35-39, PEMBROKE PLACE

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1393449

Date first listed: 23-Sep-2009

Statutory Address: 35-39, PEMBROKE PLACE

Map

Ordnance survey map of 35-39, PEMBROKE PLACE
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Location

Statutory Address: 35-39, PEMBROKE PLACE

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Liverpool (Metropolitan Authority)

National Grid Reference: SJ 35670 90669, SJ 35680 90668

Reasons for Designation

Nos 35-39 Pembroke Place are recommended for designation for the following principal reasons:

* They have special architectural interest as individual survivals of court-dwellings, a once-numerous but now near-extinct building type. They are almost certainly the last remnants in Liverpool, and are very rare elsewhere.

* They have special historic interest in the context of Liverpool's massive early-mid C19 growth as a port city, and beyond as documents of early-C19 urban vernacular at its near-humblest, poignant testimonies to the realities of working-class urban living. While the frontage houses are of lesser intrinsic interest, they form an integral and important part of the group, an arrangement which was planned not incidental

Details



392/0/10349 PEMBROKE PLACE 23-SEP-09 35-39

II Early-mid 1840s. A group of 3 houses facing S to Pembroke Place, comprising a single house: No 35, and a semi-detached pair: Nos 37 and 39. Each has an attached building to the rear, originally part of a row of 'court dwellings' but now forming a rear extension to the frontage house.

MATERIALS: Red-brown brick with sandstone dressings. Frontage houses have later rendering to fa├žades. Slate roofs.

FRONTAGE BUILDINGS TO PEMBROKE PLACE:

EXTERIOR: Each house is 3 storeys high and 1 bay wide; stone cills and lintels to windows; moulded stone eaves cornices; pitched slate roofs. Shop front to Nos 35-37 modern; that to 39 late C19, altered but retaining corbels, fascia and timber hinged gate to entrance. Windows to No 35 blocked but some original sashes survive behind; those to Nos 37-39 replaced. Flank elevations have blocked 3-centred arched window with a stone cill at ground floor and single windows to first and second floors, mainly blocked.

INTERIORS: The internal plan is 2 rooms deep with the stair compartment placed between the front and rear rooms; the stair has been relocated to the rear in No 39. Nos 37-39 retain parts of the stair but otherwise have few original features;; No 35 retains plaster cornices, part of its stair with turned newels and stick balusters, some panelled doors and architraves.

ATTACHED DWELLINGS TO REAR:

EXTERIOR: The 3 dwellings attached to Nos 35-39 Pembroke Place are lower and narrower than the frontage houses, 3 storeys high and 1 bay wide. Openings are mainly blocked but some original sashes survive behind Round-headed doorways with brick arches. Stone cills and lintels to windows and moulded cornices, as per frontage buildings. Map evidence indicates that the houses had basement areas but these are now infilled. Elevation of house to rear of No 39 is rendered.

INTERIORS: The plan consists of 1 room per floor with a narrow winding stair against the rear wall (first to second floor flights only). Interiors are sparse, with simple joinery and minimal decorative detail.

HISTORY: Nos 35-39 Pembroke Place do not appear on Gage's map of 1841 but are shown on the OS first edition of 1848. They were originally part of a symmetrical group of 4 houses comprising Nos 37 and 39 as a semi-detached pair, flanked by single houses: Nos 35 to the W and 41 to the E. Between them were two narrow courts: Watkinson's Terrace and Watkinson's Buildings, each lined with two facing rows of 4 dwellings abutting the frontage buildings in Pembroke Place, those to the rear of the central pair placed back-to-back. Behind No 35 is the sole surviving unit of the W side of Watkinson's Terrace. Of the E side Watkinson's Terrace, the first unit and its back-to back partner on the W side of Watkinson's Buildings remain, behind to No 37 and 39 respectively. No 41 and the E side of Watkinson's Buildings behind have been demolished.

The 3 rear buildings are very rare survivals of 'court dwellings', a term which applies to a relatively ephemeral but widespread building type that emerged in the late C18 in the expanding industrial towns of the north and midlands, usually built by small speculative developers as cheap, high-density housing. In Liverpool they usually comprised, as here, rows of houses built along a narrow paved yard set at right angles to the main street, entered by a narrow passage between the frontage houses. There could be several parallel courts off one road, with the houses along the side of one court placed back-to-back with those of another, as was the case with Pembroke Place.

Court construction burgeoned in Liverpool between 1820-1840 in response to the city's massive growth as an international port and consequent population growth including large numbers of poor unskilled workers. Some 86,000 people were housed in courts by 1840, by far the largest area of purpose-built working-class housing in England. Among the worst in the country, Liverpool's housing embodied the three evils of low-class housing: courts, back-to-backs and worst of all, 'cellar dwellings'. Courts were notorious for their lack of light, ventilation and overcrowding - a single house frequently occupied by several families. Sanitation was simply a communal water pump and privy; epidemic diseases such as typhus were rife and mortality rates high. By the late 1830s, the City's politicians were awakening to the appalling housing conditions, encouraged by the research of Dr William Henry Duncan (1805-63), lifelong campaigner for improved sanitation and housing for the poor whose experience as a Liverpool GP prompted the publication of an influential pamphlet: 'The Physical Causes of the High Mortality Rate in Liverpool' (1843). Duncan was appointed the city's Medical Officer of Health in 1847, the first such appointment nationally. Liverpool procured the Health of Towns and Building Act (1842), prohibiting courts that were inadequately lit, and it is likely that those in Pembroke Place were among the last erected. Pembroke Place's configuration, with the more substantial houses forming the 'polite' endpieces to rows of lower-status dwellings, demonstrates how different classes of dwelling often co-existed next to each other in densely-developed urban areas of the early C19. While the court formatio has largely gone, these are very rare survivals.

SOURCES: Dorothy Marshall: Industrial England 1776-1851, pp 36-7 Stefan Muthesius, The English Terraced House, 1982 John Burnett: A Social History of Housing 1815-1985, 1986

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: Nos 35-39 Pembroke Place are designated for the following principal reasons:

* They have special architectural interest as individual survivals of court-dwellings, a once-numerous but now near-extinct building type. They are almost certainly the last remnants in Liverpool, and are very rare elsewhere.

* They have special historic interest in the context of Liverpool's massive early-mid C19 growth as a port city, and beyond as documents of early-C19 urban vernacular at its near-humblest, poignant testimonies to the realities of working-class urban living. While the frontage houses are of lesser intrinsic interest, they form an integral and important part of the group, an arrangement which was planned not incidental

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 506207

Legacy System: LBS

End of official listing