: -2.6532 / 2°39'11"W

OS Eastings: 354465

OS Northings: 145781

OS Grid: ST544457

Mapcode National: GBR MN.41M2

Mapcode Global: VH89R.YVQQ

Plus Code: 9C3V685W+QP

Entry Name: Blue School and Portway Annexe

Listing Date: 13 September 1972

Last Amended: 31 May 2000

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1383058

English Heritage Legacy ID: 483476

Location: Wells, Mendip, Somerset, BA5

County: Somerset

District: Mendip

Civil Parish: Wells

Built-Up Area: Wells

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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662-1/5/194 (East side)
13/09/72 Blue School, Portway Annexe
(Formerly Listed as:
Wells Teacher's Centre)


Former girls' school, now a further education annexe to the
C20 Blue School (on another site). Designed by H Dare Bryan,
and dated 1900, with substantial additions dated 1913. Squared
local conglomerate rubble with ashlar bands and dressings,
plain clay tiled roof, ashlar chimney stacks set diagonally on
stone bases.
PLAN: a complex building with vigorous Art Nouveau detailing,
particularly around the main entry. The first part of the
building was central corridor with 3 large teaching rooms,
staff and auxiliary accommodation, with the principal entry at
the SW corner. The later additions along the N and E sides
include further classrooms, and a small returned wing with
formerly open store or cycle shed, enclosing a playground to
the S.
EXTERIOR: all single storey, with steep pitched roofs, mainly
gabled, but central element over first range with hipped roof
and cupola. The front to Portway is in 3 parts; at the centre
is a double-gabled unit with large arched openings over timber
lights with a lunette with small-paned glazing on 4-light
casements with transom and horizontal bars.
There are bold conglomerate voussoirs, with triple ashlar
keystones. Battered corner buttresses rise to the flush
sill-band level, and there are further bands at the springing
line and above the voussoirs. The deep gable eaves have purlin
brackets with a small carved heart cut through. At the valley
is the original cast-iron downpipe on brackets, with
decorative broad hopper-head. Set back from the gables is a
lateral ridge to a hipped roof, with central wooden cupola
having lead roof and finial plus weathervane.
The cupola is on 8 unfluted Doric columns with entablature
having triglyphs and dentils, all on a square base. To the
right is a stack. To the left, set back, is a similar gable
over stone chamfer-mullion 2:4:2-light stepped casements with
transom. The masonry is less careful than in the earlier work,
otherwise detail is broadly similar. To the right, set back,
is a highly decorative lower unit with flat leaded roof; at
the corner is a sharp lead finial above an octagonal turret
with panelled surfaces and lead cupola to concave curved
There are small stone ovolo-mould casements with flat
3-centred heads to the lights under a moulded cornice; the
leading to the lights is in Art Nouveau patterns. At the
centre is a raised segmental pediment over a fine carved
cartouche including the date 1900, 3 cherub heads, and the
motto RECTA CERTA. This returns with similar detail to the S,
and the main double entry doors with characteristic panelling,
dentils and glazing under a deep moulded segmental head on
deep splayed jambs.
To its right is a 2-light casement with hollow-mould mullion.
Dressings and splayed corner buttress are as in the section to
the left. The S front has a Dutch gable including a raised
element with turned stone balusters, and with 2 pinnacles,
over a 3-light chamfer-mullion casement with cornice and
pediment with egg and dart.
The lower part has a splayed headband to 3- and 2-light
casements with ovolo-mould members and 3-centred heads. At the
right-hand end are steps down to a boiler room. The E front
has two pairs of gables with arched lights as on the Portway
front, including the central downpipe with hopper-head. Set
back in the valley is a small square ventilating turret with
lead capping, and on a splayed tiled apron. To the left is a
slightly set-back unit, and at the ridge here is a large stack
with 4 diagonal shafts.
The long wing across the rear has a hipped roof with deep
slopes swept at the eaves. This has two 3-light hipped dormers
above 3-light casements each side of a central open gabled
porch including a 1913 date-stone. Returned at right angles to
this is a small wing, the first part in rubble, and including
3 and 1-light openings; the second part was a former open
store with timber posts, the openings now filled and rendered,
but the posts exposed. There is a stack between the two parts.
The long N wall, directly facing Lovers' Walk, is detailed
with stone-mullioned casements similar to the N gable on the
Portway front.
INTERIOR: the interior, especially of the 1900 range, retains
much of the original detailing, including panelled and glazed
doors; the central corridor, with a glazed brick dado to the
walls in the administrative section, has timber partitions to
the classrooms, with arched openings echoing those in the
outer walls. The main hall has a complex raised panelled
ceiling and matchboard dado; the Library a deep coved cornice
and central flitch beam. The Small Committee Room has a window
to the N, formerly the outer wall, now into a corridor. At a
junction in the corridor is a small roof-light with tinted
glass, on a small-pane skirt.
This is a building very characteristic of Bryan Dare's
imaginative designs, and is especially interesting not only
for the exterior, but because it retains more of the interior
detailing than is usual in buildings of this type.
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and
Bristol: London: 1958-: 326).

Listing NGR: ST5446545781

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