Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Pershore, Worcestershire

Good honest building

Pershore – a town dominated by the abbey in the Middle Ages, by trades such as wool-dealing and glove-making on either side of the dissolution, and by market gardening after that – must have been both prosperous and fashionable in the Georgian period. Some of the 18th-century houses in the town centre are outstanding. Back then, even if you were clattering through the streets as the London coach gathered speed (Pershore was the first stopping place out of Worcester) you very probably noticed the array of solid brick walls and smart sash windows. The sharp-eyed traveller might even haver made out finer details such as the showy fanlights and carved keystones.

My photograph shows one of my favourites, right in the centre of the town. Number 3 Bridge Street is a whopper: seven bays wide and all the windows bar one of the same size – no one was bothering here about making the windows on the first floor larger, to signal the comfortable main rooms that would have been on this floor, the Italian piano nobile. Plain ‘six over six’ sashes were good enough for the owner of this house. But when it came to the doorway they allowed themselves a bit of ‘look at me’ swagger: a broad door topped by a huge fanlight with glazing bars patterned in interlocking circles and circles within circles, a design that leaves the beholder wide-eyed with amazement. This was a window both highly practical (it made for a light hallway inside) and decorative. In addition, I was interested to note, just visible through the glazing on the upper floor, evidence of inner windows with ogee-arched lights, suggesting a form of double glazing that looks very well made. In fact the whole house – big but unpretentious – looks well made, what I’d describe, borrowing an old phrase, as ‘good honest building’.


akfurness said...

That side door is a bit of a treasure too! The details have been carefully picked out in black - Google Street View has it all one colour, but you can just see the pattern there.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Yes. There's work going on at the moment and the paint job is probably very recent.

Hels said...

The solid brick walls and smart sash windows are quite harsh, especially since the building is flush against the footpath. Could they have added street gardens in troughs, as they did on the ground floor but at higher levels?