Fedden Village, a private gated community near Portishead, England  FEDDEN-VILLAGE.COM
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22nd August 2014
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THE FORMIDABLE NAUTICAL SCHOOL, PORTISHEAD

Parts of a contemporary report about the scheme is reproduced below:

The site is situated at the end of the Nore road, Portishead, and comprises 15 acres of undulating land belonging to the British Corporation, which have been secured on lease at a nominal rental. The ground is particularly suitable for an institution wherein are to be reared boys intended afterwards to join the Navy or Mercantile Marine. The architect is Mr. Edward Gabriel, of Old Broad-street, E.C. The main buildings will have a frontage of 382ft., and will rise 45ft. high from the parade ground, the whole being arranged so as to give as much light and air as possible. Owing to the rapid fall in the site there will be a basement extending the whole length of the building, and 40ft. in width. The space thus provided will be used as carpenters', tailors', shoemakers', and other shops, and stores, laundry, and heating apparatus. There are also here a band-room and instruments' store. Under the tower in the central building is the main entrance, surmounted with carved figures of Neptune and Britannia. The tower, which is to contain a clock 90ft. high, is finished with wood and copper flÍche. The small towers at the corner of each main block contain staircases. The two upper floors are to be used as dormitories, and from each dormitory there will be two stairs uses for use in case of emergency, the steps of solid balks of timber, which, besides being fire-resisting, are not so likely to cause chilblains as stone when trodden on by the boys' naked feet. The entrances for the boys are on each side of the central building. The ground floor of the west block will be used for a messroom for the boys, officers' messroom, with kitchen, scullery, and storerooms adjoining. At the extreme end of the west block is to be the chief officer's house and rooms for resident schoolmaster. At the rear of this block is to be a bay for sick boys, for which hereafter a separate cottage hospital will be substituted when the necessary funds are available. The great floor of the east block is to be devoted to schoolroom and classrooms, library, and teachers' room. At the extreme east of this building is the residence of the captain superintendent, which will be connected with the main building, and from which house there will be ample supervision of the parade ground and playing fields. The central building is to contain committee-room on one side of the main entrance, and offices for the captain superintendent on the other. On the upper floors of this building there are to be spare cabins for officers and any old boys who may hereafter visit the institution. Each large dormitory will have four officers' cabins, and from inspection windows for efficient supervision. The floors of the dormitories are to be of solid balks of timber, tongued together, and the space will be made to resemble the deck of a vessel as much as possible. The lads will sleep in hammocks, as on board ship. The bathrooms and lavatories are adjoining the dormitories, but cut off by means of cross ventilated lobbies. Passing through the hall from the main entrance, access will be gained to the gymnasium which is at rear of the central building. The dimensions of the gymnasium are 84ft. by 50ft., and 20ft. high to the springing of the roof. It will be used not only for physical exercise, but also for meetings and entertainments, and for services when the weather may prevent the boys attending church. The buildings are to be warmed by hot water on the low pressure system. Accommodation will be provided for from 350 to 400 boys. From the parade-ground access is obtained by broad flights of steps to a lower terrace. The land between this and the Channel is to be laid out as playing-fields. There will also be a jetty and boathouse on the foreshore. The contract for the building will be undertaken by Messrs. W. Cowlin and Sons, of Bristol, and it is estimated that £30,000 will be expended, but a good many further additions will be needed, such as entrance lodge, gates and fencing, so that probably more than this amount will be required, and several thousands of pounds in addition to the sum already contributed for this purpose.

As well as land-based training, the school had a sea-going tender and two ten-oar cutters for training the older boys in practical seamanship. Of the 3,700 boys discharged from the Formidable and the School between 1869 and December, 1909, 2,312 went into the Merchant Service and 192 into the Royal Navy.

National Nautical School site, 1920.

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