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Eagle House (formerly the Eagle Star Building)

A Grade II Listed Building in Shrewsbury, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.7081 / 52°42'29"N

Longitude: -2.7572 / 2°45'26"W

OS Eastings: 348935

OS Northings: 312540

OS Grid: SJ489125

Mapcode National: GBR BJ.2FVQ

Mapcode Global: WH8BT.M677

Entry Name: Eagle House (formerly the Eagle Star Building)

Listing Date: 19 September 1972

Last Amended: 2 July 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1271350

English Heritage Legacy ID: 455199

Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Shrewsbury

Built-Up Area: Shrewsbury

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Shrewsbury St Chad

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Shrewsbury

Summary


Former insurance company office, now estate agents, built in 1940 for the Eagle Star Insurance Company; architect unknown.

Description

Former insurance company office, now estate agents, dated 1940 and built for the Eagle Star Insurance Company; architect unknown.

MATERIALS: the building is clad in mock timber-framing, probably to a brick skin, with a plain tiled roof.

PLAN: it stands within a row of buildings on the north-east side of Barker Street and is of a single-widow range of three storeys.

EXTERIOR: the building has a gabled principal elevation in a neo-Tudor style. To the ground floor there is a timber shop front framed by fluted pilasters rising to curved console brackets supporting a deep frieze. Outer doorways with Tudor-arches and oak-panelled doors flank a three-light mullioned and transomed window. The window is comprised of a wide, Tudor-arched, centre light and narrow, four-centered, flanking lights. All the arches are stilted with the transom lights containing small-paned glazing, incorporating bullion glass. The spandrels to both the door and the window surrounds are carved with a vine scroll decoration. The upper storeys are jettied with moulded bressumer beams; that to the second floor with large brackets. On the first floor there are two curved wind braces and a canted oriel window of 1:4:1-mullioned lights. To the second floor there is a mullioned window of four lights, over which is a tie beam with the date '1940' carved in relief in Gothic script. The windows on the upper storeys are set over lozenge-shaped decorative panels and contain small-paned glazing, incorporating bullion glass. To the gable there are lozenge-shaped decorative panels and ornate barge boards carved with a vine scroll decoration. It is capped with an eagle finial.

INTERIOR: the ground-floor office space, which is accessed from the left-hand doorway through a vestibule with a late-C20, glazed door, has a late-C20 tiled floor and suspended ceiling. At the rear is a small annex which is subdivided from the main office space by a timber-framed doorway with sidelights and a fanlight with small-paned glazing and spiral-shaped window catches. A doorway in the north wall leads into the vestibule of the right-hand doorway to which there is a further door to the staircase. Both doors have plank and batten outer faces with vertical fillets, ledged and braced inner faces, strap hinges, studs and a glazed panel. The layout of the two upper storeys is identical with a room spanning the full width of the building at the front and a smaller room at the rear. Situated at the rear, off the half-landings, are toilets and storage cupboards. The rear office on the first floor retains a Tudor-arched fireplace with a moulded surround, carved spandrels and a raised keystone. Flanking the fireplace are built-in storage cupboards. The cupboard on the left-hand side has glass doors with small-paned glazing whilst the cupboard on the right-hand side has wooden panelled doors with carved relief work. Both have a dentilled cornice, carved strapwork and butterfly hinges. The remaining office rooms are more sparsely furnished, but all retain their original skirting boards, door and window joinery, and spiral-shaped window catches. Half-glazed doors with brass door handles provide access to each office. The staircase to the upper storeys is open-string with panelled newel posts with moulded caps, stick balusters and a moulded handrail.

History

Eagle House, formerly the Eagle Star Building, is dated 1940 and was built for the Eagle Star Insurance Company; the architect is unknown to date. Occupying a prominent site in the centre of Shrewsbury, the building was given a neo-Tudor appearance. The adoption of this idiom for buildings in historic centres has its origins in the large-scale rebuilding of commercial, medieval properties in Chester in the mid to late Victorian period. From the 1900s, it was utilised on a large-scale by Boots the Chemists and from the 1920s by WH Smith and Sons Ltd. In the 1940s, with the design and construction of buildings being severely inhibited by cost controls and restrictions on materials, the application of mock-timber framing to a brick skin was seen as a quick and effective solution for the design of new buildings in historic towns. The office is now (2013) occupied by the estate agents Miller Evans.

Reasons for Listing

Eagle House, formerly the Eagle Star Building, dated 1940 and built for the Eagle Star Insurance Company, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: its design competently embodies the aspirations of the Arts and Crafts movement despite the imposition of strict building restrictions at the time of construction;

* Architectural quality: it shows considerable care in its attention to small details, emphasising craft techniques such as carpentry, carving, sculpture and leadwork;

* Intactness: the principal elevation remains unaltered and internally, although there has been some alteration, the principal office spaces remain generally as designed;

* Group value: it makes a significant contribution to the character of the Shrewsbury Conservation Area and has a strong aesthetic relationship with numbers 2 and 3 Barker Street, both listed Grade II.

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