Former bank, now residential, 1886-1888 by James Hicks.
Reasons for Designation
The former Devon and Cornwall Bank at 11 Fore Street, Redruth is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a characterful example of the work of Redruth’s principal C19 architect, James Hicks;
* the Renaissance architectural style of the building is neatly detailed and makes good use of Carn Marth granite from nearby quarries, which were managed by Hicks from 1883.
* as a significant component in the late-C19 post-mining building boom in Redruth, many buildings for which were designed by Hicks;
* as purpose-built premises for the Devon and Cornwall Bank, during a time when Redruth was becoming an economic hub for the county.
* with the neighbouring 9 and 10 Fore Street, which is listed at Grade II.
The Devon and Cornwall Bank was founded in January 1832 by a group of businessmen as the Plymouth and Devonport Banking Company, effectively as a way of purchasing Hingston and Prideaux, a private west-country bank which had encountered financial difficulties. The headquarters were in Plymouth, and the name was changed in October 1833 to reflect its wider regional representation. The first Cornish branch was opened in St Austell in 1833, and by the end of the 1830s there were 15 branches across the two counties. Expansion halted in 1839 but resumed in 1847. By the end of the C19 there were 55 branches and it had become one of the largest banking organisations in the south-west.
Plans for a new building for the Redruth branch of the Devon and Cornwall Bank were passed in April 1886. The bank was initially housed in temporary premises on Penryn Street, and moved into the new building on Fore Street in January 1887, but it was reported in the press that the building was not yet complete. In February 1888 it was illustrated in The Architect; the accompanying text noted that the building was 120ft deep and contained a residence for the local manager, and that the granite to the frontage was supplied by the Cornish Granite Company. The builder was Mr Arthur Carkeek of Redruth, and the architect James Hicks.
James Hicks (1846-1896) was born in Redruth and lived in the town for his entire life. By the age of 25 Hicks had set up his own practice; an early commission was the remodelling of Tolvean on West End, Redruth for Alfred Lanyon, a prominent Redruthian who had amassed a fortune through investment in commercial, industrial and private buildings. Hicks’ relationship with businessmen and industrialists continued during his career, and for ten years he was the local agent of Lord Clinton. The bulk of Hicks’ work comprised public buildings including chapels and schools throughout Cornwall, but from the mid-1870s he began to have an influence on the building stock, and the civil direction, of his hometown. In 1883 he acquired the lease for the nearby Carn Marth granite quarries from Lord Clinton and James Buller, forming the Cornish Granite and Freestone Company. The company took their fair share of new building contracts in Redruth, highlighting his interest in the wellbeing of the town. In 1894 Hicks became the first President of the Ratepayer’s Association and was a member of Redruth Urban District Council from 1895. Hicks’ architectural contribution to Redruth occurred at a time when Cornwall’s mining industry had slumped, and the county was plunged into recession - but when Redruth was flourishing as an economic and commercial centre.
In August 1887, the confectioner James Lemin brought a case against the bank, alleging that the new building encroached on his property; Hicks produced the previous and his proposed plans for the bank as part of the enquiry. The outcome (and the location of those plans) is unknown.
In 1906 the Devon and Cornwall Bank became part of Lloyds, and in 1918 they also acquired the Capital and Counties Bank whose bank in Redruth was at 27 Fore Street. The two Lloyds branches were consolidated in April 1919 in the former Cornish Bank building; this was rebuilt in about 1924. 11 Fore Street was in use by Lloyds probably until early 1923 when the new building was completed, and it was consequently sold to the National Provincial Bank. They merged with the Westminster Bank in 1968-1970 to for the National Westminster Bank (styled as NatWest since the 1990s).
At some point in the C20 (and before 1989) a corbel bracket, corbel and 1886 datestone beneath the oriel window on the front elevation was removed. In 1959 the upper floors were converted from residential to office accommodation. Further alterations took place in 1964, including a new two-storey flat-roofed rear extension. NatWest used the building at 11 Fore Street until August 2015 when it closed. In 2021 the entire building was converted into residential use.
Former bank, now residential, 1886-1888 by James Hicks.
MATERIALS: faced in Carn Marth granite, coursed rubble with granite quoins to the rear, slate pitched roofs.
PLAN: the front part of the building is roughly-square in plan, with a rectangular rear wing slightly angled behind.
EXTERIOR: the former bank is built in a Renaissance style over three storeys to the front; the rear wing is two-storeys. The principal elevation (south) comprises three narrow bays with an off-set entrance portal to the right on the ground floor. The building rises from a rock-faced granite plinth with pilasters framing two large windows on the ground floor; the pilasters are partly-fluted and have egg-and-dart decoration to their capitals. The doorcase to the right is similarly treated and has a cornice on fluted consoles and is fitted with a timber door with fielded panels; this leads to a former through-passage with a further door into the building on the east elevation within. The first floor is divided into three bays by rock-faced rusticated pilasters. Tall chamfered window openings with shouldered heads flank an oriel with a three-light transom window with coloured glass in the upper lights, and a balustraded parapet. The second floor has three chamfered window openings divided by Ionic pilasters enriched with palmettes, which support a blank frieze and corbelled cornice. Windows to the ground floor are fixed and have metal frames; those to the first and second floors are timber sashes without glazing bars, and those on the first floor have fixed panes with remnant coloured glass above. The east elevation of the rear wing, within a narrow former through-passage, is rubble stone with granite quoins and dressings with timber casement windows; the gable end to the front building is slate hung. The west elevation adjoins the neighbouring building, but on the second floor there are further windows flanking a rubble-stone stack. There is a further stack on the rear roof slope. The modern extensions to the north are rendered.
INTERIOR: the former banking hall is located to the front (south) of the building; a plaster ceiling with a dentilled cornice and floral ceiling ribs survives.