Thursday, February 5, 2009

Frome, Somerset

Blue boys and asylum maids

This striking structure is in the charming Somerset town of Frome, a place where the gaze is often diverted from important things like the architecture to such distractions as shops selling a diverting range of local produce, and the stream that runs down the middle of the main street. But here’s one building that caught my eye.

There was an almshouse here from the 1460s onwards, but in 1728 a free school was added to the charitable institution, and this very upright, look-at-me, town-hall-like Georgian building was put up to house it. It’s known as the Blue House, because the boys wore blue coats, as charitable schoolboys often did in those days, and the façade has statues of both an almswoman and a schoolboy.

To one side there are two other statues depicting women, which come from the Keyford Asylum, which was pulled down in 1956. So now this corner of Frome is a repository of local history, a symbol of charitable pride – as well as still providing flats for the elderly. None of which can be a bad thing, especially when housed in such an uplifting building.

The maids from the asylum


Thud said...

Not a bad place to end ones days I would imagine.

Peter Ashley said...

Figures on buildings. A whole army of people guarding entrances, crouching in niches and hovering on parapets. Look out for the three very ghostly figures taken down from the Lud Gate, now hiding in a dark doorway at St.Dunstan's on Fleet Street.