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Nos.254-256 Eastgate

A Grade II Listed Building in Louth, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3689 / 53°22'7"N

Longitude: 0.0064 / 0°0'23"E

OS Eastings: 533594

OS Northings: 387652

OS Grid: TF335876

Mapcode National: GBR XYHH.52

Mapcode Global: WHHJT.2LB7

Entry Name: Nos.254-256 Eastgate

Listing Date: 18 February 1974

Last Amended: 12 December 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1317127

English Heritage Legacy ID: 194935

Location: Louth, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire, LN11

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey

Civil Parish: Louth

Built-Up Area: Louth

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Louth

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

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Summary

A pair of early-C19 town houses.

Description

A pair of semi-detached villas dating to the 1820s, with minor alterations of the C20.

MATERIALS: red brick generally laid in an English bond variant, with stucco details and welsh slate covering to the roofs.

PLAN: symmetrical with a porch at each side elevation and a piano nobile arrangement, with polite rooms on the ground and first floors, and the kitchen and service range in the basement.

EXTERIOR: both villas have two storeys and a basement, sharing a hipped roof with oversailing bracketed eaves and a central stack; both have an additional stack at the rear. The north elevation has pilasters midway and at each end, with stucco bands at the ground and first floor. There are pairs of hornless sash windows with glazing bars at each floor, with those at the ground and first floor having carved stucco lintels with keystones. They are arranged as follows; ten-over-ten small lights at the basement; six-over-nine at the ground floor, and six-over-six at the first floor.

Greek Doric porches at the return elevations of both villas have fluted columns and pilasters, and triglyph and guttae details to the hood. The porches are raised above the entrance to the basement and are approached by stone steps from the side with a delicate iron balustrade, ending in a curtail stop. Decorative iron panels to the side and rear enclose the porch. To the left of the porch of no. 256 there are inserted C20 windows at the basement and ground floor. Stone steps beneath the porch lead to the C20, external entrance to the service basement.

The villas share a gablet at the rear elevation, which accommodates the entrance to the butlers' pantries from the rear garden and a single six-over-six sash window above. To the right at the ground floor is a tall six-over-six light window, with a smaller window at first floor. All the windows are early C19.

At the rear of the garden of no. 256 are the former stables and coach house which have been much altered.

INTERIOR: only the interior of no.256 was inspected. The partly glazed, timber panelled principal entrance doorway, leads to the hall, where wide floorboards are exposed. The north-facing room retains a deeply moulded cornice, deep skirting boards and a late-C19 fireplace. The south-facing, garden room is now a kitchen, but retains its early-C19 fireplace. To the rear is the former pantry with a flagstone floor set into which is the cast-iron covering to the coal drop into the cellar below. Replaced stairs lead down to the basement where a bressumer over the former position of the range is in-situ. To its south is a pantry and to the rear (east) is the cellar, where once the coal and other items were stored, and in 2013 is a shower room. The room on the north side has a simple early-C19 fireplace and a cupboard with a concealed sink. The position of vertical shutters for the basement windows are apparent.

The early-C19 main stairs, in an open well arrangement, have a hardwood handrail, elegant stick balusters ending in a curtail stop at the base and open strings. It was originally lit by a skylight in the roof which has been ceiled over. Many of the bedroom partitions remain but a bathroom has been created at the east side and the rear dressing room of no. 256 has been incorporated into no. 254. The rear bedroom has a cast-iron fireplace and some original plaster remains on the walls of the bedroom on the north side of the house. The doors are late-C19 in date.

History

The town of Louth in Lincolnshire, often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Wolds’ has Saxon origins, and at the time of the Domesday survey was one of Lincolnshire’s seven market towns, with a population of 600. Its medieval core is still discernable in the town’s street pattern, and was bounded by the River Lud, the streets of Gospelgate and Kidgate to the south and Church Street to the east. Street names including the suffix ‘gate’ abound in the medieval core, which is signed from a great distance in every direction by the spire of the St James Church, completed in 1505, the tallest such spire of any parish church in England. Louth’s medieval prosperity was derived from exporting wool and grain, and its magnificent parish church is testimony to the wealth generated by agriculture in the region, and by Louth’s relative proximity to the east coast.

The town’s population was reduced by three-quarters by outbreaks of plague in the 1630s, and by the early C18 economic prosperity had understandably waned considerably. However, the opening of the Louth-Tetney canal in 1770 heralded a new era of prosperity, and the growth of industries related not only to the region’s agriculture such as malting and grain processing, but also activities such as tanning, boatbuilding and warehousing. Much of this development took place around the canal terminus at Riverhead, and the growth of the town eastwards, along Eastgate, James Street and Walkergate.

In 1848, the East Lincolnshire Railway came to Louth, extending trade and communication links beyond those of the canal, and further enhancing the town’s economic strength. An expanding population stimulated the development of terraced housing and villas, churches, chapels, schools and a range of public buildings all graphically captured in the remarkable ‘Louth Panorama’ a two section painting by a local man, William Brown. The Panorama presents a view of the town from high in the spire of St James Church. It portrays Louth at the height of its development and prosperity, shortly after the arrival of the railway, set in its surrounding rural landscape, with the east coast seascape in the background. The structure of the town has changed remarkably little since the Panorama was created, and Louth has mercifully escaped the large-scale post-war redevelopment experienced by many communities in England. Louth remains a thriving historic market town with a high proportion of well-preserved C19 buildings.

Nos. 254 and 256 Eastgate were probably built speculatively in the 1820s to appeal to the increasingly wealthy merchant classes enjoying the town's burgeoning industrial and wharfing success. They are contemporary with nos. 250-252 which are also listed at Grade II. The 1889 first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map depicts nos. 250-252 and 254-256 as having small stables and coach houses to the rear. It was not possible to visit no. 254, but at no. 256, a window had been inserted into the east side elevation, and there has been some minor reordering of the basement room divisions and first-floor bathroom facilities. It is unclear when these changes were made, but presumably they predate the listing.

Reasons for Listing

Nos. 254-256 Eastgate, Louth, a pair of early-C19 townhouses, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural Interest: the pair has distinctive, symmetrical compositions with high quality detailing, particularly to the principal elevations, and a dignified prominence on Eastgate;
* Interior: the plan-form survives well and many original fixtures and fittings are retained including the stairs, many windows and doors, some fireplaces and plasterwork;
* Group value: the houses have group value with nos. 250 and 252 Eastgate and contribute strongly to the extremely well-preserved pattern of housing development representative of the peak of Louth’s C19 economic prosperity.

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