British Listed Buildings

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130 High Street, Southend-on-Sea

Description: 130 High Street

Grade: II
Date Listed: 7 June 2012
English Heritage Building ID: 1405205

OS Grid Reference: TQ8826185688
OS Grid Coordinates: 588262, 185688
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5387, 0.7133

Locality: Southend-on-Sea
County: Southend-on-Sea
Country: England
Postcode: SS1 2LH

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Listing Text


A purpose-built shop of three-and-a-half storeys with a hipped roof, designed in Edwardian Baroque style, by Bromley and Watkins, dating from 1915.

Reason for Listing

No. 130 High Street, Southend-on-Sea, Essex is recommended for designation for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: it is a largely intact early-C20 shop that has a distinctive architectural form and Edwardian Baroque detailing.
* Interior: good survival of internal features and decoration, notably decorative plasterwork, moulded cornices and the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the former boardroom.


Southend-on-Sea grew out of Prittlewell, the largest of the six medieval parishes which constitute the modern settlement. By the late C19 Southend had overtaken its mother parish in importance and in 1892 it became officially recognised as a town, when it was incorporated; ‘on-Sea’ being added the following year. The other parishes were absorbed and amalgamated from the end of the C19 through to the 1930s, to form the town as it is known today.

The name ‘Sowthende’ first appears in a will of 1481, although what is now known as Southend did not begin to become urbanised until around 1700, when oyster cultivation began in the area. Within 20 years the whole of the foreshore from Southchurch westwards to Leigh was leased as oyster feeding grounds and oysterman’s huts began to be built, followed by humble terraces of cottages. Visitors started to come in small numbers to Southend to bathe in the sea, and in 1791 a syndicate was set up to develop a resort at ‘New Southend’. Following this The Terrace was built, renamed The Royal Terrace in 1804, after Princess Caroline, wife of the Prince Regent, stayed there. The royal association helped to boost the popularity of the resort, and in 1829 the first pier was built. The coming of the railways in the mid-C19 stimulated growth and interest in the town, firstly in 1856 with the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, which led to the development of Clifftown, followed by the Great Eastern in 1889. Southend flourished as a seaside resort from the end of the C19 through to the first half of the C20, but its popularity declined towards the end of the C20. In recent years however, major developments such as the University of Essex’s Southend campus and improvements to the pier and Esplanade, have helped rekindle interest in the town.

No. 130 High Street is a department store that dates from around the early C20. It was occupied by Boots the Chemist until the 1980s and is now owned by the Burton Group. The shop has had a fire escape stair and lift tower added to the rear during the late C20 which are not of special interest, and the interior has been converted to accommodate modern retail requirements.


PLAN: the building, which occupies a corner site, has a narrow, rectangular plan.

MATERIALS: the main materials are stock brick with white, artificial stone cladding to the north and west elevation. The roof covering is slate.

EXTERIOR: the building has a modern C20 glazed shop front at ground floor, which wraps around the west elevation and part way round the north elevation. Above this the original facia and cornice survive. The first and second storeys are expressed by an arcade of tall semi-circular arched windows on the north (eight bays) and west (three bays) elevations. Each window has a wide transom with foliate and scroll motifs at the second floor level and is framed by columns with foliate capitals. The arched heads have egg and dart mouldings and the spandrels have foliate and scroll motifs. The first floor, metal-framed windows beneath the transom are square with six lights, and the windows to the second floor, in the top part of the arch have arched heads, also with six lights. There is a heavy Italianate cornice with modillions, above which, on the west elevation, is a Flemish gable with a pediment decorated with scrollwork. In the centre of the gable is a large square window with heavy mullions and a flat projecting head, and there are smaller windows either side which have arched pediments supported by engaged columns. A figure of a cherub is attached at the top of the gable. The north-west corner is canted with pairs of slender, engaged columns at the angles and a string course at the second floor. At the first floor, the three window openings are flanked by columns with foliate capitals supporting heavily moulded, segmental pediments with a central shell motif. The second-floor windows are similarly treated, but have splayed pediments with flat heads and projecting sills supported by gargoyles. A domed pavilion, topped with a stone finial, surmounts this corner, subdivided by pilasters with decorative cappings, between which are arched windows with moulded surrounds and foliated spandrels and a plain frieze and dentil course above. On the north elevation there are three, gabled roof dormers. The rear (east) elevation of the building is faced in plain stock brick. It does not have the decorative quality that the other elevations have. There are large arched windows, an entrance door with bracketed hood, and over-hanging eaves with a dentil cornice. A metal fire escape stair has been attached at the south-east corner, and there is a square, brick tower addition at the north-eastern corner which accommodates the lift shaft.

INTERIOR: the ground and first floors are used for retail and have been refurbished with late-C20 shop fittings, including false ceilings which conceal original moulded cornices, and columns with crocket capitals. There is a modern staircase with an escalator in the centre of the shop, between the ground and first floors. There is also an original dog-leg staircase with carved balusters on the south side, and the walls in the stairwell are faced with hardwood panelling. The second and third floors are used as warehouse storage and have columns with ionic capitals and moulded cornices. Modern studwork partitions and doors have been inserted to reconfigure the internal space. The top floor has staff facilities and offices. The staff room has a barrel-vaulted roof with decorative plaster ribs and ceiling mouldings, and the walls are lined with hardwood panelling. The panelling has been removed in the pavilion, exposing the brickwork. At the north-eastern corner is a lift tower which is no longer in use.

Source: English Heritage

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