Kirkgate Buildings

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1415453
Date first listed:
29-Mar-2016
Statutory Address:
Byram Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 1BY

Map

Ordnance survey map of Kirkgate Buildings
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Location

Statutory Address:
Byram Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 1BY

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

District:
Kirklees (Metropolitan Authority)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SE1452616781

Summary

Commercial building with ground-floor retail units and offices to the upper floors, c1883, by W H Crossland with sculptural work by C E Fucigna. Sandstone ashlar, slate roof, substantial ashlar ridge stacks. C19 Queen Anne style with French influences and classical Greek sculpture. One of the ground-floor shop units was remodelled in 1935 by Sharp and Law of Bradford with Moderne shopfronts and interior fittings.

Reasons for Designation

Kirkgate Buildings, c1883 by W H Crossland, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural quality: its eclectic C19 Queen Anne styling displays a strong level of architectural flair, incorporating French and Flemish Renaissance influenced detailing to successful effect, whilst a remodelled 1935 Moderne shop unit, including shopfronts and interior fittings, provides further architectural interest; * Architect: it was designed by the notable Huddersfield architect, WH Crossland who has many listed buildings to his name, and is an excellent example of his work; * Sculptural interest: the elevations incorporate high-quality sculptural work by the Italian sculptor Ceccardo Egidio Fucigna, and include references to Huddersfield's close links with the textile trade, as well as the building's links with the Ramsden family; * Interior interest: the interior contains a number of notable features, including a large central glazed atrium with balustraded galleries and a roof with elegant mild-steel trusses, two main cantilevered stairs with scrolled cast-iron balustrades, and the 1935 interior of the former Neaversons shop, which retains original fittings and is an example of interior design influenced by Le Corbusier; * Group value: it has strong group value with nearby listed buildings, a number of which were also designed by Crossland.

History

Kirkgate Buildings was constructed in c1883 to the designs of the notable Huddersfield architect, William Henry Crossland, with sculptural work by Ceccardo Egidio Fucigna, and was commissioned by the Ramsden family who owned much of the town at this time. The building was originally known as Bulstrode Buildings and was built as a speculative office and shop development. Retail was confined to the ground floor, whilst the upper floors comprised an office arcade with a central atrium; an arrangement that survives in the present day, although the atrium has since been divided into two by the insertion of a modern lift and stair. The interior office floors were refurbished in 1992/3.

William Henry Crossland (1835-1908) was a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott and was involved, along with Scott, in the design of Akroyden, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, a model village scheme for the worsted manufacturer, Edward Ackroyd. Crossland subsequently developed his own architectural practice, which centred on Huddersfield, Halifax and Leeds, before moving to the south of England where he carried out further commissions. He has over 25 listed buildings to his name, many of which are in Huddersfield and other areas of West Yorkshire, including 10-18 Westgate and the Byram Arcade, Huddersfield (1880-1, Grade II), 20-26 Westgate, Huddersfield (1871-2, Grade II), Waverley Chambers, Huddersfield (1882, Grade II) and the church of St Stephen, Elland (1863, Grade II*), as well as other areas of England, including Royal Holloway College, Egham, Surrey (1879-87, Grade I), Rochdale Town Hall (1866-71, Grade I), and the Church of St Thomas, Sutton, North Yorkshire (1869, Grade II).

Ceccardo Egidio Fucigna (c1836-1884) was born in Carrara, Italy and was a member of the Academy of Ferrara, studying art in Florence and Rome. Fucigna was active as a sculptor in England from the early-1860s and was chief assistant modeller to John Birnie Philip until Philip's death in 1875. He subsequently produced works for the architect William Burges at Cardiff Castle and sculptural reliefs adorning W H Crossland's Royal Holloway College, as well as other works for Crossland, including several in Huddersfield town centre. Fucigna exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition numerous times between 1863-1879.

Details

Commercial building with ground-floor retail units and offices to the upper floors, c1883, by W H Crossland with sculptural work by C E Fucigna. Sandstone ashlar, slate roof, substantial ashlar ridge stacks. C19 Queen Anne style with French influences and classical Greek sculpture. One of the ground-floor shop units remodelled in 1935 by Sharp and Law of Bradford with Moderne shopfronts and interior fittings

MATERIALS: sandstone ashlar, slate roof, substantial ashlar ridge stacks.

