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25 and 27, High Street

Case study:  Rotherham (Yorkshire)

List entry number: 1132712

Three Cranes, High Street Rotherham building at risk, before restoration
Hidden from public view behind this modern shopfront was Rotherham’s last known surviving medieval timber-framed town house. © Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Background and history

At nearly 550 years old it is no surprise that 25 and 27 High Street Rotherham has stories to tell. It was built around 1470, then altered and extended in the late 16th or early 17th century.

The timber-framed property was originally a town house of some status. It was perhaps the residence of a wealthy merchant.

By the late 18th century the rear of the building had been converted into the Three Cranes Inn. The building next to numbers 25 and 27 also formed part of the Three Cranes. This building was even older than 25 and 27, but was demolished in 1963.

The fronts of both buildings were used as shops, with the inn being accessed by an alley. After over 130 years of trading the inn closed on Boxing Day 1907.

During the remainder of the 20th century the building was in retail use. Like many premises on Rotherham's High Street it was vacant for prolonged periods in the last decade. This contributed to the Town Centre Conservation Area also being included on the Heritage at Risk Register.

The area's future is now looking brighter. A successful Heritage Lottery Fund Townscape Heritage Initiative project has restored 13 historic properties. The work has been complemented by further investment to support independent and specialist retail development.

Three Cranes High Street Rotherham building at risk, after restoration
Chris Hamby, proud new owner of the building, which he has recently restored with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Rotherham Council.

Is it at risk?

25 and 27 High Street Rotherham were included on the first Heritage at Risk Register in 1999. The Heritage Lottery Fund and Rotherham Council supported a comprehensive programme of repair and restoration. The building is now in use as Hambys Antique Centre and has been removed from the Register.

Historic England provided expert planning and repairs advice.

Rotherham Town Centre Conservation Area remains at risk. However, with further regeneration projects still to complete, its outlook is certainly brighter.

George Wright building,  High Street Rotherham building at risk
Work continues to restore the historic buildings in Rotherham’s Town Centre Conservation Area including the former George Wright Offices behind High Street. Originally built as lawyer’s offices, they were later used by George Wright Stove and Grate Manufacturers of Rotherham.

What's the current situation?

Hambys Antique Centre is open six days a week. It includes the Heritage Centre displaying discoveries made during the restoration of 25 and 27 High Street. There is also information on the history of the building and neighbouring properties.

Chris Hamby's current project is the repair and restoration of the former George Wright Offices behind High Street. This delightful grade II listed building in a Tudor Revival style will find a new use as apartments.

Rotherham Town Centre continues to build its reputation for specialist and independent retailing. The Makers Emporium at no. 26 High Street showcases a variety of products. These are all expertly crafted by local makers, artists and designers. It offers them a unique opportunity to learn the art of retailing and grow their product range.

 

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