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The former Constitutional Club

A Grade II Listed Building in Castle, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.2813 / 54°16'52"N

Longitude: -0.4001 / 0°24'0"W

OS Eastings: 504257

OS Northings: 488475

OS Grid: TA042884

Mapcode National: GBR TLNY.51

Mapcode Global: WHGC0.TNM8

Entry Name: The former Constitutional Club

Location: Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Locality: Castle

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Listing Date: 13 January 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1442573

Summary

Former gentleman’s club affiliated with the Conservative Party, designed by Henry A Cheers, built 1888 in picturesque mixed Tudor and Baroque style.

Description

Gentlemens’ Club, 1888 by Henry A Cheers.

MATERIALS: red brick in English bond to the main elevation, extensive stone dressings, Welsh slate roofs (partially stripped at time of survey).

PLAN: central entrance flanked by effectively self-contained, ground floor retail units (not inspected internally). The main entrance opens onto an axial corridor that extends to the single storey billiard hall to the rear of the building. On the left side of the corridor are the main stair hall and a club room, to the right are two further club rooms, one formerly a bar. On the first floor there is a large hall and five further club, office or meeting rooms. The attic forms a caretaker’s flat (not inspected).

EXTERIOR: the main elevation faces NW and is described by Pevsner as being “picturesque mixed Tudor and Baroque”. It is asymmetric of nine irregular bays, two storeys and attic. The grand central entrance has an elaborate Baroque-style stone door case including a door hood in the form of an open segmental pediment supported on giant consoles, flanked by pillars. The double doorway is round arched, the keystone and tympanum having carved embellishment. Rising to either side above the door hood is a pair of seated winged beasts holding shields bearing the heraldic arms of Scarborough and the North Riding of Yorkshire. This is flanked on the ground floor by C20 inserted shop fronts, both replacing pairs of original windows. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that all of the inserted shop fronts to the ground floor are not of special architectural or historic interest. The original entrances to the ground floor retail units are also grand, although clearly secondary, with stone door cases featuring much carved embellishment. Doorways are square headed with semi-circular fanlights, one retaining stained glass, set above scrolled friezes.

The first floor is unified by projecting stonework at both sill and attic-storey heights, and by bands of stone set level with the window transoms and lintels. Upper lights of the windows are leaded, some having stained glass. To the right (NW) of the central entrance there are three regular bays of cross-mullioned windows with broken pedimented heads forming part of the projecting stone attic-storey course. Above the central entrance there are two bays of narrower windows divided by narrow pilasters, with two matching bays to the left (SE) with a blind bay beyond. The attic storey course here forms a projecting cornice with a series of carved stone panels set above. These form a frieze defined by a further stone string course above. Beyond the blind bay is the SE end bay which is in the form of a large, projecting corner-set oriel window. This is hexagonal on plan, with the side facing the corner being slightly broadened. It is supported by a giant, four stage cornice supporting a frieze of carved stone panels. The windows are cross-mullioned and continuous around five sides (the sixth side opening to the interior of the building) and are topped by a continuation of the cornice and frieze from the main elevation. Above this, the attic storey rises as a turret, with cross-mullioned windows to five sides, topped by a steeply pitched, swept roof with projecting eaves. The attic floor to the right features a large, ornate shaped gable that is centred on the two bays to the left (SE) of the central entrance. This includes a pair of cross-mullioned windows with carved stone lintels forming niches. To the right (NW) is an elaborately buttressed chimney stack which has been partly truncated.

Side and rear elevations not inspected, but believed to be utilitarian.

INTERIOR: at the time of the inspection the interior had been partially stripped of features (including ornate door cases, staircase balustrading, bar and other built-in furniture) and was suffering water ingress as the result of the removal of roofing slates for salvage. The spinal corridor and stair hall has a polychrome, geometric tiled floor. The stair hall features an inscribed foundation stone that forms the plinth for a pair of ornate polished granite / marble columns with decorative capitals, from these spring arches that support the stair landing above. The staircase has two quarter landings and is lit by three war memorial stained glass windows, but has lost its balustrading. The billiard hall to the rear of the ground floor has a partially exposed roof structure including decorative, arched braces and pendants. The roof structure of the first floor hall is even more elaborate with an exposed arch-braced hammer beam roof structure incorporating braces to the lowest purlins which form depressed arches between the hammer beams. The purlins, braces and other timber members are moulded, spandrels being infilled with carved panels and the hammer beams embellished with pendants and boses.

History

The 1884 Reform Act saw an increase in the numbers of men who could vote in parliamentary elections. This prompted the creation of a number of new politically affiliated gentlemen’s clubs across the country: the Conservative affiliated Constitutional Club in Scarborough being one example. The architectural competition for the design of the club’s building attracted 90 entrants, the winning architect being Henry A Cheers (1853-1914). The foundation stone was laid on 20th January 1888 by the Earl of Feversham and the club was opened on 20 December 1888 by the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury. Plans of the building indicate that the layout has been little altered, including the provision of a pair of effectively self-contained units flanking the ground floor entrance. In the early 1960s the club became the Scarborough Conservative Club, allowing the admittance of women for the first time. The club closed in 2012. In 2016 interior features and roofing slates were stripped in preparation for demolition and redevelopment.

HA Cheers (1853-1914), who lived in Twickenham from 1884, was an accomplished architect who specialised in public buildings, generally creating flamboyant designs drawing on Tudor, Jacobean and Baroque styles. His work included very grand town halls in both Hereford (1904) and East Ham (1901-3), both listed Grade II*, along with more modest examples at Oswestry (1893) and West Hartlepool (1897) and libraries at Hull (1894) and Teddington (1906), all being listed Grade II. The former Constitutional Club pre-dates all of these buildings and exhibits a wide range of features and design elements that were reused by Cheers for his later creations.

Reasons for Listing

The former Scarborough Constitutional Club is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architecture: for its playfully flamboyant street frontage;
* Association: as a good, early example of the work of HA Cheers, pre-figuring his later work of which at least seven buildings are also listed;
* Interior: particularly for the ornate roof structure of the hall on the first floor.

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