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32-34 Railway Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Altrincham, Trafford

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3851 / 53°23'6"N

Longitude: -2.3518 / 2°21'6"W

OS Eastings: 376694

OS Northings: 387641

OS Grid: SJ766876

Mapcode National: GBR DY09.M8

Mapcode Global: WH98V.V58R

Entry Name: 32-34 Railway Street

Listing Date: 22 November 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1405212

Location: Trafford, WA14

County: Trafford

Electoral Ward/Division: Altrincham

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Altrincham

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Dunham Massey St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Chester

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Altrincham

Summary

Former Manchester & County Bank, constructed in 1906.

Description

PLAN: Attached buildings to either side. Small enclosed yard to rear. Ground floor with banking hall and small private spaces set behind. Former manager's flat to first and second floors.

EXTERIOR: Tall and slender building with one and one-half height ground-floor, octagonal sandstone end-ridge stacks and cast-iron rainwater goods. Front (south-east) elevation on Railway Street: three bays, set on slightly sloping ground. Pink sandstone plinth incorporating two small quatrefoil vents, pink granite band above. Tall cross window to ground-floor left, tall 10-light mullion and transom window to centre bay. Main entrance to far right of ground floor with tall arched doorway incorporating integral, tripartite overlight above replaced doors. Doorcase incorporates decorative carved hoodmould and spandrels depicting Tudor roses. Dentil cornice between ground and first floors with carved reliefs of flora to underside and grotesque stops, modern signage band below. Two stringcourses between first and second floors, paired cross windows to centre bay on each floor; those to first floor separated by a plain carved shield. Two semi-octagonal pilaster strips to first and second floors between bays rise to form part of parapet, surmounted by small pinnacles. Gargoyles at each end of parapet, central gable surmounted by carved figure of a griffin holding a shield, carved date stone below with '1906' in stylised lettering. Alleyway through ground floor of attached building to left (south-west) side provides access to rear of no.32-34. Building projects further to rear than its neighbouring buildings and incorporates tall cross window with Art Nouveau stained leaded glazing to ground floor of south-west side elevation.

Rear elevation: Brick, sandstone sills and lintels to windows. Three bays. Elevation is stepped down in height with original two-storey and single-storey outshots. High brick wall (stepped to south-west side) encloses small rear yard containing a small, single-storey outbuilding. Single-storey outshot lies to south-east side of yard with doorway incorporating plain overlight, large six-light mullion and transom window to right of door with Art Nouveau stained-leaded glazing and Gothic arched heads to upper lights. Brick stair with leaded step coverings and slender cast-iron stick balusters and handrails set to north-east side of yard, leads up on to flat roof of single-storey outshot with parapet wall to north-west side. Small, single-storey outbuilding with sloping slate roof set to south-west side of roof and forming part of enclosing wall with doorway to right and small sash window to left; both with segmental arched heads. two-storey projection set behind single-storey outshot with sloping slate roof, rear (north-west) wall with squat four-light lancet window to lower part (lighting the banking hall and overlooking flat roof of single-storey outshot) flanked by quatrefoil roundels with patterned leaded glazing; all with sandstone surrounds. one-over-one sash window to first floor left, wider two-over-two sash window to first floor right. Stair continues up from flat roof to external, first floor landing and seating area. One-over-one sash window to rear (north-west) wall of building with tall stair window above, entrance to former manager's flat set into north-east side of two-storey outshot to right with doorway incorporating two-light overlight and segmental arched head. Two-light casement window to right of centre of second floor, two-over-two sash window to far right. Small two-light skylight to far right of roof.

