Town Survey Update 1998/2001

High Street West: Sheet fifteen

Building: 69 Photo(s): A20/B6

History:

In early 1800’s, on the most prominent site in the town at the junction of the High Street and the London Road was derelict and demolished. The replacement building was tapered on plan, three storeys high with a cellar on the lower northern end. The hipped slate roof with a valley at the rear and with sash windows on each floor and another to light the cellar. A single storey timber shop front, projecting forward from the main building, was rebuilt in 1882 with three large window panes on a rendered plinth. The shop was rebuilt again between 1905 and 1921 when the plinth was cased in glazed tiles and windows with tracery at the head were installed within moulded round posts. Decorated pillars supported the door frames and a retractable awning hung forward of the shop.

Butcher – Charles Corke – pre 1839 to 1860

Reynolds – 1860 to 1881

Foster – 1881 to 1886/1891

Coffee Tavern – Robertshaw – 1886 to 1901 (Sevenoaks Coffee Tavern)

Restaurant – Fountain Restaurant – 1901 to 1905

Dairy – West End Dairy – 1905 to 1921

Empty 1922 to 1924 then demolished and bank built in 1925

Current Use:

69 high st A20

69 High St B6

HSBC formerly Midland Bank

Description:

Tall single storey neo-classical building with cellar/basement under northern part and mansard storey added circa 1975. Elevations to High Street and London Road being similar in many respects.

Ground floor, curved at south end at apex of the road junction, solid stone construction buttressed on each side with a substantial pilaster and main entrance doors on apex with moulded stone architrave and base. Shallow projecting ribbed string course on curve over doorway broken by scroll bracket in centre. Deep plain stone entablature under prominent moulded and dentilled stone cornice supporting ‘classical’ stone balustrade ending in solid stone bases over pilasters below and raised stone base with moulded cornice capping in centre over main door. Pilasters each have long vertical plain panels, moulded at edges, short ribbed string courses and small raised panel on entablature.

Ground floor to High Street, six window elevation, three windows to south, each six pane white painted timber sash, set in brick with rubbed brick headers and stone keystone and moulded stone cills linked by plain stone string course. Brickwork supported on stone plinth flush with brick face with two shallow windows under two north windows with wide raised stone string course over. Prominent stone cornice, continued from front, across top of brick wall and supporting solid brick balustrade with stone coping and raised rectangular stone panels over windows.

Three windows to north, each six pane white painted timber sash, set in rusticated stone façade to match curved south corner but slightly raised in front of brickwork. Sub-cill string course continued with projecting stone cill on brackets under centre window and small stone projecting moulded cornice over. Similar stone plinth continued with increased depth to suit fall in pavement and road levels, centre window also deeper. Prominent stone cornice continued over rusticated wall and supporting solid stone balustrade and coping.

Ground floor to London Road, similar in design and materials to High Street elevation but having four windows in brickwork and one in rusticated stonework at north end.

All elevations have raised white plastic fascias immediately under projecting cornices with raised HSBC lettering and logo (formerly Midland Bank).

Roof, steep slate mansard finished close behind balustrade at sides but set back from south end over line of pilasters. Ridge lead flashed and white painted timber windows to dormers, all with flat lead roofs and side cheeks, six to High Street and five to London Road.

Comment:

A very high quality building that successfully occupies and solves a difficult problem on a prominent corner site. The stone/brick/stone delineation is very effective and successful. One of the rare occasions where a mansard and dormers do not detract from the building as a whole. Despite its virtues, the building is distinctly ‘stumpy’ and could have been better with a full first storey or a more prominent roof of a different design which could have strengthened its appearance on the corner. In very good condition.

Importance: A/B

Included in previous survey