Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Friday 12th August 2022

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 [1], 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 [2] 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 [3] stair tower with conical roof. The delight here is in the details: dragon hoppers to the downpipes; rich foliateGlossary Term [4] eavesGlossary Term [5] corniceGlossary Term [6]; cast lead roof finials; an ogee-cappedGlossary Term [7] orielGlossary Term [8] launching off one corner; and excellent ironwork to the boundary wall railings and lamps. Arcaded basementGlossary Term [9] shops on Christmas Steps are also by Foster & Wood, 1883, with massively hewn roundGlossary Term [10] arches on stumpy chamfered sandstone columns.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009