Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Wednesday 27th October 2021

Ragged Schools and Ashton House

Aspin Lane [1] and Dantzic Street is the Charter Street Ragged School and Working Girls Home, a relatively rare surviving example of a purpose-built institution of this type, with a largely intact plan. The work of the mission had commenced in 1847 and a school was built on the site in 1866. The range to Little Nelson Street by Maxwell & Tuke, dated 1891, was an extension of the 1866 building, subsequently pulled down and replaced by the block to Dantzic Street in 1898, also by Maxwell & Tuke. The earlier part has tall channelled chimneys and top floor oriels, the rather plain later building one or two BaroqueGlossary Term [2] touches. The corner entrance to Dantzic Street has the words 'Working Girls Home' over the doorway. Accommodation was provided for servants who would otherwise have to use lodging houses, with kitchens, laundries and individual cubicles. Some of these features survive. Two large halls on two floors on the Aspin Lane side served the ragged school and mission. The changes of level inside reflect the piecemeal building history and the exigencies of a circulation system which separated the working girls from other users.

Corporation Street [3] is Ashton House. This was a model lodging house for women built by the corporation 1908-10 by City Architect H.R. Price (a men's lodging house, far to the south-east off Pollard Street has disappeared). On an island site with a very narrow rounded north-east end to the junction with CrownGlossary Term [4] Lane. Red brick and cream terracottaGlossary Term [5] in Arts and CraftsGlossary Term [6] style. Nice details include ironwork with flower motifs, lettering in the gableGlossary Term [7] to the corner with Aspin Lane and voussoirsGlossary Term [8] of tiles laid on edge. It catered for 222 women, who occupied dormitories with individual cubicles and cooked for themselves in communal kitchens.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009