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Penrhos College Junior School (Ratonagh)

A Grade II Listed Building in Colwyn Bay, Conwy

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Latitude: 53.2951 / 53°17'42"N

Longitude: -3.743 / 3°44'34"W

OS Eastings: 283923

OS Northings: 378992

OS Grid: SH839789

Mapcode National: GBR 2Z9B.FH

Mapcode Global: WH655.GFVQ

Plus Code: 9C5R77W4+3Q

Entry Name: Penrhos College Junior School (Ratonagh)

Listing Date: 25 July 1994

Last Amended: 25 July 1994

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 14685

Building Class: Education

Location: Set back from the road near the corner with King’s Drive.

County: Conwy

Community: Colwyn Bay (Bae Colwyn)

Community: Colwyn Bay

Built-Up Area: Colwyn Bay

Traditional County: Denbighshire

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Dated 1894, and built for Mr David Gamble, a Manchester businessman; designed by Booth, Chadwick and Porter, the principal architects of the development of Colwyn Bay after 1876. A billiard room extension linking the house of the coach house and stable block was added some time between 1900 and 1908. The house was sold and became a school in 1926.


3 storeys, with principal 3-window range, and recessed service wing to the SW. Brick with terracotta dressings and timber framing in upper storeys. Plain tiled roofs; stacks mainly truncated but 2 axial stacks remain. Free 'Jacobethan' style. Entrance front faced SE: balanced asymmetrical main range, with entrance towards centre in Mannerist timberwork porch with shaped pilasters, trefoiled overlights to paired doors, and decorative leaded glazing with stained glass in the margin lights. Similar timberwork and glazed screen to entrance hall within. 3-light French window over porch, and hipped roof dormer, slightly advanced on brackets above. Wide canted 3 storeyed bay window to the left with 4-light mullioned and transomed windows is timber framed in its upper storey, and surmounted by a high gable; to the right of the entrance, a 2-storeyed canted bay window with 2-light mullioned and transomed window surmounted by strongly jetted timbered upper gable. Lower windows throughout have enriched terracotta heads, and terracotta aprons emblazoned with the letter 'G'. Simpler terracotta detailing in upper windows. Recessed service wing to the left has 3-light mullioned window to ground floor, and 2-storeyed timber framed oriel window above. NE return has paired inglenook windows on each floor in advanced coped gable formerly surmounted by stack. Timber-work loggia (now glazed in) similar to main entrance porch, and canted tower at rear angle. This has sash windows in moulded terracotta architraves, and is surmounted by a spire. Trefoiled terracotta and plaster panelling at apex, the terracotta ribs forming a continuation of the window architraves of the upper storey.

Rear elevation is dominated by the tower as its lower angle, and by the canted stone mullioned and transomed stair window, with the roof above it overhanging on brackets. Stepped windows of secondary stair beyond. Advanced gable to right, with mullioned windows of 3 and 4 lights. Rear wing housing former gymnasium and billiard room, has jetted timber framed gable and dormer windows, and joins the house to the former coach house and stable range.


Entrance and stair hall is flanked by former library and drawing room in the cross wing to the NE, and dining room to SW. A spinal corridor opens off the hall to the rear of the dining room, leading to service accommodation. All the principal rooms retain their original detail, employing a Mannerist vocabulary typical of Booth, Chadwick and Porter: entrance hall has fireplace with fluted brackets supporting mantel, dado panelling and ribbed timber panels to ceiling, and principal beams carried on carved stone corbels; galleried staircase with arcaded balustrade and heavy newels. Decorative leading and stained glass in stair window. Dining room has heavy bracketed fireplace with pedimented overmantel, low relief plaster frieze and fretted wood cornice; former library has a heavily ornate fireplace set in an inglenook recess with built-in benches, and a fretted wood arch separating it from the body of the room; drawing room has similar wood work to arch of bay window across the corner, and a heavy plaster ceiling. Service rooms also retain some original detailing, including cupboards in former butler's pantry etc.

Reasons for Listing

A fine example of the work of Booth, Chadwick and Porter, and a well-composed and richly detailed example of the lavish Neo-Vernacular style popular for the large houses which were an important feature of Colwyn Bay's development at the end of the C19.

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