PLAN: Kirkgate Buildings occupies an entire town-centre block bounded by Kirkgate to the south, Byram Street to the east, Wood Street to the west and Church Street to the north. The original principal entrances lie at each north and south end, with an additional entrance on the east side. To the north across Church Street is the similarly styled, but smaller Somerset Buildings, and to the west across Wood Street is Waverley Chambers (Grade II), both of which were also designed by Crossland with sculptural work by Fucigna.

EXTERIOR: the ground floor is the building's tallest level with the floor levels diminishing in height above.

South elevation: this elevation facing Kirkgate is of a wide 3-bays with paired stringcourses that divide the floor levels and continue around the entire building. At the top of the elevation is an eaves cornice that also continues around all the elevations. The three ground-floor bays are separated by banded pilaster strips with vermiculated rustication. The strips are topped by console-supported panelled pedestals and then continue as quoin strips on the upper floors. The centre bay forms the main entrance bay and has a full-width round-arched opening that breaks through into the lower half of the first floor and has a figurative head keystone of a Greek god wearing a dragon/serpent-like headdress (possibly Heracles or Apollo). The opening has a massive fanlight set upon a console-supported dentil cornice incorporating two seated lion sculptures, and the original partly-glazed panelled doors are set within a partly-glazed timber screen that are recessed behind a heavy decorative cast-iron folding grille incorporating roundels with a relief 'R' (presumably referencing the Ramsden family). Above the entrance opening are three glazed roundels with carved shell, draped cloth and festoon decoration above. To the second floor is an arcade of three round-arched windows separated by engaged columns and piers with simplified Corinthian capitals and a blind balustrade beneath; the two outer windows have carved console keystones, whilst the centre window has a keystone of a carved lion's head with a ring in its mouth. The two outer bays have glazed shopfronts to the ground floor with signage fascias and dividing mullions; that to the left also has a panelled stall riser. Both units also have shopfronts on the west and east elevation returns respectively. Due to a sloping ground level from west to east along Kirkgate the shopfront on the right is taller. The first and second floors are lit by two sets of paired plate-glass sash windows. Set just above the eaves cornice on the outer bays are dormer windows with elaborate ashlar frontispieces incorporating flying-buttress style side supports surmounted by rams' heads representing the Ramsden family. The dormers each have a cross window with a sculptural relief panel above; that to the left dormer depicts a fluted vase surrounded by garlands, fruit, flowers and dragon's heads, whilst that to the right depicts a fluted vase and Greek key motifs flanked by seated griffins; both are surmounted by a segmental pediment incorporating what appears to be folds of cloth arranged in a shell shape and dentil decoration. Set to the centre is a smaller and plainer dormer window with paired sash windows and a shaped pediment with a similar shell decoration and carved consoles.

East elevation: this elevation, facing a pedestrianised section of Byram Street, is of a long 9-bays and is similarly styled to the south elevation with tall ground-floor glazed shopfronts each divided by banded pilaster strips with vermiculated rustication that continue up the elevations as quoin strips. The shopfronts have blank signage fascias to the top (the units either advertise their name on the glazing or on later signage lower down), and dividing transoms. Most also have stall risers. Set to the ground floor of bay 4 is a 1935 Moderne shopfront by Sharp and Law of Bradford. The shopfront is of grey and pink/beige marble with unmoulded windows that are curved to eliminate reflection, and has a glazed door set within a recessed porch. Set below the top of the shopfront is a ribbon window with dark tinted glazing and slender vertical and horizontal muntin bars arranged in a geometric pattern. The original metal signage in stylised sans-serif relief lettering reads 'NEAVERSONS', 'pottery' and 'four'. Early-C21 signage lettering in a similar style reads 'ZEPHYR BAR AND KITCHEN' following the unit's early-C21 change of use. The two shopfronts to the far right (north end) of the elevation have been altered and clearly reveal internal mezzanines within the units. A secondary entrance lies to the centre bay, which is narrower than the flanking bays. It consists of a round-arched opening with six prominent voussoirs with vermiculated rustication and a keystone depicting the carved head of Poseidon with his trident above. The original doors have been removed and replaced by modern glazed doors inside the entrance, but full-height decorative cast-iron gates survive. A plain fanlight has a decorative cast-iron grille attached in front in the same style as the gates below. To the first floor are three small sash windows with glazed roundels above, separated by engaged columns and piers with simplified Corinthian capitals. To the second floor are three similar sash windows separated by engaged piers with the same capitals. The rest of the elevation is composed of two sets of paired sash windows on the first and second floors of each bay. The attic level has dormer windows mirroring those of the south elevation; those to the outermost bays at each end are the larger dormers with flying buttress supports, whilst those to the inner bays are the smaller dormers with shaped pediments. The dormer to the central bay is also a version of the cross-window dormer, but with the addition of a shouldered design incorporating side lights, instead of the flying buttresses. The carved relief panel immediately above the cross window depicts a fluted vase and Greek key motifs flanked by seated griffins.

