Early-C19 terrace of six houses incorporating shops.
Reasons for Designation
* Historical interest: it forms part of a significant late-C18 and early-C19 remodelling of Boston’s historic Market Place, and, together with other major developments such as the Assembly Rooms, mark a notable period in the town’s history when it sought to re-establish its commercial pre-eminence as both port and market centre.
* Architectural interest: is a good example of an early-C19 terrace with a curved frontage, well-proportioned façade and spare architectural detailing that is typical of the period.
* Group Value: The terrace is part of an incremental development of town houses and shops on the western side of the Market Place which retains much of its external detail and continues to form part of the varied architectural frame to the Market Place and to the setting of St Botolph’s Church.
Despite some fluctuation in its fortunes Boston remained a prosperous port and market town from the middle ages into the C19, its social, economic and political history reflected in its town plan and buildings. From the C12 to the C15 it was one of the busiest ports in England, its wealth based principally on the trade in wool, cloth and luxury goods. Boston's market was first recorded between 1125 and 1135, and the annual fair was one of the great trade fairs of Europe. The medieval town grew around streets on either side of the River Witham, now the High Street to the west and South Street to the east. The latter opens to a wide market place to the north, from which narrow medieval lanes travel east and north to Church Street, St Botolph's Church and Wormgate.
The medieval period is represented by fragments of the Dominican friary surviving as the Blackfriars Arts Centre (Grade II*) on Spain Lane, the only visible evidence of the four friaries established in the town in the C12 and C13. Evidence of the town's thriving C14 and C15 engagement in the North Sea wool trade survives in the Guildhall (Grade I) of the Guild of St Mary, one of several religious guilds in the town at this period. Following the incorporation of Boston as a borough in 1545 and the dissolution of the religious guilds two years later, the assets of the Guild of St Mary, including the Guildhall, were transferred to the Corporation. Later C18 fen drainage and the construction of the Grand Sluice realised the value of the Corporation's estate, the increase in income funding significant building projects in the town, including the Exchange Buildings of 1770-1772 (formerly the Corporation Buildings) to the west of the Market Place (Grade II*). This renewed prosperity continued into the first half of the C19, when agricultural enclosure generated new wealth from a now highly productive rural hinterland. The corporation invested in further public building, notably the Assembly Rooms, completed in 1822 (Grade II*) to the north of the Exchange Buildings. The Grade II listed buildings that form an irregular terrace, 42-50 Market Place, also date to the first half of the C19, as do eight Grade II listed warehouses. Between the mid-C18 and mid-C19 the town's suburbs grew to the north-west and east of the Market Place, with limited development to the west of the river.
Boston continued to thrive economically until the construction of the railway in 1848; this brought a station and growth to the west of the town, but withdrew outgoing goods from the port. A new dock constructed by the corporation to the south of the town in 1884 renewed seaborne trade and brought development to an area of previously agricultural land. By the late C19 the town had reached almost its present extent. Although there was new building within the town in the C20, notably the construction of the inner ring road, John Adams Way, much historic fabric has been retained; this is reflected in the comprehensive coverage of Boston in the National Heritage List for England.
45-50 Market Place was built as a terrace in the early C19, probably as town houses with commercial premises. A photograph dated 1890 shows ground-floor shop frontages but only one of these survives at no. 50; the others now date to the late C20. The photograph also shows that no. 46 had wrought-iron balconies on the outer windows on the second floor, and that nos. 46 and 47 had a balustraded parapet, surmounted by three urns on no. 47. The interiors have been substantially remodelled, retaining only some of their early-C19 fixtures and fittings, and a long single-storey extension has been built to the rear of no. 45 in the late C20.
MATERIALS: Colourwashed brick under shallow pitched, slate-clad roofs with brick chimney stacks.
PLAN: The terrace has a curved frontage and each house has a long, rectangular plan. To the rear of no. 45 is a long, single-storey extension added in the C20.
EXTERIOR: The terrace has three storeys and a twelve bay front with two windows to each shop. It has a small, dentilled, wooden eaves cornice and a continuous sill band at first-floor level. The shop fronts are C20 with the exception of no. 50 which is late C19 in date, with a cornice and narrow pilasters. The upper floors have pairs of sash windows with narrow sills and wedge lintels. The first-floor windows on nos. 45 and 49 have timber glazing bars, whilst the others have single pane sashes. The second-floor windows are smaller with single pane sashes on nos. 45, 46 and 48, casement windows on nos. 47 and 50, and a sash with glazing bars on no. 49. Nos. 45 and 46 have a full attic storey behind the ridge line.
INTERIOR: Overall the plan forms have been much altered, particularly on the ground floors which have undergone remodelling to form open-plan shops, or in the case of no. 45, a college. The upper floors have been converted into domestic accommodation. Most of the windows have been replaced, and all the original doors and fireplaces have been removed. Some elements of the original interior decoration survive on the upper floors, including two arched openings supported by consoles, a section of cornicing embellished with plasterwork floral motifs, a number of panelled shutters and window jambs, two reeded architraves with roundels in the corners, and two rear staircases with stick balusters. It is possible that some cornicing may survive behind the inserted ceilings on the ground floor.