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Latitude: 51.2953 / 51°17'43"N
Longitude: 0.5044 / 0°30'15"E
OS Eastings: 574704
OS Northings: 158112
OS Grid: TQ747581
Mapcode National: GBR PQT.NCS
Mapcode Global: VHJM6.PPJW
Entry Name: Lock House
Listing Date: 22 September 2006
Last Amended: 12 September 2007
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1391757
English Heritage Legacy ID: 494983
Location: Maidstone, Kent, ME16
Electoral Ward/Division: Allington
Traditional County: Kent
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent
883/0/10026 CASTLE ROAD
22-SEP-06 LOCK HOUSE
(Formerly listed as:
LOCK KEEPERS COTTAGE)
Navigation Office, Medway Navigation Company, dated 1833.
MATERIALS: Irregular Kentish Ragstone, with dressed stone quoins; tiled roofs. Modern extension has red brick built single storey section and brick quoins.
PLAN: The building has two storeys, and is L shaped, a porch in the corner of the L; there are two gabled projections to the rear, one original, the other early C20. The latter is upper storey only, one side resting on a flat roofed single storey section which links both projections: on the other side the south east corner rests on a square brick column. All other roofs are pitched.
EXTERIOR: To front elevation, one arm of the L projects forwards, and shows a gable end with kneelers; a date stone painted white is placed high in the gable, above a wooden oriel window with tiled roof and five lights with four centred arched heads. Immediately below is a rectangular recessed wooden window with three lights with four centred arched heads, dressed stone lintel and downward sloping stone sill. All windows in the front and side elevations, except for the side office window, are similar.
The main entrance is through the porch set in the corner of the L. This is single storey, with crenellated top: the recessed wooden door stands within a four centred arch, with label mould over. The roof line of this arm of the L is lower than the forward projecting arm, and has a gabled dormer with a three light window set below the gable, with a similar, slightly larger window immediately below. The west gable end has two two light windows, one above the other, the smaller top window set within the gable. The blank wall of the back projecting wing can be seen set back. The east elevation has a gabled dormer with two light window similar to that in the front elevation, with two light window below, south of a projecting chimney stack which has lost its top, immediately to the north of which is the wooden office window with tiled canopy or weather hood over. The rear elevation shows the gable end of both early and later wings. The earlier, to the west, has two windows with segmental arches in gauged brick, the top one almost wholly within the gable. A flat roofed brick extension connects this with, and supports the modern, upper storey bathroom extension, which is set against the back gable of the east arm of the L, its roof lower but on the same alignment. Its fourth corner is supported on a brick column.
INTERIOR: On entering the porch to the right is single light window, to the left the door to the office, and straight ahead a four centred recessed arch enclosing a door with glazed door and sidelights. The office contains a long fitted desk with sloping top and drawers with brass inverted cup handles. There is an ornate cast iron fireplace in the south east corner, with decorative detail and the name Scotia above the grate picked out in bronze. There are three other rooms downstairs. The front room in the west wing has a modern tiled fireplace: a door in its west wall leads down two steps into a walk in cupboard, partially under the stairs. The room immediately behind the office is unplastered, and contains an arched recess in the back wall next to the door (possibly the original the back door), a plank door under a segmental arch. All other doors are four panelled with moulded architraves.
A dog-leg staircase with stick balusters and moulded hand rail rises from the small entrance hall to a narrow landing: straight ahead are the wide double four panelled doors of a cupboard which occupies the width of the landing. To the right is the original entrance to the boardroom, with moulded architrave. The door has been moved across the corridor, which has been inserted into the space of the boardroom, to the door which now gives access to the front room. The boardroom has been further subdivided into two rooms divided by fixing in place the wooden folding doors which could be used to divide the boardroom in two when necessary. The boardroom is lit to the front by the oriel window overlooking the lock, its domed roof springing from a deeply moulded cornice: it also has deep skirting boards. Immediately opposite the boardroom, on the other side of the landing, a Tudor arch leads into another corridor giving access to two further rooms, now empty and a small cupboard. Again all doors are four panelled, with moulded architraves.
HISTORY: The Lower Medway Company was founded in 1792. The Act of Parliament which established the company gave it the authority to improve the navigation of the Lower Medway by building Allington Lock, and by making a towpath: the lock was enlarged in 1881, and the current structure dates to 1939. The Lock House was built in 1833 to house the offices of the company, and to provide a director's board room. The small building on the other side of the lock seems to have served as the toll house, although the window in the office of the Lock House indicates that tolls could be paid here as well. The 1868 OS map shows both buildings, and the shed to the rear of the Lock House, although about half its current size: later maps show further extensions and accretions, including the lengthening of the out building. Of these later additions only the extended outbuilding and the bathroom extension, which seems to have been in place by 1946, survive. This latest extension was built at the time of the conversion of the building to a dwelling for the lock keeper. Behind the house is a long brick shed with a brick hearth, said to have housed bargees while they waited for the tide to turn.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The Lock House has special architectural interest for its early-C19 Tudor picturesque design, its successful use of historicist references to create an imposing building on a fairly modest scale, and as a relatively rare example of specialised canal architecture. It remains mostly intact, both inside and out, despite some additions and slight internal modifications. It also has special historic interest through its association with the history of inland navigation in England. It has group value for its relationship with the small building on the island over the lock and with the Grade II listed No 3 Lock Cottage in Sandling, just across the Medway.
Hilton, John. 1975 A History of the Medway Navigation Company
Darwin, Andrew. 1976 Canals and Rivers of Britain
Environment Agency. 2003. River Medway, a user's guide.
National Maritime Museum website. www.nmm.ac.uk
Listing NGR: TQ7470458111
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