74 Dyer Street (former offices of the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard)

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1457440

Date first listed: 26-Jun-2018

Statutory Address: 74 Dyer Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PW

Map

Ordnance survey map of 74 Dyer Street (former offices of the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard)
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Location

Statutory Address: 74 Dyer Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PW

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

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cotswold (District Authority)

Parish: Cirencester

National Grid Reference: SP0263601918

Summary

A purpose-built newspaper office, designed by V A Lawson (1861-1928) and built in 1904, for the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard; the 1990s extension is excluded.

Reasons for Designation

The former offices of the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard building, an Arts and Crafts Domestic Revival newspaper office built to a design by V A Lawson in 1904, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * the building demonstrates good quality in architectural style, in an accomplished Arts and Crafts manner, by a known regional architect; it makes good use of a constrained site to add to the interest of its composition; * the building is largely unaltered since completion, except for the loss of fireplaces, which is to be expected in a commercial building.

Historic interest: * the building was a purpose-built newspaper office, and remained in use by the same publication from the time of its construction in 1904 until 2017.

Group value: * with the numerous other listed buildings along Dyer Street, including those which flank the building.

History

The Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard newspaper was established in nearby Malmesbury in Wiltshire on 28 January 1837, moving to Cirencester in 1840. The newspaper announced its own arrival in the town in a printer’s card in the newspaper in that year, by the printer Daniel Bretherton. The paper was circulated as far as London. The Standard was initially published from another address in Dyer Street, the residence of its proprietor, and later at various other addresses in Cirencester; it was printed at premises in the Market Place. A rival paper founded in 1851, the Cirencester and Swindon Gazette, reduced the Standard’s fortunes, to the extent that it bought out the longer-established paper in 1852, the amalgamated publication being named the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard and Cirencester and Swindon Gazette. In the 1850s and 1860s, the paper was published by George Jones from his home on Blackjack Street, with the printing taking place in sheds on the corner of Lewis Lane and Dyer Street. The figure most closely associated with the Standard in the C19 and early C20 was George Henry Harmer, who had joined the paper as a reporter in 1851, and by 1886, was its proprietor. In 1902, the individual ownership was converted to a private family limited company, with G H Harmer as managing director.

In 1904, the Standard’s printing and publishing arms were united on the same site for the first time, with the construction of new offices fronting Dyer Street, which, to the rear, faced the printing sheds ranged along the corner between Dyer Street and Lewis Lane. The new offices were designed in a domestic revival style, to fit a constrained, narrow site on Dyer Street between existing buildings. The rear of the offices gave into a yard facing the rear of the printing sheds which occupied much of the site. The new offices were designed by the architect Vincent Alexander Lawson, AMICE, FRIBA, FSI (1861-1928), a recognised architect who was President of the Incorporated Institute of Architects and Surveyors, and trained as an architect and engineer. VA Lawson initially worked as a civil engineer on projects in the UK and Brazil, and, after training, commenced independent practice as an architect in Cirencester in 1885, later setting up an additional office in nearby Stroud. Lawson carried out a large number of commissions locally, and was the most prolific architect of his day in the area. He designed several public and commercial buildings in Cirencester, including the Bingham Hall and Bingham Library, and some council housing; adapted a premises for WH Smith and Sons, together with designing a number of other commercial buildings, including two prominent banks; remodelled the town’s memorial hospital; and designed or adapted several small country houses in the area.

The 1904 offices and the printing sheds remained in use through the C20. In the 1980s, the print sheds were partly demolished and remodelled into offices and domestic units. In 1990, the offices range was extended by the addition of a two-storey range to the rear to provide additional office space. The 1904 range was retained almost unaltered. The Dyer Street offices remained in use as the editorial offices for the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard until late 2017.

Details

A purpose-built newspaper office, designed by V A Lawson (1861-1928) and built in 1904, for the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard; the 1990s extension is excluded.

MATERIALS Local limestone, oak dressings.

PLAN The building has an irregular plan: the original range has a relatively narrow frontage to Dyer Street, widening slightly as it extends to the rear. The late-C20 extension is roughly L-shaped, filling space at the rear of this building and the adjacent house at 76 Dyer Street.

EXTERIOR The building, which is in and Arts and Crafts domestic revival style, stands in a continuous row of buildings of various dates along Dyer Street. The Dyer Street elevation is of three storeys, a single wide bay with a steep, gabled roof. All the windows have small, multi-paned upper lights with plain glazing below. The ground floor is of limestone ashlar, with a wide, four-light, mullioned and transomed window to the left, and entrance door to the right, with a panelled timber door and plan rectangular overlight. The window and door are framed by Renaissance-style pilasters of moulded, tapering columns on moulded feet, with composite capitals of Ionic scrolls and cherub heads. The deep frieze above is inscribed WILTS AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE STANDARD / PRINTERS. Two of the windows have the painted legends WILTS AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE STANDARD and ADVERTISEMENTS. A hanging sign, on an elaborately scrolled iron bracket, is shield shaped, and painted with the paper’s name. A shallow stone string marks the floor division, above which the rest of the building is timber framed, with oak framing and painted render infill panels. The first and second floors each have a central five-light mullioned and transomed oriel window carried on moulded brackets, projecting from the wall surface. The second floor is jettied; the jetty beam has a row of Tudor roses along its length, and is carried on moulded, corbel brackets carved with cherubic heads. The eaves project further, over the second-floor oriel window, which is carried on similar brackets; above the window is a carved timber heraldic device, with scrolls, and the date 1904. The deep bargeboards are pierced, and meet at a central spinial with carved pendant. The returns and rear are built from squared limestone, with larger limestone quoins. In the rear roof slope is a wide, raking dormer with metal-framed window. The rear windows in the original range have chamfered mullioned and transomed casements. Attached to the rear of the building is a two-storey extension added in 1990, faced in limestone rubble, with an irregular, shallow-pitched roof and multi-paned, timber windows.

INTERIOR The main range has a large room on each floor to the front, with the stair and ancillary rooms to the rear. To the ground floor, the ledged and braced entrance gives into a lobby clad in pine matchboarding; the floor is tiled in polychrome mosaic, with a cipher for W&GS in a scrolled cartouche. A wide, half-glazed door with Art Nouveau influenced handles leads into the main ground-floor room, which is set out as a reception desk with mid- to late-C20 desk and fittings. This room, like the others in the main range, retains high, moulded skirting boards and picture rails. To the rear of this main room is the original stair hall. The stair is a closed-string dog-leg staircase, of turned newels and balusters, with flattened ball finials to the newels, and moulded pendants on the upper floors; the staircase rises through all three storeys. A ledged and braced door gives access to the rear yard from the hall. The rooms and corridors have their moulded architraves and door casings; the panelled doors have brass doorknobs. The large, oriel windows are slightly inset, with extended internal cills each carried on a row of moulded corbel brackets. They have decorative wrought-iron window furniture.

The interior of the 1990s extension is very plain with contemporary fixtures and finishes, with the exception of a double-doored, glazed hatch opening between two of the ground floor offices, which appears to have been relocated from the original reception area when an opening in that room’s wall was greatly enlarged to allow access directly into the room for the public.

Sources

Books and journals
Brodie, Antonia (ed.), Directory of British Architects, 1834-1914: Vol. 2 (L-Z), (2001), 24
Verey, D, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire I: The Cotswolds, (1999), 265
'Wiltshire Newspapers Past and Present' in Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, , Vol. 40, (1917), 66-74
Other
Printer’s notice for Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, in Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 17 October 1840
V A Lawson obituary, in Cheltenham Chronicle, 30 June 1928

End of official listing