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Former Memorial Hall, Castilian Street, Northampton

A Grade II Listed Building in Northampton, Northamptonshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.237 / 52°14'13"N

Longitude: -0.8924 / 0°53'32"W

OS Eastings: 475734

OS Northings: 260450

OS Grid: SP757604

Mapcode National: GBR BW8.P7C

Mapcode Global: VHDS5.H13D

Entry Name: Former Memorial Hall, Castilian Street, Northampton

Listing Date: 6 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1448245

Location: Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN1

County: Northamptonshire

District: Northampton

Electoral Ward/Division: Castle

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Northampton

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Summary

Memorial Hall. Erected in 1921 by Alexander Ellis Anderson.

Description

Memorial Hall. Erected in 1921 by Alexander Ellis Anderson.

MATERIALS: built in brick, with sandstone façade.

PLAN: the former Taylor Memorial Hall comprises a large hall (two storeys high) accessed via a porch and lobby. The lobby also affords access to lavatories, a kitchen and stairs to the upper floor. The upper floor comprises lavatories and a recently constructed external balcony. A further floor, accessed from the adjacent number 17, comprises two recently constructed flats. The interiors of the modern flats were not accessed.

EXTERIOR: the façade is constructed in a Scottish Baronial style, five bays wide. The door is flanked by two full height, conical roofed turrets, and has a scrolled, entablature inscribed TO THE MEMORY / OF THE DEAD / FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE / FOR WHOM THEY DIED. The side of the door case is inscribed Alex Anderson / Architect. Above the door is a window with a similar scrolled head-mould. This bay is surmounted by a crow-stepped gable, inscribed with a laurel wreath encircling the initials RPT above the words MEMORIAL / HALL. To the south, a two storey bay surmounted by a crow stepped gable projects from the main façade. The bay contains five leaded windows, three with stained glass elements. The centre of the gable projects forward, and rests upon a pila descending to the top of the window. The foot of the pila is formed by a bunch of thistles supporting a shield carved with a lion rampant. The centre of the gable is inscribed 1914 / AD / 1918. At the south end of the building stands a third conical roofed turret, two storeys in height, next to a plain door. The bays between the decorated bays comprise twin casement windows with stone mullions at ground floor and first floor levels, and single casements under scrolled dormers at second floor level. Ground floor and first floor windows are Crittal-type steel casements, with Perspex secondary double glazing. Second floor windows are modern uPVC casements. The roof comprises graded slates.

INTERIORS: the main hall comprises a square space, two stories in height. Entrance is through a pair of doors set between two fluted pilasters with dentilled capitals and a moulded entablature with the logo of the YWCA and a scroll inscribed BY LOVE / SERVE ONE / ANOTHER. The east wall contains a large bow window with leaded lights. In the central three lights are three stained glass elements: the external lights both contain a cross with a sun in the centre, while the central light contains a small coat of arms surmounted by the colours of the Northamptonshire Regiment. Opposite the window, the stage has been replaced by a modern bar. The hall has four balconies, one in each corner, at first floor level. The western two, at the rear of the building, are glazed, while the eastern pair, at the front of the building, are accessed via circular stairwells inside two of the turrets (although the door to the southern turret has been blocked). The internal walls are in red brick, laid in Flemish bond – the south wall is formed by the former external wall of number 17 Castilian Street. The balconies are of sandstone. The hall has an artificial ceiling installed, concealing a steel joist, and a wooden parquet floor. The southwest corner now conceals a bricked up doorway to number 17.

The interiors of the modern flats were not inspected but an examination of the plans both before and for the aforementioned conversion suggests that they are unlikely to contain features of note.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the following are not of special architectural or historic interest: the modern inserted staircase to the north of the hall; the bar in the main hall; and the kitchen and storeroom fixtures and fittings.

History

The Memorial Hall on Castilian Street was designed by Alexander Ellis Anderson in 1919 for local councillor David Paton Taylor, in memory of their son, Ralph Paton Taylor. The hall was built by local building firm Henry Martin Ltd, and was opened on 10 April 1921. The hall was opened by Sir John McClure, headmaster of Mill Hill School, and was fitted out with a screen, a piano and cane furniture.

Ralph Paton Taylor was born in Arbroath in 1896, son of Mr (later Councillor) and Mrs David Paton Taylor. Educated at Mill Hill School, Ralph applied to join the army in 1914, but was turned down. He reapplied in 1915, and was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. On arrival in France in 1916, he was transferred to the 10th Battalion the South Wales Borderers. He was killed at Mametz Wood in the Battle of the Somme, 10 July 1916.

Alexander Ellis Anderson (1866-1935) was born in Dundee and had a practice in Northampton from the 1890s onwards. He is credited with the following listed buildings in Northampton: Extension to Crockett & Jones factory, Perry Street (1896), City Buildings, Fish Street (1900) & Miller Last Works, Arthur Street (1903), all listed grade II. The City Buildings on Fish Street were the headquarters of Malcolm Inglis and Company (leather and hide importers), of whom David Taylor was a director. The joint Scots heritage of both Taylor and Anderson is visible in the inscription on the City Buildings and the architectural style of the Memorial Hall.

The hall forms part of a wider complex of buildings, incorporating No 17 Castilian Street and a dining hall to the rear. No 17 Castilian Street (variously referred to as Castile House and Castilian House) dates to 1882. In 1917, the owners offered it for use as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) auxiliary hospital. It was bought by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) on 29 November 1918 for use as a hostel and club rooms using funds raised by Councillor Taylor, and the Hall built alongside in 1919. A dining room range (now converted to flats) was added to the rear in 1934. The YWCA vacated the building in 2006, and it was sold. Proposed plans for residential conversion submitted in 2008 show access to the second floor of the hall through No 17 and these flats were subsequently constructed. The hall was converted to a wine bar in 2011. In addition to the creation of the two flats, recent works include the blocking of ground level access to No 17, the insertion of a staircase and balcony, and the insertion of additional lavatories.

The building was locally listed in 2006.

Reasons for Listing

The Former Memorial Hall, Castilian Street, erected in 1921 to the design of Alexander Anderson, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as an unusual and well executed example of a Scots Baronial institutional hall, emphasising the connections of client, architect and Scotland;

* the Hall was designed by a local architect responsible for a number of listed buildings in Northampton;

* for its medieval styled interior with internal balconies, ornate door surround and grand hall;

* despite some modern interventions, the bulk of the public spaces remain substantially intact, including the façade, interior doors and surrounds and stained glass.

Historic interest:

* the hall commemorates the death of Lt Ralph Paton Taylor at the Battle of the Somme.

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