INTERIOR: Little altered with many surviving original features. Large ground-floor banking hall with original parquet and tiled floors beneath later coverings, footmat recess inside main entrance with patterned mosaic border, original radiators. Coffered ceiling supported by series of pilasters with fluted upper section and carved quatrefoil decoration to lower section, set upon panelled dados. Upper section of walls clad with cream glazed tiles; some with relief fleur-de-lys decoration. Heads of cusped arcading can be seen just above the central section of the walls, which are hidden from view by gallery sales boards; clad in cream glazed tiles with turquoise glazed tile backgrounds. Tall cross window to west corner with Art Nouveau stained leaded glazing. Large Gothic-hooded fireplace with cream glazed tile cladding, cast-iron grate and hood, and turquoise glazed tiled cheeks set opposing in centre of each side wall. Original counter with ogee-arched panelling. Large stone arch with carved spandrels to rear wall with four-light lancet window above flanked by quatrefoils with patterned leaded glazing. Vestibule behind arch with turquoise glazed tiled walls. Small office to rear left with chimneybreast (fireplace removed) and roll-moulded cornicing; small room to centre left with a washbasin, cream glazed tiled dado with a decorative light and dark green glazed tile border in part-relief, quarry tiled floor and door into rear yard; bank's money lift to centre right; basement stair to rear right. All have reeded door architraves incorporating dentil cornicing and four- and six-panel doors; doors to office and washroom with glazed upper panels with Art Nouveau stained leaded glazing (those to office have been restored following damage). Enclosed stone basement stair with cream glazed tiled walls. Basement rooms with cream glazed tiled walls and mainly concrete floors, two toilets with quarry tiled floors, original ledged and braced and panelled doors, one original metal grille door. Money lift shaft with original operating mechanism and grilles.

Former manager's flat (first and second floors): Roll mouldings and plain-moulded cornicing to both floors, some dado and picture rails. six-panel doors and four-panel door to downstairs toilet. Original parquet and quarry tiled floors to first floor underneath later coverings, floorboards believed to survive to second floor underneath later coverings. Small entrance hall to rear right with later inserted partition to part of south-east wall. Central stair hall contains dog-leg stair with Art Nouveau-style splat balusters and shaped newel posts. Two large rooms to first-floor front with painted timber fire surrounds with glazed tiled cheeks and adjacent arched alcoves. Large room to rear left (originally the kitchen) with a chimneybreast and later replaced fireplace, original built-in cupboard. Second floor with later partition wall inserted to landing behind stair balustrade. Two rooms to front (that to south-west end is now partitioned) with painted timber fire surrounds with Art Nouveau-style, relief Ace of Spade decoration. Hatch access to attic.


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

No. 32-34 Railway Street, a former Manchester & County Bank constructed in 1906, is designated at grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality: It possesses a distinctive Gothic design with refined architectural treatment shown in the principal elevation through the use of carved stonework, grotesques, large mullion and transom windows, a gabled parapet, and semi-octagonal pilaster strips
* Intactness: Both the exterior and interior survive with very little alteration and retain a wealth of original features, including a largely intact manager's flat to the first and second floors, and the original money lift
* Interior quality: The domestic upper floors employ Art Nouveau-inspired fireplaces and stair whilst the ground-floor banking hall displays a high level of decorative Gothic detailing unusual for a small-scale bank, including decorative glazed tiled walls, large Gothic hooded fireplaces, the original counter with ogee-arched panelling and Art Nouveau stained glass

History

No. 32-34 Railway Street was constructed in 1906 to the designs of an unknown architect as the Altrincham branch of the Manchester & County Bank. The Manchester & County Bank Ltd was established in Manchester as a joint stock bank in 1862 and they opened their first branches in Preston, Bacup and Blackburn. By 1877 the bank had acquired several other banking companies and had 19 branches and 12 sub-branches. The bank continued to expand its network of branches and was re-named County Bank Ltd in 1934. It merged with District Bank Ltd in 1935 and later became part of the National Westminster (NatWest) Bank in 1970.

The branch at no. 32-34 Railway Street closed in 1977 and the ground floor and basement have been in use as an art gallery and picture framers since this time. The upper floors were originally used as the bank manager's flat, but became an accountant's office in 1977 following the bank's closure and subsequently a music school in the late 1990s.

Reasons for Listing

* Architectural quality: It possesses a distinctive Gothic design with refined architectural treatment shown in the principal elevation through the use of carved stonework, grotesques, large mullion and transom windows, a gabled parapet, and semi-octagonal pilaster strips
* Intactness: Both the exterior and interior survive with very little alteration and retain a wealth of original features, including a largely intact manager's flat to the first and second floors, and the original money lift
* Interior quality: The domestic upper floors employ Art Nouveau-inspired fireplaces and stair whilst the ground-floor banking hall displays a high level of decorative Gothic detailing unusual for a small-scale bank, including decorative glazed tiled walls, large Gothic hooded fireplaces, the original counter with ogee-arched panelling and Art Nouveau stained glass

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