Monday, 30 March 2015

Castle House, Queen Street, Bridgwater

Castle House, which is located in Queen Street in the centre of Bridgwater (grid reference ST 299 372), was one of the first houses to be built of prefabricated concrete and constructional post-tensioning.  It was built for John Board in 1851.  Mr Board owned a brick company and diversified into cement in 1844.

The house is rectangular, has 3 floors and looks like a Tudor gatehouse.  The ground floor is built mainly of brick with smooth concrete facing panels.  The first floor is separated from the ground floor by a row of concrete blocks with a circular pattern on them.  The first floor is composed of concrete blocks.  The second floor, which is separated from the first floor by another row of concrete blocks with a different circular pattern on them, is made of concrete blocks topped by a row of battlements.  There are seven niches at the front but only one currently houses a sculpture.

Castle House came close to being demolished in 1998 but English Heritage increased its listed statue from 2 to 2*. It was purchased by the SAVE Trust in 2002.

In 2004 Castle House appeared on the BBC television programme Restoration.  Despite appearing in the final, not much happened to it in the next decade. There are plans to restore it and use it as an arts centre.

 Castle House in February 2015 - almost invisible beneath the plastic sheeting and scaffolding

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