History in Structure

De Montalt Works (Main East Block) with Aqueduct Pylons

A Grade II Listed Building in Combe Down, Bath and North East Somerset

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Latitude: 51.3567 / 51°21'23"N

Longitude: -2.3428 / 2°20'34"W

OS Eastings: 376223

OS Northings: 162009

OS Grid: ST762620

Mapcode National: GBR 0QQ.VY0

Mapcode Global: VH96T.B5SB

Plus Code: 9C3V9M44+MV

Entry Name: De Montalt Works (Main East Block) with Aqueduct Pylons

Listing Date: 5 August 1975

Last Amended: 15 October 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1395199

English Heritage Legacy ID: 510613

ID on this website: 101395199

Location: Combe Down, Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset, BA2

County: Bath and North East Somerset

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Bath

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Tagged with: Cultural heritage ensemble

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(South side (off))
De Montalt Works (Main East Block)
with aqueduct pylons


Former paper mill, with aqueduct pylons, now largely ruinous. Built 1804/1805.
MATERIALS: Combe Down limestone ashlar in large square block, slate roof.
PLAN: Two parts, main works large rectangular block with low-pitched hipped roof.
EXTERIOR: Two/three high storeys on basement, attached to north of administration building, formerly with four gables, but these and much of roofing collapsed. At north-east end was formerly large overshot wheel, 17m in diameter, now completely disappeared, but well remains in part. Works has four + one large openings, partly blocked, and separated by eaves stack, above continuous cavetto mould string, which returns each end. Very high ground floor has three large openings, with voussoirs and keystone, very wide central opening to deep wooden lintel and deep flush stone threshold, part of window head and further opening taken down to ground level, with horizontal industrial window above, these all under drip course with dropped ends. Above this drip are sockets for rafter ends. To basement are four varied elliptical-arched openings, some blocked, with keystones, and remains of square projecting unit, with vegetable growth to top. Short left return has triple opening with stone mullions and substantial remains of vertical glazing bars. Lower floor, concealed by tree growth, has two large sixteen-pane sashes and pair of plank doors, to drip course. Right return has two large openings at eaves, and two stepped external square buttresses, with small opening with segmental head to former wheel-housing. Rear has eaves stack, and window openings above lower building. Main front to administration building has to upper floor central group of two twelve-pane sashes and blind light with cambered heads and keystones, on heavy square sills, and under stopped drip, with pair of plank loading doors at each end to elliptical arch with keystone. Above walling broken off to approximately horizontal line, formerly multi-gabled. Lower floor, under continuous cavetto string, has five-bay colonnade, with four plain Tuscan columns to responds, with plain shallow frieze, and on bases, partly covered by earth and plant growth, flanked by two twelve-pane sashes each side. Set back to colonnade central elliptical-headed doorway with flanking sixteen-pane sashes, and door in return at each end. Ground floor windows set to sill band. Returns flush with end walls of main works building, with twelve and sixteen-pane sashes.
INTERIOR: Basement to main works has deep barrel vaults in cut stone, and remains of heavy beam and joist floors. Administration block almost entirely ruinous, with remnants only of roofing. Condition very bad at time of inspection (2002).
HISTORY: Site passed from the Prior Park Estate in 1779 on the marriage of the Baron de Montalt to Ralph Allen's niece; the 2nd Baron (subsequently Viscount Hawarden) founded a paper mill here in 1805, run by the partnership of Bally, Ellen & Stearn. It originally produced high quality writing paper and sketching paper (used By Turner, Constable, Bonnington, Varley, Cotman et al), as well as for bank-notes issued by provincial banks. It was formerly noted for its overshot wheel, 56ft in diameter, fed by large pipe on pylons, from reservoir to north-west: this was the largest in the country when built, and was complemented by an early Boulton & Watt steam engine, installed in 1808. In industrial archaeological terms, therefore, this is a site of very considerable interest. Two pylons remain to north of building at east end, in good ashlar work, tapering from approx 1m square bases, and approx 5m high, forming piers at entrance to adjacent cottages. However, by 1834 it was producing gutta percha, and paper-making was subsequently removed to Wookey Hole. The site and machinery was sold in 1841. During the 1850s the site was used as a laundry and by 1859 a patent cloth manufacturer was listed here. After a period of use as a market garden, the site returned to industrial use in 1875 when the De Montalt Steam Works opened, producing furniture; in 1883 this became the premises of cabinet maker J.H. Whitaker & Co until 1905. It then entered a protracted period of dereliction. Despite being in poor condition, the site forms a highly interesting group, possessing both architectural and industrial archaeological value, set on the southern edge of Bath in the heart of dramatically falling countryside.
SOURCES: Bath Evening Chronicle, July 24th 1948, 12; R. Atthill, 'Old Mendip' (1964), 56-7; R.A. Buchanan, 'The Industrial Archaeology of Bath' (1969), 15; Peter Addison, `Around Combe Down┬┐ (1998), 93-94; report by the Bath Archaeological Trust (2002) .

Listing NGR: ST7622362009

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