Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Early 1800s terraced housing

click photo to enlarge
The Norfolk market town of King's Lynn is a mecca for anyone interested in English architectural history. As a measure of its wealth in this regard the Borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk has 1,878 listed buildings of which 111 are Grade 1 i.e of national as well as local importance. Within the town there are a number streets that draw visitors with the range and quality of their buildings. One such is Nelson Street that extends south from near St Margaret's church. From Hampton Court  - a courtyard development that has been in use and added to from the fourteenth century to the present day - to seventeenth and eighteenth century merchant's houses such as No. 15 and Oxley House, this short road offers interest in every elevation.

However, it's not one of the more obviously historic or showpiece structures that I photographed on my recent visit. Instead, it is a section of a terrace - Nos. 14-20 Nelson Street. These houses stand out from their neighbours as being rather dour, somewhat industrial, and on a smaller scale. They were built in 1819 at the tail end of the Georgian period when mass housing started to take on a Victorian countenance. The materials chosen for this row are red brick with gault brick for the facades and Welsh slate on the roofs. Each house is two bays wide with the blind window above the door filled in from the outset. Chimney stacks and a raised firebreak mark the division between the properties at roof level. The original doors and some original sash windows are still in use. To the right (out of shot) is a basket-arched carriage arch that presumably gave access to the rear of all the properties.

The gault brick, as is often the case, hasn't aged very well and looks somewhat grubby giving a time-worn appearance even though it is still in pretty good condition. What drew my eye and caused me to take this photograph was the brightly painted doors. I don't imagine that there is a great deal of similarity to how they looked in 1819, but today, given the somewhat drab brickwork that surrounds them, they offer welcome brightness as well as a focus for this passing photographer's composition.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On