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36-38 and 38a Dolphin Lane, Boston

Description: 36-38 and 38a Dolphin Lane

Grade: II
Date Listed: 8 December 2011
English Heritage Building ID: 1403763

OS Grid Reference: TF3289644127
OS Grid Coordinates: 532897, 344127
Latitude/Longitude: 52.9780, -0.0221

Locality: Boston
Local Authority: Boston Borough Council
County: Lincolnshire
Country: England
Postcode: PE21 6SS

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Listing Text


36-38 and 38A Dolphin Lane is an early-C19 shop with accommodation over.

Reason for Listing

* Architectural: It is of special interest as an early-C19 shop and dwelling, the fabric, external detail and plan form of which substantially survives in its original form, and which retains its early-C19 corner shop front with narrow reeded pilaster surround;
* Historical: Its detail and plan form illustrate the development of an early-C19 shop, perhaps developed from an earlier building, and the relationship between its domestic and commercial functions. It also represents a period of growing prosperity in Boston from the C18 into the early C19;
* Group Value: It has strong group value with listed buildings of a similar date on Pump Square.


Despite some fluctuation in its fortunes Boston remained a prosperous port and market town from the middle ages into the C19, its social, economic and political history reflected in its town plan and buildings. From the C12 to the C15 it was one of the busiest ports in England, its wealth based principally on the trade in wool, cloth and luxury goods. Boston's market was first recorded between 1125 and 1135, and the annual fair was one of the great trade fairs of Europe. The medieval town grew around streets on either side of the River Witham, now the High Street to the west and South Street to the east. The latter opens to a wide market place to the north, from which narrow medieval lanes travel east and north to Church Street, St Botolph's Church and Wormgate.

The medieval period is represented by fragments of the Dominican friary surviving as the Blackfriars Arts Centre (Grade II*) on Spain Lane, the only visible evidence of the four friaries established in the town in the C12 and C13. Evidence of the town's thriving C14 and C15 engagement in the North Sea wool trade survives in the Guildhall (Grade I) of the Guild of St Mary, one of several religious guilds in the town at this period. Following the incorporation of Boston as a borough in 1545 and the dissolution of the religious guilds two years later, the assets of the Guild of St Mary, including the Guildhall, were transferred to the Corporation. Later C18 fen drainage and the construction of the Grand Sluice realised the value of the Corporation's estate, the increase in income funding significant building projects in the town, including the Exchange Buildings of 1770-1772 (formerly the Corporation Buildings) to the west of the Market Place (Grade II*). This renewed prosperity continued into the first half of the C19, when agricultural enclosure generated new wealth from a now highly productive rural hinterland. The corporation invested in further public building, notably the Assembly Rooms, completed in 1822 (Grade II*) to the north of the Exchange Buildings. The Grade II listed buildings that form an irregular terrace, 42-50 Market Place, also date to the first half of the C19, as do eight Grade II listed warehouses. Between the mid-C18 and mid-C19 the town's suburbs grew to the north-west and east of the Market Place, with limited development to the west of the river.

Boston continued to thrive economically until the construction of the railway in 1848; this brought a station and growth to the west of the town, but withdrew outgoing goods from the port. A new dock constructed by the corporation to the south of the town in 1884 renewed seaborne trade and brought development to an area of previously agricultural land. By the late C19 the town had reached almost its present extent. Although there was new building within the town in the C20, notably the construction of the inner ring road, John Adams Way, much historic fabric has been retained; this is reflected in the comprehensive coverage of Boston in the National Heritage List for England. Most list entries in Boston date to 1975 and the resurvey of 1991.

36-38 and 38A Dolphin Lane is an early-C19 building, originally a shop with accommodation above (now used for storage). The accommodation probably also included the ground floor room accessed from the east entrance, now also used as a shop. Nos. 36-38 form the ground floor corner shop with an early-C19 shop front; the upstairs rooms accessed from the east entrance and the ground floor room with the bay window are all part of No.38A. The single storey annex, 38B, which is not included in this listing, is said to have been built in the 1980s using old bricks. Historic Ordnance Survey maps from the late C19 and early C20 show the building as a single unit, with a much smaller unit to the rear.

Alterations undertaken during or after the 1970s are said to include the replacement of windows as well as the east side entrance; the upper rooms became used for storage at this time. The replacement of the original small panes of the shop front window with plate glass also probably dates to this period.


MATERIALS: red brick with slate and tiled roofs.

PLAN: This is a rectangular two-storey building with attics, with a single-storey section attached to the north gable end.

EXTERIOR: The ground-floor shop front has plate glass windows facing both south to Dolphin Lane and east towards Pump Square, with the entrance to the shop at the corner of the building. A reeded cornice above the fascia curves around the corner above the door, and a reeded band with corner roundels frames the fascia and the two plate-glass windows. This detail continues beyond the window to the west. Above the shop window to the south there are two, four-paned sash windows under flat arches. The east elevation has a similar window above the shop front, to the north of which is an unhorned sash, six panes over one with margin lights, and a tall unhorned sash window, also with margin lights. These three windows also have wide-splayed flat arches. The ground floor of this elevation contains a modern bow window with glazing bars, immediately to the north of which is a door with an overlight and reeded door frame with corner roundels. This door provides access to a small shop and to the staircase to the upper floors.

INTERIOR: The main two-storey building contains two shops at ground-floor level with accommodation above. The entrance to the small shop in the east elevation also opens almost directly onto a narrow enclosed staircase. To the left of the stair is a room at mezzanine level, the ceiling of which rises sharply to accommodate a tall window with margin lights that rises all the way to the eaves. To the south of the first-floor landing, a short corridor beside a substantial chimney stack leads to the main front room overlooking Dolphin Lane. To the north of the landing a short flight of steps leads to two attic rooms above the room at mezzanine level. No historic joinery or other details survive.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.