113, REDCHURCH STREET
Heritage Category: Listed Building
List Entry Number: 1393497
Date first listed: 22-Oct-2009
Statutory Address: 113, REDCHURCH STREET
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Statutory Address: 113, REDCHURCH STREET
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: Tower Hamlets (London Borough)
National Grid Reference: TQ 33835 82423
Reasons for Designation
113 Redchurch Street is designated for the following principal reasons: * Of special architectural and historic interest as a rare and early survival of a weavers' tenement house, a building type that once dominated Spitalfields, the hub of the English silk industry until the C19; * It is a relatively well-preserved example of its type, retaining above ground level its characteristic fenestration pattern and internal plan form; * An important regional representative of a pre-Industrial Revolution dwelling for domestic workers in the textile-weaving industry.
788/0/10272 REDCHURCH STREET 22-OCT-09 113
II Weavers' tenement house. Built c1735 by William Farmer, a local builder. Rear extension probably added at early stage, possibly c1773. C19 and later alterations.
MATERIALS: Brick with later render to front elevation. Pantile roof.
PLAN: The plan would originally have comprised one room per floor with the staircase located in the left-hand (W) corner in front of the party-wall chimneystack. The two-storey rear extension is likely to be an early rebuilding of a one-storey outshut. A stair has been inserted on the W side of the rear extension, and a modern partition separates the first-floor front room from the chimneystack and stair. Ground floor has been opened up between front and rear rooms, and the front stair between ground and first floor has been removed. EXTERIOR: Three storeys high plus garret. Steep pitched roof with dormer; catslide roof to rear extension. Ground floor has altered C19 shop front; first floor has 2 segmental windows with a narrow window to the left (W) lighting the stair; second floor has off-centre segmental-headed tripartite 'weavers' window. Most sashes removed. Rear elevation has a broad workshop window opening on the first floor of the extension, and a 6-light workshop window at second floor with timber mullions. INTERIOR: Half-height panelling to first-floor front room, probably C19. A section of C18 full-height panelling survives between the front and rear rooms. The plain half-height panelling in the rear room may also be C18, but date is uncertain. Winding stair from first to second floor appears original although with some replacement of treads etc; early horse-hair plasterwork to the soffit. There is an understair doorway above which is an early panel. The second-floor room has been partitioned but the ceiling beam survives.
HISTORY: The eastern section of Redchurch Street in which No 113 stands, originally named New Cock Lane, was an extension of Cock Lane which ran eastwards from Shoreditch High Street. It had become Church Street by the time of Horwood's map of 1799, and changed again to Redchurch Street in the inter-war period.
No 113 Redchurch Street was one of a row of 5 houses built c1735 by a local builder, William Farmer, who had built houses in Sclater Street and Tyssen Street (now the northern part of Brick Lane). It was enlarged at the rear at a relatively early stage, possibly by the addition of an extra storey to a one-storey outshut. The land-tax valuation increased slightly in 1770-73 when the house was taken over by a William Howard, and in 1783 the house was assessed for 11 windows. It is therefore possible that this work was undertaken c1773, along with other alterations. It is typical of the dwellings built in C18 Spitalfields to accommodate silk workers, now rare.
Silk working was one of London's principal industries in the C18, accounting for about 10% of the working-class population. The industry became heavily concentrated in Spitalfields and Shoreditch in the C17, spreading into Bethnal Green, fuelled by the arrival of refugee Huguenot silk weavers from France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) outlawed Protestant worship. Here, they produced silks of the highest quality, previously available only from the famous looms of France, skills which were soon dispersed into the local population. Journeymen weavers, the largest group of silk workers, traditionally worked in their homes, usually with a pair of looms for husband and wife; as the family grew, children were set to work at six or seven years of age to quill silk; at nine or ten years to pick silk; and at the age of twelve or thirteen put to the loom to weave. While there was variability of status within the craft, weavers were among the lowest paid of skilled workers and suffered considerable poverty. The famous Spitalfields Act (1773), following a decade of sporadic rioting and discontent, primarily about undercutting of wages and importation of French silks, regulated wages and restricted imports, but the effect was in the long term detrimental in depressing trade. After a minor boom in the early C19, the Spitalfields silk industry gradually declined in the face of industrialisation in the form of mechanised looms, and the relocation of silk masters out of London to take advantage of cheaper labour. The repeal of the Spitalfields Act (1826) meant that wages dropped by 50%, and Bethnal Green became one of London's poorest districts. Cobden's commercial treaty with France (1860) dealt the death blow to the industry.
Domestic working was not uncommon in C18 London, but this was usually accommodated in undifferentiated houses. In Spitalfields however, a building form particular to the area had emerged by the early C18 as a response to the burgeoning silk industry: the weavers' tenement house. Erected by speculative builders, these buildings were typically three or four storeys high, sometimes with garrets, and one room deep with a rear outshut. They were intended for multiple occupancy, often accommodating one family per floor, with workshops usually located on the upper floors, although better-off weavers may have inhabited an entire house. A small enclosed stair was frequently located at the front next to the entrance in front of a party-wall chimney stack, a plan form externally identifiable by an additional smaller window lighting the staircase, as evident at No 113 Redchurch Street, but there were variants on this arrangement. Externally, weavers' tenement houses were identifiable by a long row of windows on the top storey and/or distinctive broad, segmental-headed windows on the upper floors, front and back, to maximise light. Internally, they were simply finished. While outwardly more substantial and imposing than the lowest-grade dwellings of the poor, these tenements were of a lesser order than the silk masters' terraces in Fournier Street and its environs (the description of these latter as "weavers'houses" is something of a misnomer since the glazed weavers' garrets were added later in the C18 when the area's social status declined). In the early C19, a two-storey cottage variant appeared, notably in the 'Old Nichol' area to the N of Redchurch Street, which had become a notorious slum district by the late C19 and was swept away for the Boundary Estate.
SOURCES: Victoria County History, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 2 (1911), pp 132-137 Survey of London: Volume 27: Spitalfields and Mile End New Town (1957) Peter Guillery, The Small House in Eighteenth-Century London (2004)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: 113 Redchurch Street is designated for the following principal reasons:
* Of special architectural and historic interest as a rare and early survival of a weavers' tenement house, a building type that once dominated Spitalfields, the hub of the English silk industry until the C19; * It is a relatively well-preserved example of its type, retaining above ground level its characteristic fenestration pattern and internal plan form; * An important regional representative of a pre-Industrial Revolution dwelling for domestic workers in the textile-weaving industry
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 507417
Legacy System: LBS
Books and journals
A History of the County of Middlesex, (1911), 132-137
Guillery, P, The Small House in Eighteenth Century London, (2004)
'Survey of London' in Survey of London - Spitalfields and Mile End New Town Parishes of Christ Church and All Saints and the liberties of Norton Folgate and the Old Artillery Ground:Volume 27, , Vol. 27, (1957)
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing