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Foster's Almshouses

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.