Description: Baltic House
Date Listed: 28 October 1974
English Heritage Building ID: 246328
OS Grid Reference: SU7632382521
OS Grid Coordinates: 476323, 182521
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5364, -0.9010
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28-OCT-74 (West side)
House, c1800 with later extensions; rear wing dated by dendrochronology to 1438
MATERIALS: Main wing of rendered brick; rear wing rendered over timber frame. Clay tile roofs.
PLAN: Main wing has three-bay single-pile plan on two storeys, with two rooms on each floor flanking central hallway, those to right markedly smaller due to presence of older building behind. Stair in projecting wing to rear, now encased in later extensions. Stair also gives access to rear wing, originally half of a two-bay open-hall house with later inserted ceiling and central stack, the other bay now forming part of Baltic Cottage (q.v.). Kitchen and further bedrooms in later C19 rear extension.
EXTERIOR: Georgian main wing has slightly asymmetrical entrance front with central doorway beneath lead-roofed canopy on timber brackets, flanked by two canted bay windows with horned plate-glass sashes. First-floor windows have unhorned six-over-six-pane sashes, those in the outer bays having two-over-two-pane side lights and miniature iron balustrades. Short return elevation has two multi-pane sashes, that on first floor a late-C19 insertion. Hipped roof with two rear stacks. C15 rear wing set forms eastern bay of a longer range to Friday Street. Small sash and casement windows; pitched roof with later dentil cornice and massive central stack. Infill blocks of various dates in angle between two main wings.
INTERIORS: Most rooms in main wing in have simple two-panel doors and moulded timber skirtings; other mouldings including cornices have been renewed. Left-hand room on ground floor has original fireplace with moulded Classical surround and overmantel; other fireplaces blocked up. Staircase has plain stick balusters, moulded and turned at the corners, and a moulded hardwood handrail. Round-headed plaster niche on lower landing.
Ground floor of rear wing has modern ceiling beam and fireplace. Arched doorway in cupboard to right of chimney-breast presumably formed part of post-medieval entrance lobby. Wall safe in cupboard dates from the building's use as the Henley Regatta ticket office. Upper room has exposed timber framing elements including wall plates, tie beam and three wall posts in east wall, and cranked tie-beam and base of crown post in west wall. Rafters and collars of original roof structure visible in attic space above inserted ceiling.
HISTORY: The rear part of what is now Baltic House originally formed the eastern half of a two-bay hall house dating from 1438, whose western bay, along with a cross-wing added in 1537/8, now forms the core of the adjoining property known as Baltic Cottage. At some point, possibly at the same time as the cross-wing was built, a brick hearth and stack was inserted into the centre of the hall, which was floored over to create a two-storey lobby-entry house. A large new entrance wing containing a suite of reception rooms was added to the east in around 1800; the older building was externally remodelled, and the angle between the two began gradually to be infilled. Later in the C19, two bay windows were added to the front of the new building, and multiple phases of infilling took place in the yard behind. Between 1944 and 1966 the house was used as the ticket office for the Henley regatta. In 1976 the house was divided into two properties, with the Georgian riverfront block and half of the medieval hall becoming Baltic House, and the other half of the hall plus the cross-wing and part of the rear extension becoming Baltic Cottage; the latter property is being assessed separately.
SOURCES: Ruth Gibson, report for the Henley Archaeological and Historical Group (2010).
D W H Miles and M C Bridge, report for Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory (2008).
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
Baltic House is designated at Grade II for the following principal reason:
* Architectural: an elegant late-Georgian house incorporating in its rear wing part of a mid-C15 timber-framed building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.