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17, Fitzroy Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.2069 / 52°12'24"N

Longitude: 0.1304 / 0°7'49"E

OS Eastings: 545670

OS Northings: 258659

OS Grid: TL456586

Mapcode National: GBR L79.PS9

Mapcode Global: VHHK3.6SSK

Entry Name: 17, Fitzroy Street

Listing Date: 21 August 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392720

English Heritage Legacy ID: 503487

Location: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB1

County: Cambridgeshire

District: Cambridge

Town: Cambridge

Electoral Ward/Division: Market

Built-Up Area: Cambridge

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Cambridge St Andrew the Less

Church of England Diocese: Ely

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Listing Text

CAMBRIDGE

667/0/10163 FITZROY STREET
21-AUG-08 17

II
Department Store of 1903, by R. Frank Atkinson, for Laurie and McConnal in an Edwardian 'Wrenaissance' style. Rebuilt at the rear in the late C20 with modern stair tower.

MATERIALS: Constructed of red brick with yellow gault brick to the sides and stone dressings. The roof is slate covered.

PLAN: The building is rectangular in plan.

EXTERIOR: The main elevation is three storeys over a basement with an attic storey. The roof is pitched with coped, parapet gables, and a hipped front section. It has a moulded, stone eaves cornice over the main street front and four evenly spaced dormers lighting the attic storey. Seven window bays wide, the central three bays break forward under a round pediment. The break forward, like the main corners, has rusticated stone quoins. Within the pediment there is a circular light in a decorative stone surround, on each side of which is the date 1903, the numerals divided between two lozenge-shaped inset stones. The main elevation is surmounted by a substantial, octagonal lantern. The lantern is wooden with round arched openings, containing a balustrade, and lead-faced beneath. At first-floor level the window openings have segmental heads, under a stone drip mould, and stone sills fronted by decorative iron balcony railings. Above, the window openings are square headed with gauged bricks and prominent stone keystones. The window frames, apparently late C20 like-for-like replacements, are tall casements. The down pipes have rainwater heads dated 1903 which are fed through openings in the eaves cornice. Attached to the facade at first floor level are two iron brackets for lamp hanging, although the lamps are now lost. At ground floor level the show windows in a grey granite surround, are modern while maintaining the bay divisions of the upper level. The modern entranceway is placed centrally.

The rear elevation is of late C20 in date, with a modern stair tower attached to the right, and is of little interest.

INTERIOR: The main features of interest internally are the main staircase and the light well, although some simple cornices survive. The light well floor openings are round-ended rectangles and the well is capped by a pitched roof light with hips. The floor is supported by square columns with moulded heads at the corners of the light well. The main stair has suffered some slight alteration, mainly as the result of the insertion of a modest lift. It is a dog leg stair with turned balusters and square newels with ball finials. The bases of the upper newels are finished with finials. On the main floors the staircase baluster rails have semi-circular recesses. Modern glazed partitions and offices on the two upper floors are of little historic interest, as is a lift shaft inserted into the stair well in the late C20.

HISTORY
The firm of Laurie and McConnal, purveyors of general ironmongery, stationery and fancy goods, took over this site around 1891. The premises were extended into adjacent shops in c1901, c1910, and again in c1915, by which time they occupied 121-129 Fitzroy Street, as the plots were at that time numbered. One of these buildings is likely to have been a separate building to the rear of 17 Fitzroy Street, standing on the opposite side of Fitzroy Lane. The two buildings were linked, probably by a footbridge. This is shown on the 1927 Ordnance Survey Map. During this expansion the original store was demolished and the present building, designed by R. Frank Atkinson, was erected in 1903. Atkinson was well known for the major London store of Warling and Gillow, on Oxford Street, one of the grandest Edwardian department stores. In c1925 Laurie and McConnal erected a new two-storey block on the west side of the1903 building.

Laurie and McConnal occupied the site until the 1980s. At this time the streetscape was altered when the Grafton Centre, a large shopping mall, was erected. Many of the historic buildings lining Fitzroy Street have been swept away to be replaced by the present modern units. Although it is suggested that the building suffered a fire, 17 Fitzroy Street survived the changes, unlike the other Laurie and McConnal premises which were lost. The line of Fitzroy Lane, on the north side of the site, was altered slightly to respect a new car park and at around this time the rear of the store was rebuilt, but this does not appear from map evidence to have reduced the footprint of the store. A photograph in the Cambridgeshire Collection shows that office partitions at the rear of the store have been lost, probably at this time, as has an additional stair and balustrade, which probably led from the centre of the ground-floor to the basement. A modern stair tower was added at the north-west corner. The building was latterly occupied by Habitat who, it is believed, created the present ground-floor shop front.

SOURCES
Morrison, K. English Shops and Shopping. 2003

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION

17 Fitzroy Street is listed for the following principal reasons:

* A good example of the provincial department stores being erected at the end of the C19 and beginning of the C20, comparable with listed examples.

* The store is by the nationally recognised architect R. Frank Atkinson

* The façade is pleasing architecturally, surmounted by a large lantern, and has survived well.

* The light well and stairs, and associated balustrades, remain intact, which is not always to be expected in commercial premises.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

17 Fitzroy Street is listed for the following principal reasons:

* A good example of the provincial department stores being erected at the end of the C19 and beginning of the C20, comparable with listed examples.

* The store is by the nationally recognised architect R. Frank Atkinson, a specialist in shop design.

* The façade is pleasing architecturally, surmounted by a large lantern, and has survived well.

* The light well and stairs, and associated balustrades, remain intact, which is not always to be expected in commercial premises, and endow the interior with special interest.

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