Monday, 13 May 2019

A new future for a listed Georgian
house on Church Street, Tamworth

The White House on Church Street once served as Tamworth’s municipal offices (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

Although Tamworth lost much of its architectural heritage over the past half century, it still retains many interesting Victorian, Georgian and earlier Tudor buildings that should not be overlooked.

The Georgian heritage in the centre of Tamworth includes the White House at No 16-20 on the north side of Church Street. This is a Grade II listed building, but it ought not be confused with the White House further west at 93 Lichfield Street. It adjoins the Assembly Rooms and once served as Tamworth’s Municipal Offices.

Although the White House sands on the corner of Church Street where it is joined by Corporation Street, the house is set well back from the street and is worth looking at again because of its scale and nature.

This is a large, three-storey, five-bay, early 19th century stuccoed house, and at the rear it has a full-height bow.

The architectural features include a platt band over the ground floor, angle pilasters with entablature blocks, and a top cornice and coped parapet. The entrance has a doorcase with a pediment and a four-fielded-panel door, with steps with iron rails.

The windows have sills, there are keystones over 12-pane horned sashes, and central windows in a forward break. The left return has two lateral stacks, and there is a round-headed stair window has small-paned glazing.

Inside, the White House has a stick-baluster staircase on the left side, with an entablature.

John Harper, in his Tamworth Past and Present (Tamworth Herald, 2002/2008), notes that this high-quality townhouse was the home of the Hamel family in the 1880s. They were descended from the Tamworth artist, Etienne Bruno Hamel, who also established the tape mill in Bolebridge Street.

The White House was acquired by the local authority in 1888, and later served as Tamworth’s municipal offices. The council vacated the premises in 1980-1981, and moved to the newly-built Marmion House on Lichfield Street.

In the years that followed, the building was divided into a number of office units.

The White House on Church Street was sold recently by Calders, the Tamworth-based Chartered Surveyors, with an asking price of £465,000 and the potential for office and residential use, with consent to redevelop the ground floor as commercial space ad five residential apartments on the upper floors.

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