History in Structure

North Road House

A Grade II* Listed Building in Hertford, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7966 / 51°47'47"N

Longitude: -0.0846 / 0°5'4"W

OS Eastings: 532179

OS Northings: 212613

OS Grid: TL321126

Mapcode National: GBR KBQ.9DS

Mapcode Global: VHGPN.H33L

Plus Code: 9C3XQWW8+J4

Entry Name: North Road House

Listing Date: 10 February 1950

Last Amended: 9 September 1996

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1268839

English Heritage Legacy ID: 461386

ID on this website: 101268839

Location: Hertford, East Hertfordshire, SG14

County: Hertfordshire

District: East Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Hertford

Built-Up Area: Hertford

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Hertford St Andrew with St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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817-1/16/125 (North side)
10/02/50 No.2
North Road House
(Formerly Listed as:
(North side)


Villa. 1827-28, altered mid C19, and repaired 1915-16 after
bomb damage. Architect Thomas Smith, for his own residence.
Stucco (south elevation), yellow stock brick (remaining
elevations). Parapet conceals low-pitched Welsh slated hipped
roofs. Greek Revival style.
EXTERIOR: basement and 2 storeys. South elevation has 5 sash
windows with glazing bars, recessed in moulded architrave
surrounds grouped 2:1:2. Basement plain-stuccoed as plinth;
ground floor rusticated, moulded band at first-floor level,
picking up line of cornice on projecting porch. Plain stucco
first floor with moulded cornice, parapet above stepped up in
centre. Central porch, above 4 stone steps, has 2 fluted Greek
Doric columns, with responds, full entablature, with triglyph
frieze, cornice with mutules, and blocking course. 4 panel
front door. Garden (north) elevation has yellow stock
brickwork (Flemish bond) with stone band at first-floor level,
and moulded stucco cornice and parapet, which continues around
building from south elevation. First floor; 3 windows, 2 outer
sashes with glazing bars, centre 6-light mullion and transom
window, with timber casements and divided glazing all recessed
under segmental brick arches. Ground floor: 2 outer
full-length triple sashes 1:3:1-panes subdivided into large
panes by glazing bars, recessed, under segmental brick arches.
Twin glazed French windows, divided into large panes by
glazing bars in centre.
House raised above basement which is concealed by two terraces
on garden elevation. These formed an integral part of the
design. Upper terrace formed of large Penrhyn slate slabs
supported on brick offset of house wall, and in rebate on
sandstone ashlar slabs, which form outer edge of upper
terrace. Two square Penrhyn slate planting tubs, on castors,
placed on upper terrace appear to be original. Central flight
of 5 stone steps lead down to lower terrace. Planted bed at
lower level conceals service undercroft beneath upper terrace.

Lower terrace repaved in brick in 1930s, but Penrhyn slate
edging above stucco faced outer wall appears original.
Flight of 5 stone steps, flanked by two mid C19 artificial
stone urn planters, leads down to garden level. Former, east
service wing demolished by bomb in 1915, and basement only
Single storey flat-roofed mid C19 vestibule, with 1930s garden
room links to former mid C19 coach house, now altered and
converted to separate residential unit in 1980s, not of
special interest.
INTERIOR: main house arranged with central through hall on
ground floor, with principal reception rooms either side above
service basement, formerly including kitchen.
Hall divided into 5 bays, with quadripartite plaster vaulting,
with raised beads on groins and acanthus leaf rosettes. Bays
separated by elliptical arches, with raised guilloche ornament
on entrados, carried on foliated consoles with egg-and-dart
ornamented capitals. At garden end is an elliptical vault,
divided into 7 panels, each with honeysuckle ornament by
raised flat bands. Twin French casements, with two-light
fanlights, to terrace outside flanked by pilasters with
acanthus and egg-and-dart caps. Deep skirtings throughout
ground floor, with scotia mouldings. Doors with 4 fielded
Drawing Room, right rear, off hall, has elaborate cornice,
possibly mid C19, with egg-and-dart, hollow acanthus and
running garlands. Fireplace wall has twin elliptical recesses
either side of chimney breast, with guilloche ornamental
intrados and console supports, generally similar to those in
hall, but later. Egyptian style white marble fireplace, with
attached Lotus plant columns. Double doors, each with large
and small leaf. Large leafs each have 3 large panels with
grooved 'Soane' surrounds and scotia mouldings.
Dining Room has elaborate plaster cornice with acanthus
leaves, rolls and square band and hollow roll. Late C19 red
granite fireplace with bolection mouldings installed mid 1950s
reputedly from the sale preceding the demolition of Panshanger
House, outside Hertford, in 1954.
Narrow dogleg staircase with stick balusters, curtail step,
and wreathed hardwood handrails. Leaded-light obscure glazed
half-landing windows installed c1915-16 as reparation for bomb
damage. First-floor bedrooms with plain fireplaces (several
removed). Bathroom, to right of staircase head, refitted
c1936, has a recessed eau-de-nil enamelled bath, with etched
reeded-pattern Vitrolite panelling above, and an eau-de-nil
Vitrolite surround, with twin mirror-faced doors to closets
either side. Eau-de-nil ceramic splashback, and matching
vanity table.

HISTORICAL NOTE: Thomas Smith (1799-1875) practised in
Hertford from the 1820s, and was also County Surveyor for
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Among his Hertford buildings
is the County Hospital, North Road (qv). In the early C20,
North Road House (formerly Paynters) was the home of Annie
Swan, c1908-1935, social activist, who moved from Hampstead to
Hertford with her husband, a doctor. During the first quarter
of the century she was a prolific and popular author. In her
autobiography (My Life, London, 1924, Ivor Nicholson) she left
a vivid account of the bomb damage to the house in a Zeppelin
raid on 13 October 1915, in which the east wing was
demolished, the front door was blown out, and the dining room
was stripped to lath and plaster (vide Chapter 14 and 15).
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Hertfordshire:
Harmondsworth: 1977-: 193; Felstead A: Directory of British
Architects 1834-1900: London: 1993-; Swan, Annie: My Life:
London: 1924-; Colvin H: A Biographical Dictionary of British
Architects 1600-1840: London: 1978-).

Listing NGR: TL3217912612

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