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The Corner House

A Grade II Listed Building in Braintree Central & Beckers Gr, Essex

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Latitude: 51.8778 / 51°52'40"N

Longitude: 0.553 / 0°33'10"E

OS Eastings: 575829

OS Northings: 222996

OS Grid: TL758229

Mapcode National: GBR PHX.8LV

Mapcode Global: VHJJJ.J2Q9

Entry Name: The Corner House

Listing Date: 1 March 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1409745

Location: Braintree, Essex, CM7

County: Essex

District: Braintree

Electoral Ward/Division: Braintree Central & Beckers Gr

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Braintree

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Braintree St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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A former restaurant of 1929, built for W J Courtauld by E Vincent Harris, currently used as offices.


MATERIALS: Brown-red brick laid in English bond, with stone dressings and tile covering to the roof.

PLAN: Rectangular, aligned east-west

EXTERIOR: The Corner House has two storeys and an attic. The main range has a steep, gabled roof with end stacks, with a central hip at the rear flanked by flat-roofed, two storey wings. The principal elevation faces north and has at the ground floor, two wide, timber, bowed shop-front windows of 21 lights each, with plain fascias supported on moulded timber pilasters, and panelled soffits. The windows flank a central, arched, two-leaf door with glazing bars. On the first floor are three timber casement windows with mullions, transoms and leaded lights. A moulded stone cornice is supported at each end by wide brick pilasters with moulded stone capitals. The east and west gable ends have a Dutch form and stone copings, resting on corner pilasters. The east elevation has a 24-light window at the ground floor, with a timber surround and two casement windows with mullions, transoms and leaded lights at the first floor of the fa├žade. There is a decorative cast-iron bracket from which a sign suspends. Above the first-floor windows is a stone plaque with the initials WJC and the date 1929. It is said that a plaque at the west elevation gives the initials CCC (Constance Cicely Courtauld, the wife of W J Courtauld) and the date 1929. To the south of the gable is the two-storey, flat-roofed wing resting on a horizontally tapering stone plinth. It has a three-light window at the ground floor. An iron gate leads to the courtyard at the rear. The rear elevation has a late-C20, single-storey extension at the ground floor, and a metal fire escape leading to the late-C20, first-floor doorway beneath a pent roof with tile-hung sides. Above is a late-C20 Velux. The flanking two-storey wings are blind at the ground floor, but there is a three-light window on the east wing and single light on the west wing at the first floor.

INTERIOR: The main entrance leads to a small porch where a mostly glazed door, with arched upper lights, leads into a large space, partly partitioned in the late-C20 to form offices. The walls have pilasters and simply moulded cornices. The opening to the ground-floor room of the east wing has been enlarged, and is accessed by stairs with a late-C20 staircase. The ground-floor room of the east wing is used for staff facilities. The principal open-well stairs rise from the centre of the main room and comprise simply moulded newel posts with stick balusters arranged in groups of three. At the first floor the principal room has moulded cornices and axial bridging beams, and at the west end, there is a tiled fireplace with carved timber surround. A partition inserted in the late C20 to create a corridor to the rear of the room, is accessed by the stairs and through an enlarged opening in the first-floor room of the east rear wing. A central staircase at the rear leads to the attic where two rooms have original fireplaces with simple beaded detailing and contemporary two-panel doors.


The Corner House was commissioned by William Julian Courtauld and designed by E Vincent Harris in 1929. It is said that the original purpose of the building was as a restaurant, a facility which W J Courtauld wished to donate to the town. Later in the C20 the building was used as a night club and then subsequently converted to offices.

The Corner House has been extended to the south and internally reconfigured to create office accommodation. A number of partitions have been inserted on all floors and walls have been opened up to create spaces appropriate to the current use of the building. It is understood that the ground-floor windows have been sympathetically repaired recently.

Reasons for Listing

The Corner House, a former restaurant of 1929, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: commissioned by W J Courtauld and designed by E Vincent Harris, the Corner House is a well-executed example of an inter-war restaurant in an elegant neo-Georgian style retaining external characteristics including the restaurant windows;
* Historic interest: it is one of a number of public and civic buildings gifted by W J Courtauld to the town of Braintree, resulting in an architectural legacy of both local and national significance;
* Group Value: it has considerable group value with the Town Hall designated at Grade II* and numerous Grade II buildings in its immediate vicinity.

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