Wednesday, 30 November 2011

No. 54, High Street

No. 54 on the High Street dates to the late-18th or early-19th century. It isn't particularly distinguished but the plain facade is at least enlivened with a few classical details. It is a Grade II listed building and the listing description suggests that the facade could possibly mask an earlier structure.

The building is spread over four floors with quoins at each corner of the facade and with a bracketed cornice under the eave of the roof. One attractive detail are the arched pediments above the two first-floor windows. The windows on the other floors all have architrave surrounds. Presumably the glass was originally divided into a number of lights with small glazing bars before they were replaced with the present large-paned Victorian sashes.

All of the windows rest on two little brackets under the sill and each floor is demarcated by a thin band running across the width of the facade. The top floor windows are curiously squashed, suggesting that there might indeed be an older structure behind the facade which was designed to accommodate the pre-existing layout! For once the modern shop front is subdued although it's unlikely that anything of interest lies inside. A building with a very similar facade, without the arched pediments but with the same squashed top floor windows, stood next to No. 54 until it was replaced with the current Tudor Revival property at No. 53 in the first decade of the 20th century. In fact an examination of the roofs of both buildings suggest that Nos. 53 & 54 were built at the same time, possibly as a pair, and that only the facade of No. 53 was replaced leaving the rest of the structure intact.


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