Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Angles and curves
This former seed warehouse, resplendent with glowing brick and gilded lettering, was built in the mid-19th century for seed merchants Alfred McMullen's and partly rebuilt in 1944 after bomb damage. Tucked away not far from the town’s Mill Bridge, it’s now I think used variously as offices and a store for Hertford Museum. Hertford Town Council also offers this part of the structure – the Mill Bridge Rooms – as a community facility for hire.
There's some lovely brickwork here – mainly yellow brick with some details including a diaper pattern and segmental arches above the windows in red brick. The way the brickwork curves to turn the corner* is striking, especially the way the curves contrast with the varied sharp angles and straight lines of the rest of the structure. This was the feature that caught my eye as I passed – that, along with the way in which the gold lettering shines in the sun.
It's not all brick, though. Typically of central Hertford, which exhibits a variety of brick, stone, stucco, weatherboarded, and timber-framed buildings, there are several different materials on display here – hammered sandstone around the doorway, slates on the roof and cladding the hoist chamber that sticks out above the doors to the right, even a bit of pebbledashing along the eaves course. It's a rich mixture that works, and is a tribute both to the flair of Victorian builders and the efforts of those who have conserved and maintained the building more recently.
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* Regular readers will know that I have a particular liking for buildings that turn tight angles with curved walls, as exemplified here and here.