Friday, 26 June 2015

Marlborough House, a Georgian
gem on Saint John Street, Lichfield

Marlborough House at 26 Saint John Street, Lichfield … a listed Georgian house in the centre of the city (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

After writing this morning about the sad neglect and decay of Davidson House in Upper John Street, Lichfield, it is a pleasure to write this evening about one of the well-preserved Georgian houses a few steps away on Saint John Street.

No 26 Saint John Street, also known as Marlborough House, is a Grade II listed Georgian house on the south-west side of the street, between No 20 Saint John Street and Saint John’s House, which I have written about recently.

Marlborough House was divided into offices until it was recently converted into apartments. The house dates from ca 1740, with a late 18th century rear wing. It is built in brick with plaster dressings, and it has hipped tile roofs with brick stacks.

The house was built with a central staircase plan in the early Georgian style. It is a two-storey house with an attic, and a symmetrical five-window range. There is a brick plinth and top cornice.

The entrance has a porch with paired Tuscan columns, frieze, cornice and blocking course. There is an architrave and an overlight to the six-panel door, and there are steps with handrails.

There are segmental-headed casement openings with grilles. The segmental-headed windows have sills and plaster arches with keys over 12-pane sashes. Those to first floor are segmental-headed. The central first floor window has an apron and eared and shouldered architrave with a key. The five hipped dormers have lead sides and six-pane sashes.

There is a late 20th century addition in sympathetic style to the left.

The right return has a hipped dormer.

A late 18th century wing has a canted end and cornice, with a lateral stack to the front. The return has segmental-headed windows with 12-pane sashes and one 4:12:4-pane sash to the ground floor, and a lateral stack.

The rear has similar windows. The gabled wing to the right has coped gable with kneelers. There is a 20th century single-storey infill block.

Inside, I understand, there is an open-well stair that has cut string, column-on-vase balusters, turned newels, a ramped handrail and a fielded-panelled dado.

In 2002, there was an application to Lichfield District Council for a change of use to a residential language school. Marlborough House was sold on 15 November 2002 for £720,000. In 2006, permission was granted to convert Marlborough House from commercial and educational use to form nine residential apartments.

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