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Former Midland Bank, 4 Dale Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Liverpool, Liverpool

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.407 / 53°24'25"N

Longitude: -2.9907 / 2°59'26"W

OS Eastings: 334234

OS Northings: 390478

OS Grid: SJ342904

Mapcode National: GBR 73N.2N

Mapcode Global: WH877.1M3H

Entry Name: Former Midland Bank, 4 Dale Street

Listing Date: 26 January 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1419347

Location: Liverpool, L2

County: Liverpool

Electoral Ward/Division: Central

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Liverpool

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Liverpool Our Lady and St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

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Summary

Former banking hall (now a mini-supermarket) with offices above. Designed in 1967 and constructed c1971, by Raymond Fletcher of Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker of Liverpool. Concrete and steel frame construction with faceted windows of mirrored glass in stainless-steel frames. 5-storeys plus basement

Description

Former banking hall (now a mini-supermarket) with offices above. Designed in 1967 and constructed c1971, by Raymond Fletcher of Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker of Liverpool. Concrete and steel frame construction with principal elevations incorporating faceted windows of mirrored glass in stainless-steel frames. 5-storeys plus basement

PLAN: the former Midland Bank building is located at the south-west end of Dale Street diagonally opposite the Grade I listed Town Hall. Abutting part of the south-west side of the building is a Grade II listed building, 1 Castle Street, which now provides internal access into the upper floors of 4 Dale Street. Access into the ground floor is via an entrance on the south-west side of the building. A small yard area exists to the rear of the building and is accessed via the former banking hall, now a ground-floor retail unit, and a rear stairwell. The yard is fully enclosed by neighbouring buildings.

EXTERIOR: the building has a principal elevation facing onto Dale Street and a narrow south-west return facing down towards Water Street. The upper floors of these elevations are divided into a 4x5 and 4x2 grid with 5-bays forming twenty modules on the Dale Street elevation and the 2-bay south-west return forming eight further modules. Each module is composed of four large facets of mirrored glass set in stainless-steel frames and joined by a horizontal ridge, creating windows that project outwards in the form of modern oriel windows. The lower panels to the underside of the windows are of opaque black glass. Bands of small black tessarae tiles exist to the top of the principal elevations and above a ground-floor signage fascia, with further tile cladding in the same style to the west corner of the building and also bordering a recessed vertical window band that lies to the north-east end of the Dale Street elevation and utilises the same glass as the main windows with alternating panels of clear and opaque black glass; a similarly styled window band exists to the south-east end of the 2-bay return but without the surrounding tile cladding. A fire exit on the top floor of the building on the south-west side leads out onto the roof of 1 Castle Street. The ground floor originally comprised a plate-glass box projection, but this has since been replaced by faceted modules of clear glass that echo the style of the windows above. The main entrance lies on the right (south-west) return elevation with a modern glazed door, with a secondary fire exit incorporated to the north-east end of the Dale Street elevation. A window to the left of the entrance contains an inserted cash machine. The rear elevation is of plain concrete and incorporates a stair projection. It is windowless apart from one window present to the top-left of the elevation.

INTERIOR: internally the ground-floor banking hall, which was designed by the Midland Bank's in-house architects has been removed and the space has been converted into a mini-supermarket with a rear storage facility, which are not of special interest*. A rear stair and lift (the lift is not of special interest*) access all the building's floor levels, but following the ground floor's change of use the doorway leading into the stairwell and lift lobby on this floor has been blocked up and access to these features, as well as the basement and upper floors, is now via the interior of the neighbouring building, 1 Castle Street, through knocked-through doorway openings. The rear stair of 4 Dale Street wraps around a central pier clad in the same black tessarae tiles as the exterior and has a horizontal timber rail and steel balustrade. The upper floors of the building are plain and all but the top floor have been refurbished and modernised. These upper floor interiors are not of special interest*, except for a series of piers arranged around the north-west and south-west external walls on the fourth floor, which support the window structure, and retain their original black tessarae tile cladding, which mirrors that of the exterior and internal stair; corresponding piers on the floors below have been over-clad and it is unknown whether any tessarae survive underneath. The basement, which inter-connects with that of 1 Castle Street, contains former vaults and storage areas and is not of special interest*.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.

History

The Midland Bank was founded in Birmingham in 1836 and later expanded throughout the United Kingdom via the acquisition of smaller banks, becoming the largest deposit bank in the world in the 1930s. The lifting of credit restrictions in 1958 led the four major United Kingdom banks at that time, including the Midland Bank, to expand and update their branch networks across the country.

No.4 Dale Street was constructed c1971 as a branch building for the Midland Bank to designs produced in 1967 by Raymond Fletcher of Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker. It replaced an earlier Midland Bank building of 1863-4 on the site by Sir James Picton.

During the Midland Bank's period of expansion in the mid-late C20 Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker were responsible for the designs of a number of branches in the north of England. At the time the Midland Bank was targeting its marketing at young adults and developed new financial products, including student accounts. The aim was to encourage young people to join the bank and, as well as commissioning a series of award-winning cinema adverts produced by Robert Brownjohn (the designer of the title sequence of the James Bond film, Goldfinger), the redevelopment of their branches was seen as one method of achieving this. The brief for the Dale Street building was to create a 'youthful and smart image that would appeal to first-time savers'.

The Midland Bank was taken over by HSBC Holdings plc in 1992 and re-branded under the HSBC Bank name in 1999. The ground floor banking hall of the Dale Street building closed in 2009 and was subsequently converted into a mini supermarket. The building's basement and upper floors remain in use by the bank as office and storage space.

Reasons for Listing

The former Midland Bank, 4 Dale Street, constructed in c1971 to designs of 1967 by Raymond Fletcher of Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker, Listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: is an important example of a post-war bank atypically employing a high-quality Modernist design reflective of its era; a form of late-1960s pop architecture bringing fun and diversity to the streetscape; its strikingly bold design marks a new consumerism in the clearing bank and an attempt to engage younger customers;

* Materials: an early use of mirrored-glass providing a dramatic visual statement in the exaggerated sizing of the upper storeys' canted oriel windows;

* Degree of survival: the upper floors of the principal elevations remain unaltered, and the ground floor has been replaced by a faceted design echoing that of the floors above. Whilst the interior is plain and has undergone alteration in places, a number of notable original features survive, including the main stair and the tessarae-clad piers on the fourth floor, which maintain stylistic continuity with the exterior;

* Architectural practice: The firm of Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker has its origins in the practice of Herbert J Rowse (1887-1963) who was one of the most influential architects of the inter-war period. 4 Dale Street showcases the firm's experimental approach to sculptural form and design evident in some of their later work;

* Group value: it has group value with the surrounding listed buildings of the Central Business District, including one of Liverpool's most famous buildings, Peter Ellis' Oriel Chambers (1864, Grade 1) which lies in sight of 4 Dale Street and which inspired the former banks faceted design, reflecting the area's continued commercial importance and its development from the C18 through to the present day.

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