A group of 12 houses, built for former sailors and soldiers in 1919-1920 and designed by Alfred Hill Parker in a picturesque vernacular style.
Reason for Listing
Nos. 1-12 Gheluvelt Park, Worcester is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality: the group of houses for disabled servicemen, designed by the prominent local architect Arthur Hill Parker, are well disposed in a broken range along the north side of Gheluvelt Park and combine careful planning and the use of adapted vernacular architecture to create a varied and successful composition;
* Intact survival: although windows have been replaced with uPVC fenestration, the level of original survival is high across the range of buildings;
* Group value: the composition of a designed landscape, housing and war memorial arch, all designed by Alfred Hill Parker, has strong group value.
The battle of Gheluvelt was an early engagement in the First World War. The British Expeditionary Force had established a line to prevent the German forces reaching the Channel ports. On 31 October 1914 the Germans broke through this line and the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire regiment was sent to plug the gap and did so with a bayonet charge in the grounds of the Chateau at Gheluvelt in Flanders. They pushed back the German force of more than a thousand men, but with the loss to the battalion of 34 men and 158 injured. The victory was seen by many as highly significant, and a turning point in the early history of the war. At the opening of the park, on 17 June 1922, Field Marshal John French said that 'on that day the 2nd Worcesters saved the British Empire'.In the C18, the land on which Gheluvelt Park was to be laid out was owned by the Cooke family who leased it to a Mr Garaway. It was used as a fuller’s yard for making sailcloth. By 1788 a house had been built on the site by Revd Thomas Cooke. In 1838 the house and grounds were sold to JP Lavender, a banker. He sold the house in 1881 and it became Barbourne College. In 1909 it was again on the market and Worcester City Council considered buying the land, but the First World War intervened. The General Purposes Committee minute books (see sources) reveal that it was agreed to buy the land and the college buildings for £2,300 in January 1918, and to accept the mayor’s offer to subsidise the purchase. The committee minutes reveal further progress: on 6 September 1918 Alfred Hill Parker presented a plan for the layout of the park, and it was also agreed that the land should be known as Gheluvelt Park. The servicemen’s houses are mentioned in the committee minutes for the first time on 1 March 1918. The previous plan to build them on a site on Rainbow Hill was then changed in favour of the park in Barbourne College grounds, and a plan was produced showing 16 houses placed on the south side of Lavender Road. Subsequent meetings in April and May discussed the fact that the military had taken possession of the college buildings in order to billet troops, a fact which was to delay full development of the site. Architects drawings dated March 1919 show the intended block plan for the groups of one, two or three houses, as well as the outline of Barbourne College, and detailed plans and sections of the bungalow (No. 1) and the easternmost terrace of three houses (Nos. 2, 3 and 4) as they were built. The archway is shown adjacent to the houses on the block pla, as this was Parker’s original intention. The foundation stone was laid by Field Marshal Sir William Robertson on 15 January 1919. Further, drawings by Parker show blocks 'D' (6 & 7) and 'E’ (Nos. 8, 9 & 10, dated January 1920) and the Lea Memorial house (No. 5). The last in the series of drawings is stamped ‘1920 JAN 26’ and shows the final block plan for all the 12 houses as built. It bears a note; “Block ‘F’ which exactly corresponds to Block 'D’ has not yet been commenced upon”. From this it can be assumed that blocks A to E (Nos. 1-10) had been built or were in the course of construction by this date. By the end of May the General Purposes Committee were discussing the need for a separate committee to administer the houses and on 13 July 1920 the homes were opened by General Lord Rawlinson. City Council records show that by March 1923 a total of £14,656 had been spent on the 12 houses.
