History in Structure

1 and 3 High Street, including studio range to the rear of number 3

A Grade II Listed Building in Sandgate, Kent

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Latitude: 51.074 / 51°4'26"N

Longitude: 1.1494 / 1°8'57"E

OS Eastings: 620719

OS Northings: 135237

OS Grid: TR207352

Mapcode National: GBR V0P.PD4

Mapcode Global: FRA F698.TWS

Plus Code: 9F3334FX+HQ

Entry Name: 1 and 3 High Street, including studio range to the rear of number 3

Listing Date: 21 June 2023

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1476000

ID on this website: 101476000

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Sandgate

Built-Up Area: Folkestone

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


A former photographic studio and shop with an adjacent former house, which now has a ground-floor shop with flats above, both dating from the late C19.


1 Sandgate High Street is a ground floor shop with residential accommodation above. Number 3 comprises a former photographic studio and shop. Both buildings were constructed between 1873 and 1891, probably in the late 1880s.

MATERIALS: both buildings are of brick construction with cement render, with glazed and timber shopfronts with stucco ornamentation. The principal roofs are covered with natural slate and number 3 has a partly glazed roof to the first floor.

PLAN: number 1 occupies a deep plot extending south from Sandgate High Street. The building is rectangular on plan with extensions to the rear. Number 3 occupies an adjacent plot of the same depth but slightly wider. The principal building is rectangular on plan, with an irregularly shaped yard to the rear and beyond that a single-storey annex, apparently an original structure that appears on the 1898 OS map. A narrow passage along the west flank of the principal building provides access to the rear yard and annex, and the first and second floors of the principal building extend over the passage.

EXTERIOR: number 1 has three storeys. On the street elevation, the ground floor has a plate-glass shopfront with a central door in a recessed, canted lobby, with moulded stall risers. To the east side is a rusticated and vermiculated pilaster rising to a moulded cornice that spans the width of the shopfront. A separate, adjacent door, probably a later addition, provides direct access to the accommodation on the upper floors. The first floor has a canted bay window and a narrow staircase window to one side, both windows linked by string courses continuing from the sills and drip moulds. The staircase window on this level is a modern uPVC replacement. The second floor has a pair of sash windows within a moulded surround with a heavy cornice, and another staircase window to one side. Above this the roof gable is carried on moulded consoles. The fenestration to the rear and west side elevations largely consists of modern uPVC windows.

Number 3 has two and a half storeys. The ground-floor has an Italianate shopfront with plate glass windows on moulded stall risers and a canted, recessed entrance lobby. Wide window arches with enriched spandrels spring from the slim glazing bars and carry a moulded entablature that spans the width of the ground floor. To the west side is a Palladian style arch with a metal gate leading to a passageway that provides pedestrian access to the rear yard. The arch and the shopfront are flanked by rusticated and vermiculated pilasters. The first floor is fully glazed and would have originally housed the photography studio. It has eight bays of continuous four-pane windows set within moulded arcading similar in appearance to the ground-floor shopfront. Above this is a mono-pitch, partly glazed roof. The first floor is flanked by moulded pilasters each bearing a carved head, and with urn finials projecting above the eaves of the glazed roof. Above this is an attic storey set back from the glazed first floor, which has three small windows and a moulded entablature topped with more urn finials. The second-floor west elevation of the party wall with number 1 facing over the glazed roof bears a moulded sign with the following inscription: W H JACOB PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST.

INTERIOR: number 1 has retail space on the ground floor with residential accommodation on the upper floors. The ground floor has three principal rooms arranged linearly plus a former bathroom in the rear closet wing. The middle room has a fireplace with a moulded surround. The fireplace in the back room is brick and has been rebuilt, but the timber bressummer may be original.

Number 3 also has ground-floor retail space with accommodation above. The ground-floor shop is essentially one room with a central staircase and a WC tucked behind it. The staircase has turned balusters of timber and is flanked by a pair of vertical posts of unworked timber*, which were installed post-1980s. The first floor and attic level have been converted into a residential unit. The first-floor glazed studio retains original decoration to the rear and side walls: moulded panelling, entablature and pilasters with crocket capitals. These features were presumably intended to create an attractive backdrop for portrait photography. The ironwork supports for the glazed roof also survive, although the glass and timber elements have mostly been replaced during the post-1980s conversion. The street-facing windows have replacement glass in the original timber frames with brass latches, but the internal shutters* are modern replacements. The original darkroom on this level has been converted into a bathroom while the waiting room, which retains its original glazed door, is now a study. There appears to have once been a second doorway linking this room and the studio, which has been blocked up with a bookcase* built into the moulded doorframe. The converted attic storey is accessed by a post-1980s spiral staircase*, which replaced the original ladder.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: there is an original single-storey studio range to the rear of number 3, from which it is separated by a small yard. This range has been altered to convert into a habitable space: large, semi-circular windows have been inserted into the north elevation and modern rooflights have been installed, along with a circular window to the west elevation. The panelled, timber door is thought to have been salvaged from elsewhere.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest, however any works which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require LBC and this is a matter for the LPA to determine.