North elevation: this elevation facing Church Street is of a wide 3-bays and is identically styled to the south elevation apart from the fanlight above the entrance, which has horizontal and vertical muntin bars on this elevation, and the heavy cast-iron grille in front of the panelled and partly glazed entrance doors, which is slightly plainer than that facing Kirkgate.

West elevation: this long 9-bay elevation facing Wood Street effectively forms the rear of the building and is a plainer version of the east elevation, with banded pilaster strips with vermiculated rustication and quoin strips only to the end bays. Due to the sloping ground of the site and the fact that Wood Street is slightly higher than Byram Street, the ground-floor shopfronts on this side are lower in height. Set to the centre is a blocked-up rear entrance with chamfered jambs and a later inserted doorway. To the immediate right is the rear shopfront of the former Neaversons shop. On this side the shopfront is of cream marble (now painted grey) and black bakelite with a central entrance and a ribbon window above (again with slender vertical and horizontal muntin bars). Stylised sans-serif metal lettering (also now painted grey) reads 'NEAVERSONS', 'GLASS', and 'CHINA'. The elevation's first and second-floor windows remain the same as those to the east elevation, but the attic dormer windows are plainer with segmental pediments, apart from the two end bays, which have the flying-buttress dormer windows of the other elevations.

INTERIOR: internally the building has a large glazed central atrium aligned north-south that runs the near full-length of the building, and rises through 3-storeys from the first floor up to the attic/roof level. The atrium, which is now divided into two by the insertion of a modern lift shaft* and lobby area* that are not of special interest, has plain supporting piers and is surrounded by a gallery/balcony walkway on each level with offices located off the walkway alongside the external walls; some of the offices have been opened up and walls knocked through. The upper galleries are fronted by a painted cast-iron balustrade incorporating decorative panels at intermediate intervals and a timber handrail. Modern fire prevention shutters*, which are not of special interest, have been installed at attic level that descend to cover the atrium's side openings. The atrium's glazed pitched roof has elegant mild-steel trusses springing from shaped and grooved corbels and supported by additional painted-timber latticework trusses. The original cantilevered sandstone open-well stairs at each north and south end of the building survive with their original cast-iron joist supports on the landing and half-landing levels. Both are identically styled with a decorative painted and scrolled cast-iron balustrade and a sweeping timber handrail. The Byram Street entrance lobby* has been altered and modernised and is not of special interest. A modern stair* (not of special interest) has been inserted, along with a passenger lift* (not of special interest) at the rear. Modern fire doors* set within glazed screens* (not of special interest) provide access off the stair onto each floor level. The upper-floor offices are generally plain. Many have deep skirtings and chimneybreasts survive, but fireplaces have been removed. A few original 4-panel doors survive with replaced door furniture. It is unknown whether any cornicing exists above modern suspended ceilings. The ground-floor shop units have mostly been altered and modernised, but the former Neaversons shop interior retains original display fittings and is distantly derived from Le Corbusier's Maison Citrohan. It incorporates an additional mezzanine level at the Wood Street end. The building's basement is separated into a series of individual basements serving the retail units, which are linked by a series of corridors. Most areas have been modernised and later breezeblock walls* erected, which are not of special interest, but at least two early doors survive.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.

Sources

Websites
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Crossland, William Henry (1835-1908), architect, accessed 20 January 2016 from http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/38393
University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII. 'Ceccardo Egidio Fucigna', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, accessed 20 January 2016 from http://sculpture.gla.ac.uk/view/person.php?id=msib71281463879

Legal

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

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