The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

C20 Society urges conversion of doctor’s surgery

Photo: Jeremy Gould

Plans to demolish a doctor’s surgery in Frome, Somerset, which is identified as a building of interest in a Nikolaus Pevsner architectural guide, are being opposed by the Twentieth Century Society.

The Lock’s Hill Surgery was built between 1995 and 1996 to designs by the architects and writers Jeremy and Caroline Gould, and is featured in Pevsner’s Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol volume.


Photo: Jeremy Gould

C20 caseworker Coco Whittaker said: “The surgery is clearly an unlisted building of merit which makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Frome Conservation Area. We believe it would be possible to convert the surgery into a workable single house, or perhaps a small office or community building. It should not be demolished.”

Blue Homes Ltd have submitted the planning application, which proposes to build seven new homes. Frome Civic Society and Mendip District Council’s Assistant Conservation Officer have also objected to the application, identifying the surgery as a building of architectural merit. Historic England have also responded and in their letter note that the existing building’s “materiality, scale and contemporary design responds sensitively to its context without resorting to pastiche”.


Photo: Jeremy Gould

The surgery is a low building, set back from the road behind a stone wall. It is constructed of brick, concrete and timber, combined with steel (the steel frame for the Waiting Room was designed by David Burns of Whitby & Bird). The building features a Staffordshire blue brick plinth and windows on the ground floor of the western elevation with precast concrete sills. External wall finishes include both white painted render and white Glasal (enamelled) fibreboard panels. It is topped by a large, pitched and sharp-edged grey slate roof which projects to the south to cover an open garage with a spiral staircase.

The Goulds have designed creative, well-composed buildings which are sensitive to their environment, such as the Library and Resource Centre at Millfield School (1980) in Street. Lock’s Hill was one of a number of doctor’s surgeries built by the Goulds in the 1990s, the others located in Street, Crewkerne and Budleigh Salterton. The Goulds have also written extensively about modern architecture, and co-authored the critically-acclaimed Coventry: The Making of a Modern City 1939-73.