Bristol Life - 01 July 2015
There was a time when everyone simply lived in houses. The may have ranged dramatically in size and status, from back-to-back slum terraces to your actual palaces – but all were built with human habitation firmly in mind.
But in modern times, repurposed buildings have become as common as new-builds. Humble rural outhouses, once considered only suitable for animals, have become airy £2m+ ‘barn conversions’. With the ebbing of the faithful dozens of chapels have been turned into quirky homes; schoolhouses and mills have long been considered fair game for domestic makeover; and what could be more achingly desirable than a loft apartment in a renovated wharfside factory?
And now, The General. The hospital first opened in 1832, at the initiative of a group of local Quakers who were appalled at the lack of health provision for the local industrial poor. After a long and chequered history, which can read in detail on the website at the end of this article, it closed in 2012 when the South Bristol Community Hospital opened, and the site was bought by heritage developers City & Country.
So what does this latest conversion have to offer? First off, there’s the quintessentially Bristolian plus-point of a waterside location; The General is found on the edge of the Floating Harbour, with all the easy access to the city centre that goes with it.
Secondly, its in the heart of Redcliffe, an area with a growing reputation and extensive regeneration plans which look set to transform it over next five years; it’s probably the perfect time to invest in this area.
Thirdly, and crucially, this being City & Country development, the new homes are an exercise in no-expense-spared style and luxury. The General is now in its second phase, and you can really start to see the transformative effect of restoration; all the Bath stonework has been restored and intricate ironmongery reinstated. The iconic building- and believe us, we don’t throw that adjective around lightly – is taking its rightful place once again on the Harbourside.
The second phase has introduced a new raft of apartments, including a three-bedroom penthouse with a not-inconsiderable price tag of £995,000. But if that’s out of the budget, there are many more affordable options – a one-bedroom apartment costs as little as £262,500, for example. Some apartments have mezzanine floors, and overlook a central courtyard, which has been prettily landscaped with a fully restored Victorian foundation; it goes without saying that private terraces with harbour views come as standard.
Whether you’re downsizing, upsizing or on the first rung of property ladder, if the thought of a sleek but characterful home in an up-and-coming area appeals, and you really like looking at boats, The General could be just what the doctor ordered.
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