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India House

A Grade II* Listed Building in Margate, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3885 / 51°23'18"N

Longitude: 1.3825 / 1°22'56"E

OS Eastings: 635432

OS Northings: 170927

OS Grid: TR354709

Mapcode National: GBR WZS.VQK

Mapcode Global: VHLG6.XC7D

Plus Code: 9F3399QJ+CX

Entry Name: India House

Listing Date: 10 April 1951

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1351101

English Heritage Legacy ID: 356573

Location: Thanet, Kent, CT9

County: Kent

Electoral Ward/Division: Margate Central

Built-Up Area: Margate

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

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10-APR-1951 (West side)


House. Built c1766-7 for Captain John Gould. Architect unknown. Extended late C20.

MATERIALS: Brown brick laid in Flemish bond with areas of lime tuck pointing; red brick dressings; red rubbed and gauged brickwork; clay tile roof.

PLAN: Rectangular plan. Roof (hidden behind paparet) has complex plan suggesting that the house was an enlargement of an earlier building. It comprises a C-plan hipped roof on the front (E) east side, forming a rectangle with a similar but higher roof on the W side. Within this is a central axial roof set N-S with a chimney stack to each end. The lower (E) part of the house is one storey and the rear two storey, above a semi basement. The E, full-height part comprises the two principal rooms, one to either side of a broad central entrance hall, which leads through to a rear hall on the same axis; this has a room to either side. Stair compartment to the right (N) of the rear hall between the front and rear rooms. Two rooms to first floor. Breaches in N wall formed at basement and first-floor levels to link with No. 13 Hawley Street.

EXTERIOR: Symmetrical front (E) elevation of single-storey piano nobile above semi-basement. Three bays; central bay, set slightly forward, has fine pedimented doorcase with fluted Ionic columns, enriched frieze and panelled reveals; oeil-de-boeuf window above. Moulded-brick pediment in parapet continuing into cornice. Crenellated parapet of front elevation largely rebuilt. Windows have C19 moulded stone cills with brackets. Basement is expressed as slightly projecting plinth marked by red-brick banding. Stone perron stair leading up to the main entrance, carried on an elliptical vault, has simple wrought-iron balustrades terminating in scroll with newel post in form of turned baluster; bootscrapers. Panelled basement entrance door beneath stair has later glazing. Front boundary wall and railings are modern and not of special interest. S flank wall has moulded stuccoed plinth. Openings are C20 (post 1910). Symmetrical rear (W) elevation of three bays. A late-C20 full-width extension (not of special interest) now obscures the semi-basement, although windows are retained within small wells. Central pedimented doorcase modified as window.

Windows generally have flat gauged-brick arches and flush sash boxes; timber two-over-two sashes are C19 or later.

A stuccoed C19 garden entrance abuts the S wall with a moulded cornice on consoles; garden wall largely rebuilt and not of special interest.

INTERIOR: Interior is larger than the front suggests. Ground floor has intact plan with good survival of decorative features and fittings. Fine full-height entrance hall has tall fielded panels framed in enriched plasterwork, enriched moulded dado rails and modillion cornice. Oeil-de-boeuf window has enriched surround and panelled reveal. Front rooms have panelled shutters and window aprons. Room to left (S) has enriched fielded panels and moulded cornice; marble neo-classical chimneypiece on inner (W) wall with green marble slips and duck's nest grate is from elsewhere. Room to right (N) has modillion cornice. An elliptical arch with fluted pilasters and panelled intrados leads from the entrance hall to the rear hall, marking the transition between the one and two-storey sections. Compact close-string well stair to right (N) with slender turned balusters and column newels, ramped mahogany handrail and dado rail. Round-arched alcoves with fluted pilasters to either side of former rear entrance, now a window. Eared architraves to ground-floor doors and most windows; 6-panel doors. Marble chimneypiece to rear (N) room also probably imported. Victorian fireplaces to first-floor rooms.
Basement front rooms also have features of interest, including some plain, full-height timber panelling; flush fire surround (S room), shutters and cupboards. N room spine beam with moulded chamfers and lamb's tongue stops. Rear part much altered.

HISTORY: Margate was one of the very earliest seaside resorts, developing from the 1730s as a fashionable destination for wealthy visitors (mainly Londoners) in pursuit of salubrious seaside air and seawater bathing, but also a desirable place to live. Like other C18 seaside resorts that developed around historic settlements, early expansion at Margate took place inland rather than along the sea front, developing northwards from the historic centre. Surviving buildings from that period include India House, Cecil Square (1769), the first Georgian square built at a seaside resort (qv), and Hawley Square (c1790) (qv).
India House was built by Captain John Gould (1722-84), a tea planter who made his fortune in Calcutta, who was appointed a Commissioner for Restitution after the Siege of Calcutta in 1756. He returned to England in 1766 and settled in Margate; this is possibly the earliest recorded example of retirement to the seaside. The theory that India House was a replica of Gould's house in Calcutta is, however, unsubstantiated. Gould is buried in St Leonard's Church, Upper Deal. After his death, the house was used as a local office of the East India Company. From 1897-1927, India House was the home of Phyllis Broughton, the celebrated music hall actress and 'Gaiety Girl'. Since that time it has been used as offices.

SOURCES: John Newman and Nikolaus Pevsner, North East and East Kent, p. 386 (1983)
Country Life (December 1, 1966)
English Heritage, English Seaside Resorts (2007)
English Heritage, Margate's Seaside Heritage - p. 12 (2007)

REASON FOR DESIGNATION: India House is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* A highly unusual C18 house; possibly an early example of the genre of the eccentric seaside villa. The elements of the design are not unusual for their time; it is the ambitious way they are deployed that lends the building its unique character: a crenellated Palladian villa on a diminutive scale;
* Good external brickwork and detailing;
* Interior features, including a fine, full-height entrance hall on a scale befitting a larger town house; an elegant stair, and overall good survival of joinery and decorative features;
* Of special historic interest as a status dwelling built by Sir John Gould, a wealthy 'nabob', which marks the C18 growth of Margate as one of England's earliest seaside resorts, and a fashionable place to live and visit.

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