Picturesque model dairy, built between 1870 and 1896, probably for William Trimmer.
Reason for Listing
The later C19 model dairy to the rear of 40 High Street, Alton is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: small purpose-built picturesque dairy, embellished as a garden building, decorated with windows catches in the form of cows' horns;
* Fixtures and fittings: decorative tiled interior complete with slate shelves, which demonstrates how a dairy was used, being easy to clean and cool;
* Rarity: purpose-built dairies detached from a farmhouse are very rare;
* Historic interest: association with William Trimmer, solicitor, built to augment his town garden and to house produce from his farm.
The dairy was built between 1870 and 1896, since it is not marked on the 1870 OS map but was present by 1896. It was probably built as a domestic dairy by William Trimmer, a solicitor, who acquired the property at 40 High Street in 1873. As well as being a solicitor, Trimmer farmed 187 acres outside Alton, the farm presumably providing milk and other dairy produce for the household. The dairy stands at the rear of 38 High Street, on land which was formerly the gardens of 40 High Street. The garden extended over three plots at the rear of what is now 36, 38, and 40 High Street and by 1870 was shown to be laid out with sinuous paths and planting, augmented by 1896 and 1910 by garden structures (such as the dairy).
No 40 High Street later became Conduit’s Temperance Hotel. It was sold in 1914, the sales particulars including two rustic bridges, glass houses, three summer houses and a Model Dairy, all probably constructed by Trimmer. None of the other structures remain.
From the late C18 onwards, and particularly on estates of the gentry and aristocracy, dairies could be highly ornamental. They were often placed picturesquely in a key position in a garden, and could be a place where ladies of the house might assist with pastoral tasks such as butter-making. They tend to have decorative tiled interiors and stone counters for ease of cleaning, and were designed to be kept cool. This picturesque tradition continued throughout the C19, one of the most ornate examples being at Windsor Home Park (Grade II*). Others may be associated with a model farm, notably the dairy at College Farm, Finchley (Grade II), of 1883 by Frederick Chancellor. Grade II listed examples in Hampshire include the dairy adjacent to the Mill House, Pylewell Park, Boldre and the thatched dairy next to Home Farm Cottage, Tichborne Park.
The dairy is a small, octagonal, single-storey structure given, as was commonly the case with dairies, an ornamental exterior and decorated internally to reflect its use as a dairy. It is built of glazed white brick with glazed brown brick panels, beneath a conical thatched roof. It has a wide, central, flush panelled door and flanking two-leaf timber casements, all beneath cambered arches.
Inside it is lined in white tiles with a decorative rinceau patterned frieze and slate slab shelves supported on timber brackets. The roof is horizontally boarded. The floor is tiled in black and red tiles; in the centre of the floor is a drain. The window catches are in the shape of a cow’s horn.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.