Foster's Almshouses

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Bristol, Fosters Almshouses

Open: Sat 11th, 1000-1600.

Founded by John Foster in 1483, rebuilt to designs of Foster & Wood (as architects to the Charity Trustees) The style is a wonderfully fanciful Burgundian GothicGlossary Term, modelled loosely on the Hotel Dieu at Beaune. The W wing on the downward side of Colston Street was begun 1861, but the E and N wings not until 1883. Much diaper-workGlossary Term in the brick walls and tiled roofs, and the courtyard plan exploited to the full with towers at the internal corners and timber porches to the E and N ranges, all linked by timber-railed balconies. On the N range these terminate in an open winderGlossary Term stair tower with conical roof. The delight here is in the details: dragon hoppers to the downpipes; rich foliateGlossary Term eavesGlossary Term corniceGlossary Term; cast lead roof finials; an ogee-cappedGlossary Term orielGlossary Term launching off one corner; and excellent ironwork to the boundary wall railings and lamps. Arcaded basementGlossary Term shops on Christmas Steps are also by Foster & Wood, 1883, with massively hewn roundGlossary Term arches on stumpy chamfered sandstone columns.



Lowest, subordinate storey; hence the lowest part of a classical elevation, below the piano nobile or principal storey.


Flat-topped ledge with moulded underside, projecting along the top of a building or feature, especially as the highest member of the classical entablature. Also the decorative moulding in the angle between wall and ceiling. An eaves cornice overhangs the edge of a roof.


Repetitive surface decoration of lozenges or squares flat or in relief. Achieved in brickwork with bricks of two colours.


Overhanging edge of a roof; hence eaves cornice in this position.


Decorated with leaves.


The style of the Middle Ages from the later 12th century to the Renaissance, with which it co-existed in certain forms into the 17th century. Characterized in its full development by the pointed arch, the rib-vault and an often skeletal masonry structure for churches, combined with large glazed windows. The term was originally associated with the concept of the barbarian Goths as assailants of classical civilization.


A double curve, bending first one way and then the other. An ogee or ogival arch, especially popular in the 14th century, is pointed at the top. A nodding ogee curves forward from the wall face at the top.


A bay window which rests on corbels or brackets and starts above ground level.


(Scots): A rounded bartizan or turret, usually roofless. An angle round is set at a corner.


A step on a curved or turning section of a stair.