Britannia Square House Histories

27 Britannia Square
by Gwen Baker

27 BRITANNIA SQUARE is A double-fronted, detached, cottage-style Regency house.

When I looked at no. 27 in April 1988, it had been empty for over a year. It needed a new roof, façade and door portico. The railings and gate for the 1940s sunray type had to be replaced by wrought iron ones, as near to the original as possible. The shutters had been nailed in by the previous owner and much other work was needed, and still continues.

I was fortunate in having two architectural historian friends who visited and looked at the features of the property, coming to the conclusion that it was built in the 1820s and not later than 1827. On inspection of the brickwork at the rear of the house, they remarked that it had been built by an ‘old-fashioned’ builder, as the brickwork was of Georgian style. Other features included the handsome ‘dog-leg’ mahogany staircase, typical Regency door lintels and carved architraves. The house had been altered by a ‘builder’ in the past who had taken out the chimney breast in the small back parlour and its Georgian style open cooking range with hooks & spit, and knocked the room through to the dining room, making one long narrow room. The back hall is still stone-flagged, the front Victorian Terrazzo-tiled. The original fireplaces had been removed and stone ‘Minster’ ones installed in the two sitting rooms. Fortunately they are quite handsome and do not detract from the character of the rooms.

There was an addition to the house at the turn of the century: a dining kitchen and a double bedroom over it to replace the bedroom made into a bathroom.

The garden at the rear is long and spacious. It originally had a coach house opening onto The Moors, which was demolished in the 1940s and an awful block-built one installed.

The garden has many species of trees and bushes; it has a parterre section and a small pond, through a gate to a small kitchen garden, and slopes down to a garage at the side wall gate to The Moors.

I researched the street records in the Records Office (then in Fish Street) and discovered the names and occupations of some of the former residents.

Former residents of no. 27 Britannia Square

Miss Lavinia New
1820s: Gentlewoman, two gentlemen lodgers

1850s: Edward Jordan, Master Malster, his nephew Surman (bachelors), two servants Anna Jones and Letitia Nevitt

1900s: For 25 years, Mrs Burrows, widow1930s: Various residents

1940s: Cyril Attlee, relative to Clement Attlee, Prime Minister, used house as office and occasional ‘bolthole’ according to one of our late neighbours

1950s: Neurologist, violinist, gave soirees here. An ‘Italiaphile’, according to local doctor

1960s: Various residents1970s: Horace Winwood, cartoonist to local newspapers, wife and son

1980s: Mr Padmore, builder?

1988: Gwenyth Baker, singer, teacher, instrumentalist & writer; and Clare Baker, artist & sculptor

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