Saturday, 27 January 2018
The rustic charms of Beacon Street
and Stafford Road in Lichfield
Each day during my all-too-short stay in Lichfield this week, I enjoyed the 15-minutes stroll between the Hedgehog, on the northern fringes of the city, along Stafford Road and Beacon Street to the daily services in Lichfield Cathedral.
In the light of early morning and in the late evening, with the birdsong in the trees and the lights of the winter sun, there is a semi-rural feeling in the air, enhanced by the rustic look of many of the houses along these streets.
During the December snows, when a Facebook friend posted photographs from this area, I told him if I was to live in any street in Lichfield, I would probably want to buy a house on Beacon Street.
Some years ago, I wrote that it is striking how many buildings along Beacon Street have strong educational associations. But Beacon Street is a truly charming residential area in the north of Lichfield, with some timber-framed houses and cottages dating back to the 18th century or earlier.
Not all of these houses and cottages are listed buildings, but Lickle Cottage with its charming size and position typifies the charm of this part of Lichfield.
Later houses, influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Tudor-style pubs like the prize-winning Feathers and the Fountain, recently rescued from threats of closure, add to the character of the area and give it a curious ambience that is a mixture of both rural setting and late Victorian suburb.
As Beacon Street turns into Stafford Road, the rustic ambience becomes even more noticeable. The Cottage and Little Cottage are Grade II listed houses side-by-side at 24 and 24A Stafford Street.
The Cottage at No 24 is house, while Little Cottage is the converted former stable block, both dating from around 1820, with late 20th century alterations. They are built in brick (No 24) and roughcast (No 24A) and have tile roofs and brick stacks. There are modillioned brick cornices, a doorcase with a cornice, an overlight to the six-panel door, and a canted bay window. Two windows on the ground floor have 20th century bowed oriels.
As I continued along Stafford Road, the moles had dug their hills and holes in the open spaces, and the lawns in front of the Hedgehog were beginning to show what I imagined were the first hints of Spring growth.