A group of twelve houses, built for former sailors and soldiers in 1919-1920 and designed by Alfred Hill Parker in a picturesque vernacular style.MATERIALS: red brick and pebble-dashed, and colour-washed render with plain-tiled, hipped roofs.PLAN: the cottages are clustered in six groups, to either side of a wide pathway in Gheluvelt Park. A bungalow is positioned to the south of the path at the eastern end, but the other, two-storey houses are all placed in groups of two or three on the north side. Each has two first-floor bedrooms and a living room and parlour (which the architect's plans indicate could instead be used as a bedroom, if needed) with kitchen and service rooms at ground-floor level. EXTERIOR: except for the free-standing bungalow, the show fronts of Nos. 2-12 are all oriented to the south, while the backs are accessed from Lavender Road. The majority of the windows across the buildings have been replaced by uPVC-framed casements. Chimneys across all of the buildings are to full height.No. 1 has, to its south side, a recessed veranda porch at left and a three-light casement to right. A shallow gable runs the complete width of the front and has a keyed oval of projecting brick headers and stretchers to the centre. The right corner has quoin bands of brick. The west front has a projecting gabled wing at left with quoin bands at the corners and a canted bay window to the centre. To the left is a single casement and the side of the veranda. The east front has blank walling at left and a three-light window to the projecting central bay, to the right of which is the wall enclosing a kitchen yard. The north entrance front has a projecting, central wing with hipped roof. The entrance porch and recessed door is at right and a portion of walling with applied, vertical, timber framing is at left. Nos. 2-4 has a Z shape on plan and brick walling to the ground floor with colour washed render to the first floor. The southern front has a projecting bay to No. 2 at right with a canted, two-storey bay and an overhanging gable to the top supported on arched brackets. To the left of this the central house has a half-glazed front door flanked by three-light casements with hipped, three-light casement dormers to the first floor. At left, No. 4 has a canted bay at ground floor level and an overhanging first floor with close-studded walling and angle braces. The four-light casement here projects up into the hipped roof. Recessed at either side of this front are entrance porches to Nos. 2 and 4. At lower right of the front of No. 2 is the foundation stone which is of painted stone with inscribed lettering which reads: ‘THE FOUNDATION STONE / OF THESE HOMES WAS LAID BY / GENERAL SIR W.R. ROBERTSON. / G.C.B ; K.C.V.O ; D.S.O ; / A.D.C. GENERAL TO HIS MAJESTY THE KING. / COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF H.M. HOME FORCES / JANUARY 16TH 1919’, below which are given the names of the chairman of the General Purposes Committee of the council and the architect. The west flank of No. 4 has a projecting gabled wing at left with two two-light casements to the ground floor and an octagonal light to the attic. At right of this the first floor walling has close studding with a two-light casement and an angled brace to the jettied corner. The east flank has a slightly projecting gabled wing at right with a prominent chimney with offset at centre. The gable end is tile hung and so is the side of the catslide roof which continues the angle of the main roof and descends to cover the porch at ground floor level. The rear has a deep roof which descends to ground floor level at the centre, with a wide, flat-roofed dormer to the centre. To left, No. 2 has a first floor of full height and at right of centre No. 4 has a projecting wing with tile-hung gable.
No. 5, the Lea Memorial cottage, has a symmetrical south front with a wide canted bay window to the ground floor, at the centre of which is the half-glazed entrance door. The hipped roof of this bay is tiled. At first floor level are two lateral, three-light casements, and at the centre is a shaped plaque which bears the words ‘LEA MEMORIAL’. The hipped roof has chimneys to each side. Immediately to the right of the door and set at a level below the widow ledge is a painted metal plaque with lettering in relief which reads 'IN MEMORY OF / CAPTAIN GERALD ERNEST LEA, / WHO DIED FROM WOUNDS / RECEIVED IN THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE, / 15TH SEPTEMBER 1914, / WHILE COMMANDING D. COMPANY OF THE / 2ND BATTALION WORCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT'. The west flank has offsets and one small window, but both flanks are otherwise blind. The rear has a wide, gabled wing to the right.
Nos. 6-7 has brick walling up to the sill level of the ground floor windows with painted render above. The corners of the south front have quoin bands of brick and there are two and three light casements to each floor, symmetrically arranged. The first floor windows continue up through the eaves and have flat roofs. Each flank has a half-glazed entrance door with a hood supported on flat brackets. The roof at the rear descends to the level of the ground floor which has doors and single and two-light casements. The large and deep cross-axial ridge chimney stacks are supported by capped buttresses which follow the line of the rear roof slope.
Nos. 8-10 has a symmetrical south front with a wide gabled bay at the centre, which has a half-glazed door with projecting hood supported on flat brackets. At either side are two and three-light casements. The first floor has a five-light window to the central gable and clapboarding to the apex. At either side is a three light dormer with clapboarded gable. To the centre, above the door of No. 9, is a stone plaque with a moulded boarder, which reads, in relief, '.GHELUVELT. / (OCTOBER 1914)' The flanks each have a half-glazed door with bracketed hood at centre, flanked by single casements, with a three-light first-floor casement to the gable, which has boarding to the apex. The rear has projecting wings at either side with deep roofs descending to ground-floor level. At centre the rendered first floor has three, equally spaced small casements. There are deep, cross axial ridge stacks to both sides and at the centre.
Nos. 11-12 has a south face and flanks which are similar to the design of Nos. 6-7. The chimneys are not clustered in ridge stacks however, and there is a large, square stack to the rear slope and a gabled wing at right of the rear, which appears to be a later addition.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.