Town Survey Update 1998/2001

High Street West: Sheet five

Building: 55 Photo: A5

History:

Originally, late 18th century classical style building, known as ‘The White House’ with rendered façade and mainly on two storeys with three bays, the centre being set forward and raised to form large dormer capped by ‘Georgian’ gable. Each bay having three double hung sash window façade on first floor with large display windows on ground floor divided in three and inserted later on each side of central entrance door with pillared portico over and curved bay windows with small glass panes set on each side.

First floor windows separated by fluted columns with carved heads set in wall face, some having rounded heads. Strong moulded string courses with brackets across whole width of façade over first floor windows, at eaves level on gable and less strong over ground floor windows.

Main slated roof had single flat headed dormers over each side section.

Building allowed to deteriorate and demolition eventually authorised by Minister in 1971 after appeal as part of proposed modern development between The White House and Rockdale Road.

Residential occupation, one or two, residences at times:

Clerk of the Peace for Kent – Charles Willard – 1791 to

Reverend Curteis – 1851 to

Separate dwellings – William Holcroft – 1881 to 1890

– William K Knocker – 1881 to 1890

Preparatory school – 1890 to 1897

Residence/office use by Knockers until move to The Red House in 1934

Antique Dealers – Martin and Dolton – 1936 to 1950

– Samuelson – 1950 to 1971+

Current Use:

55 high st A5

Bicycle shop – Bicycles – south part ground floor

Optician – Melson Wingate – north part ground floor

Offices – first floor

Residential flat on second floor/roof

Description:

Modern two storey brick building with dormer windows in ‘mansard’ roof forming second floor residential accommodation.

Ground floor, two single pane display windows and one double door in aluminium frames on each side of central brick projecting bay containing double door in aluminium frame to first floor. Display windows and adjacent doors having curved brick-on-edge lintels with fanlights over doors.

First floor, three aluminium framed projecting bay windows on each side of central projecting bay with double casement window. Each bay window consists of pair of single pane sliding windows with matching fanlights over, and two sub-cill solid panels under plain transome. All bays supported by projecting cantilevered bases and capped with lead flashing to roof. Sides of bays match fronts but are narrower and double casement in centre bay is similar to the fronts of each bay. Brick walls of building capped with pre-cast concrete coping.

Roof, three single top hung white painted windows to dormers on each side of double top hung white painted window in centre. Flank walls and roofs to all dormers in lead and sited in ‘mansard’ roof of plain clay tiles and ridge.

Note: since photograph taken, the aluminium bays have been replaced by white painted timber structures with similar arrangement of windows and panels. The canopy over the central entrance has been removed and the entrance re-modelled in a simpler form with recessed glass door and the whole projecting bay rendered and painted white.

Comment:

A modern building on one of the most prominent sites in the town and in key position opposite The Red House with nothing to recommend it, the recent alterations although making a modest improvement having little overall significance. Sympathetic replacement therefore recommended.

Importance: C/D

Not included in previous survey.