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Lowlands (West Derby Community Association) and attached boundary walls and gate piers

A Grade II Listed Building in West Derby, Liverpool

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Latitude: 53.4329 / 53°25'58"N

Longitude: -2.9145 / 2°54'52"W

OS Eastings: 339340

OS Northings: 393292

OS Grid: SJ393932

Mapcode National: GBR 7MC.JD

Mapcode Global: WH872.6ZD4

Plus Code: 9C5VC3MP+56

Entry Name: Lowlands (West Derby Community Association) and attached boundary walls and gate piers

Listing Date: 14 March 1975

Last Amended: 29 April 2004

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1207450

English Heritage Legacy ID: 214254

Location: West Derby, Liverpool, L12

County: Liverpool

Electoral Ward/Division: West Derby

Built-Up Area: Liverpool

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: West Derby St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

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Lowlands (West Derby Community Association) and attached boundary walls and gate piers

(Formerly listed as: HAYMANS GREEN Lowlands (West Derby Community Association))

Villa, now community centre, with attached gatepiers and boundary walls. Mid C19, with late C19 and mid-C20 alterations. Stuccoed brickwork with painted dressings and ornamentation, chimney stacks with blind arcaded bases and hipped roofs with graduated slate coverings.

PLAN: irregular rectangular plan, with symmetrical front, and long asymmetrical garden elevation.

EXTERIOR: two storeys and attics above a basement, three bays, with advanced central bay. Basement has channelled rustication. Sill courses, string course under first floor sill band and panelled frieze. Top frieze with Vitruvian scroll and deep modillioned cornice, some antefixae. Windows have eared architraves, those to ground floor are wider. Window openings with casement frames. Central first floor window has paired round-headed lights with panelled angle pilasters and archivolts with keys. Lunette dormer above. Entrance loggia has three round-headed openings. Groin vaults, paired half-glazed doors with panels over and clear fan, flanking arches have balustrades; balconies of C20 concrete blocks to side windows. Garden elevation similarly detailed, and with tall advanced gable to south-west end. The garden is enclosed by a tall brick wall with flat stone coping, ramped at the approach to the street frontage. The wall, varying in height between 1.5 and 2.5 metres incorporates a pair of rusticated gate piers with ball finials in a link wall which separates the walled garden from the entrance drive. The wall is linked to the stone street frontage wall, into which is set the main entrance gateway to the right. This has tall square-section stone gate piers with moulded caps, from which extend quadrant wall of rock-faced sandstone with lower terminal piers. From the left hand side, a masonry wall of regularly coursed squared sandstone extends the full length of the street frontage, interrupted by a secondary opening at its centre. Late C20 railings.

INTERIOR: the original plan form is little-disturbed, with an entrance vestibule with barrel-vaulted ceiling giving access to the main stair hall. This is dominated by an elaborate double return stair with moulded and ramped handrails with scrolled terminals, panelled newel posts with inset panels and pyramidal caps and barleysugar pattern balusters. Balustraded gallery to first floor, with secondary access stair to cantilevered upper gallery supported on deep decorated brackets. Above, elaborately decorated lantern with clerestorey arcading, set upon coved base with decorative plaster panelling. The enrichment of the stair well extends to the soffits of the cantilevered galleries, the doorways, with ornate panelled doors, moulded architraves and crested lintels. The principal reception rooms retain much decorative plasterwork, including cornices and wall panelling, original hearths and panelled window reveals with shutters.

HISTORY: the building was formerly the home of Thomas Randles Withers, chairman of the Liverpool Stock Exchange in the late C19. It became the headquarters of the West Derby Community Association in 1957. Part of the attic floor was converted for use as a coffee bar and became a meeting place for some of the rock bands who helped create the 'Mersey Sound' of the early 60s. It retains its 1960s decorative finishes and fixtures.

The building is of special architectural interest as a substantial and well-preserved example of the type of mid-C19 villa built for Liverpool's mercantile elite, little- altered internally, and retaining much high-quality interior detail including an opulent stair and stair well. The building and its gardens are enclosed by a substantial boundary wall which incorporates gate piers and good quality masonry. The survival of such a well-preserved ensemble is increasingly rare.

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