Britannia Buildings, St. George's Square, Huddersfield

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  • location: St. George's Square, bounded by John William Street, Station Street & St. Peter's Street, Huddersfield
  • status: still exists
  • category: commercial building
  • architect: William Cocking (1817-1874)

Built 1856-59(?)[1] as a warehouse for woollen manufacturer George Crosland & Sons. The architect was William Cocking[2] and the principal contractor was Abraham Graham.[3]

Historic England Listing

  • Grade II*
  • first listed 29 September 1978
  • listing entry number 1232119

ST GEORGE'S SQUARE. Britannia Buildings. 1856. Architect Sir William Tite. Ashlar sandstone. Hipped slate roof. 3 storeys. North front: Deeply moulded eaves cornice with scrolled brackets, between which are paterae or very rich festoons above each window range. Balustrade with moulded rail, vase-shaped balusters, and panelled piers with elaborate gadrooned urns. In centre parapet is segment-shaped, bears Royal Arms sculpted in high relief and above it a huge sculpture of Britannia. Acanthus decorated cornice above 1st floor. 13 ranges of sashes with glazing bars. Rusticated quoins, verniculated on ground and 1st floors. Ground floor has 6 plate glass windows with bronze mullions, installed in the 1920's with a sandstone ashlar surround in the contemporary neo-Classical manner, eclectic enough, however, to include motifs as varied as fasces combined with a Tudor rose, Egyption asps and Aztec spread eagles. 1st floor windows have cills on 4 scrolled brackets each, moulded frames, Tuscan half pilasters, full entablatures, and triangular modillioned pediments. Central window tripartite, in surround of Tuscan pilasters and entablature, breaking forward around central light, which has 1/4 columns, moulded frame, segmental head, and above this sunk panels disposed radially beneath segmental pediment, which in turn supports apron of window above it. 2nd floor windows have moulded frames, segmental heads and keystones with sunk panels between them. Panels flanking central window have elaborately carved flowers and scroll-shaped brackets. Other elevations are simplified versions of north front with 2 differences. 1. On St Peter's Street and Station Street the end bays break forward to create a pavilion composition on the corner. 2. Ground floor was not altered in 1920's and therefore gives some idea of Tite's original design for north front. At its most elaborate (John William Street side) ground floor elevation is as follows: horizontally rusticated plinth with plain ashlar recesses below each window: 7 ranges of round-headed sashes: rusticated and vermiculated quoins and voussoirs very boldly sculpted masks on each keystone (and one more on Station Street side) sculpted floral ornament in panels below each sill. Central bay breaks forward. Tuscan pilasters with alternately vermiculated courses, entablature and modillioned cornices frames 2 parts; the lower part is a doorway, filled in by a display case in the 1920's, segment-headed, with bolection moulding, keystone and modillioned cornice: upper part is a round-arched sash in concave recess, with rusticated voussors and quoins and very boldly sculpted mask on keystone. "John William Street," "St Peter's Street" and "Station Street" are inscribed in good Egyptian lettering on their respective fronts. Much fine classical detailing inside probably dates from 1920's remodelling. History: Built on the first site reserved by Sir John William Ramsden, 5th Bart, for the Town Hall. When in 1853 this scheme (designed by J P Pritchett) was blocked by the Municipal Authority, Sir John proposed a Post Office for the site. This in turn was opposed by the Government Architect, so the site became vacant.


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  1. Described as "newly-erected" in "The Leasing System" in Huddersfield Chronicle (10/Dec/1859).
  2. The architect is sometimes erroneously stated as Sir William Tite.
  3. "Rearing Supper" in Huddersfield Chronicle (17/Jul/1858).