Sandgate owes its location to its castle, one of many coastal fortifications erected during the reign of Henry VIII. The village began to evolve rapidly from the late C18 with the start of shipbuilding and the fortification of Shorncliffe Redoubt in the Napoleonic era. From the early C19 Sandgate began to flourish as a seaside resort, with the High Street becoming well developed by the mid-C19.

Following the work of Louis Daguerre and Henry Fox Talbot in the 1830s, which enabled an image to be fixed on paper and printed from a negative image, commercial photography developed rapidly. The wet collodion process was developed in the 1850s, followed by the dry plate technique in the late 1870s, which both accelerated the photographic process and reduced costs. Commercial photographers saw an opportunity in the growing seaside resorts and spas, where holiday-makers with disposable income sought out new diversions, including the rapidly growing business of souvenir portrait photography. In about 1887 photographer William Henry Jacob Junior (1868-1928) set up a photographic studio and shop at 3 Sandgate High Street, which is thought to have continued operating until 1918.

1 and 3 Sandgate High Street do not appear on the 1873 Ordnance Survey (OS) map; both appear for the first time on the 1898 OS map. An auction sale advertisement for the pair of properties in the 12 April 1893 edition of the Folkestone Express describes number 1 as a leasehold residence and number 3 as a leasehold business premises. Number 1 originally had bay windows to both the ground and first floors but at some point the ground floor was converted into a shop with a canted, glazed shopfront. The 1893 advertisement describes the ground floor as comprising an entrance hall, dining room, breakfast room, kitchen, scullery, store cupboard, wine and coal cellars and w c, with a yard in the rear. The first floor had a drawing room, two bedrooms and a bathroom, while the second floor contained a further four bedrooms. Number 3 appears to have been purpose-built as a photographic studio and shop. The 1893 advertisement mentions the ground-floor shop, photographic studio and dark room on the first floor, with store rooms on the second floor, plus a yard and store to the rear. Kelly’s trade directories confirm that Jacob was operating his business from 3 High Street in 1891 through to at least 1913. A 1903 trade directory lists 1 High Street as being occupied by Francesco Pesenti, a confectioner, but he is no longer listed in the 1913 edition.

In 1989, permission was given for the conversion of the existing maisonette at number 1 to be converted into two one-bedroom flats. Various alterations were carried out to implement this: two unworked tree trunks were erected in the ground-floor shop to act as supports for a bathtub in the flat above, dormer windows and timber boarding were inserted into the rear of the attic storey to convert it into a habitable room with access provided by a spiral staircase, and the glazing and parts of the timber supports of the first-floor roof were replaced. Number 1 is of lesser interest overall but is included in the listing mainly for the original signage on its party wall with number 3 and the termination of the party wall facing the street and its eastern flank which form part of the frontage to number 3.

W H Jacob was born in Folkestone and began working as a photographer and seller of photographic material in the late 1880s. He specialised in portrait photography but also took street photographs for local newspapers and nearby Shorncliffe Army Camp. By 1900 he had opened a second studio in nearby Hythe (at 25 Chapel Street). He later became Captain of the Sandgate Fire Brigade, Chairman of Sandgate Council, and in 1920 he became a Freemason.

Reasons for Listing

1 and 3 Sandgate High Street, probably constructed in the late 1880s, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons.

Historic interest:

* as a relatively well-preserved example of a photographic studio and shop, a once common but increasingly rare building type in seaside towns from the mid-C19 to early C20;
* for the good level of survival of the original plan form of this purpose-built photographic studio, which illustrates how the original business functioned.

Architectural interest:

* for the quality and good survival of the Italianate shopfront, glazed first-floor studio and original signage, which clearly express the original function of this photographic studio;
* for the attractive detailing to the front elevation including the decorative faces that relate to the portrait photography produced in the building;
* for the quality and survival of the moulded panels, cornice and pilasters in the first-floor studio.

External Links

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