North Road House / Paynters

17 Apr 2003
North Road House, 2 North Road, Hertford, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, SG14 1LR
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Paynters, 2 North Road, Hertford, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, SG14 1LR
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.


TL3212NW NORTH ROAD 817-1/16/125 (North side) 10/02/50 No.2 North Road House (Formerly Listed as: NORTH ROAD (North side) No.2 Paynters)


Villa. 1827-28, altered mid C19, and repaired 1915-16 after bomb damage. Architect Thomas Smith, for his own residence. Stucco (south elevation), yellow stock brick (remaining elevations). Parapet conceals low-pitched Welsh slated hipped roofs. Greek Revival style. EXTERIOR: basement and 2 storeys. South elevation has 5 sash windows with glazing bars, recessed in moulded architrave surrounds grouped 2:1:2. Basement plain-stuccoed as plinth; ground floor rusticated, moulded band at first-floor level, picking up line of cornice on projecting porch. Plain stucco first floor with moulded cornice, parapet above stepped up in centre. Central porch, above 4 stone steps, has 2 fluted Greek Doric columns, with responds, full entablature, with triglyph frieze, cornice with mutules, and blocking course. 4 panel front door. Garden (north) elevation has yellow stock brickwork (Flemish bond) with stone band at first-floor level, and moulded stucco cornice and parapet, which continues around building from south elevation. First floor; 3 windows, 2 outer sashes with glazing bars, centre 6-light mullion and transom window, with timber casements and divided glazing all recessed under segmental brick arches. Ground floor: 2 outer full-length triple sashes 1:3:1-panes subdivided into large panes by glazing bars, recessed, under segmental brick arches.

Twin glazed French windows, divided into large panes by glazing bars in centre. House raised above basement which is concealed by two terraces on garden elevation. These formed an integral part of the design. Upper terrace formed of large Penrhyn slate slabs supported on brick offset of house wall, and in rebate on sandstone ashlar slabs, which form outer edge of upper terrace. Two square Penrhyn slate planting tubs, on castors, placed on upper terrace appear to be original. Central flight of 5 stone steps lead down to lower terrace. Planted bed at lower level conceals service undercroft beneath upper terrace.

Lower terrace repaved in brick in 1930s, but Penrhyn slate edging above stucco faced outer wall appears original. Flight of 5 stone steps, flanked by two mid C19 artificial stone urn planters, leads down to garden level. Former, east service wing demolished by bomb in 1915, and basement only remains. Single storey flat-roofed mid C19 vestibule, with 1930s garden room links to former mid C19 coach house, now altered and converted to separate residential unit in 1980s, not of special interest. INTERIOR: main house arranged with central through hall on ground floor, with principal reception rooms either side above service basement, formerly including kitchen. Hall divided into 5 bays, with quadripartite plaster vaulting, with raised beads on groins and acanthus leaf rosettes. Bays separated by elliptical arches, with raised guilloche ornament on entrados, carried on foliated consoles with egg-and-dart ornamented capitals. At garden end is an elliptical vault, divided into 7 panels, each with honeysuckle ornament by raised flat bands. Twin French casements, with two-light fanlights, to terrace outside flanked by pilasters with acanthus and egg-and-dart caps. Deep skirtings throughout ground floor, with scotia mouldings. Doors with 4 fielded panels. Drawing Room, right rear, off hall, has elaborate cornice, possibly mid C19, with egg-and-dart, hollow acanthus and running garlands. Fireplace wall has twin elliptical recesses either side of chimney breast, with guilloche ornamental intrados and console supports, generally similar to those in hall, but later. Egyptian style white marble fireplace, with attached Lotus plant columns. Double doors, each with large and small leaf. Large leafs each have 3 large panels with grooved 'Soane' surrounds and scotia mouldings. Dining Room has elaborate plaster cornice with acanthus leaves, rolls and square band and hollow roll. Late C19 red granite fireplace with bolection mouldings installed mid 1950s reputedly from the sale preceding the demolition of Panshanger House, outside Hertford, in 1954. Narrow dogleg staircase with stick balusters, curtail step, and wreathed hardwood handrails. Leaded-light obscure glazed half-landing windows installed c1915-16 as reparation for bomb damage. First-floor bedrooms with plain fireplaces (several removed). Bathroom, to right of staircase head, refitted c1936, has a recessed eau-de-nil enamelled bath, with etched reeded-pattern Vitrolite panelling above, and an eau-de-nil Vitrolite surround, with twin mirror-faced doors to closets either side. Eau-de-nil ceramic splashback, and matching vanity table.

HISTORICAL NOTE: Thomas Smith (1799-1875) practised in Hertford from the 1820s, and was also County Surveyor for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Among his Hertford buildings is the County Hospital, North Road (qv). In the early C20, North Road House (formerly Paynters) was the home of Annie Swan, c1908-1935, social activist, who moved from Hampstead to Hertford with her husband, a doctor. During the first quarter of the century she was a prolific and popular author. In her autobiography (My Life, London, 1924, Ivor Nicholson) she left a vivid account of the bomb damage to the house in a Zeppelin raid on 13 October 1915, in which the east wing was demolished, the front door was blown out, and the dining room was stripped to lath and plaster (vide Chapter 14 and 15). (The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Hertfordshire: Harmondsworth: 1977-: 193; Felstead A: Directory of British Architects 1834-1900: London: 1993-; Swan, Annie: My Life: London: 1924-; Colvin H: A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840: London: 1978-).

Listing NGR: TL3215012690


This is part of the Series: IOE01/0871 IOE Records taken by A Gude; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr A. Gude. Source: Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Photographer: Gude, A.

Rights Holder: Gude, A.


Brick, Slate, Stucco, Welsh Slate, Georgian Villa, Agriculture And Subsistence, Land Use Site, Domestic, House, Dwelling, Coach House, Transport, Road Transport Site, Garden House, Gardens Parks And Urban Spaces, Garden Building, Monument <By Form>, Steps, Pedestrian Transport Site, Garden Terrace