Kirkgate Buildings, Kirkgate, Huddersfield

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  • also known as: Bulstrode Buildings (supposed original name)[1]
  • location: bounded by Kirkgate, Byram Street, Church Street & Wood Street, Huddersfield
  • status: still exists
  • category: commercial building
  • architect: William Henry Crossland
  • builder: Benjamin Graham
  • notes: built over the former site of Swan Yard

Historic England Listing

  • Grade II
  • first listed 29 March 2016
  • listing entry number 1415453
Commercial building with ground-floor retail units and offices to the upper floors, c1883, by W H Crossland with sculptural work by C E Fucigna. Sandstone ashlar, slate roof, substantial ashlar ridge stacks. C19 Queen Anne style with French influences and classical Greek sculpture. One of the ground-floor shop units remodelled in 1935 by Sharp and Law of Bradford with Moderne shopfronts and interior fittings.

MATERIALS: sandstone ashlar, slate roof, substantial ashlar ridge stacks.

PLAN: Kirkgate Buildings occupies an entire town-centre block bounded by Kirkgate to the south, Byram Street to the east, Wood Street to the west and Church Street to the north. The original principal entrances lie at each north and south end, with an additional entrance on the east side. To the north across Church Street is the similarly styled, but smaller Somerset Buildings, and to the west across Wood Street is Waverley Chambers (Grade II), both of which were also designed by Crossland with sculptural work by Fucigna.

EXTERIOR: the ground floor is the building's tallest level with the floor levels diminishing in height above.

South elevation: this elevation facing Kirkgate is of a wide 3-bays with paired stringcourses that divide the floor levels and continue around the entire building. At the top of the elevation is an eaves cornice that also continues around all the elevations. The three ground-floor bays are separated by banded pilaster strips with vermiculated rustication. The strips are topped by console-supported panelled pedestals and then continue as quoin strips on the upper floors. The centre bay forms the main entrance bay and has a full-width round-arched opening that breaks through into the lower half of the first floor and has a figurative head keystone of a Greek god wearing a dragon/serpent-like headdress (possibly Heracles or Apollo). The opening has a massive fanlight set upon a console-supported dentil cornice incorporating two seated lion sculptures, and the original partly-glazed panelled doors are set within a partly-glazed timber screen that are recessed behind a heavy decorative cast-iron folding grille incorporating roundels with a relief 'R' (presumably referencing the Ramsden family). Above the entrance opening are three glazed roundels with carved shell, draped cloth and festoon decoration above. To the second floor is an arcade of three round-arched windows separated by engaged columns and piers with simplified Corinthian capitals and a blind balustrade beneath; the two outer windows have carved console keystones, whilst the centre window has a keystone of a carved lion's head with a ring in its mouth. The two outer bays have glazed shopfronts to the ground floor with signage fascias and dividing mullions; that to the left also has a panelled stall riser. Both units also have shopfronts on the west and east elevation returns respectively. Due to a sloping ground level from west to east along Kirkgate the shopfront on the right is taller. The first and second floors are lit by two sets of paired plate-glass sash windows. Set just above the eaves cornice on the outer bays are dormer windows with elaborate ashlar frontispieces incorporating flying-buttress style side supports surmounted by rams' heads representing the Ramsden family. The dormers each have a cross window with a sculptural relief panel above; that to the left dormer depicts a fluted vase surrounded by garlands, fruit, flowers and dragon's heads, whilst that to the right depicts a fluted vase and Greek key motifs flanked by seated griffins; both are surmounted by a segmental pediment incorporating what appears to be folds of cloth arranged in a shell shape and dentil decoration. Set to the centre is a smaller and plainer dormer window with paired sash windows and a shaped pediment with a similar shell decoration and carved consoles.

East elevation: this elevation, facing a pedestrianised section of Byram Street, is of a long 9-bays and is similarly styled to the south elevation with tall ground-floor glazed shopfronts each divided by banded pilaster strips with vermiculated rustication that continue up the elevations as quoin strips. The shopfronts have blank signage fascias to the top (the units either advertise their name on the glazing or on later signage lower down), and dividing transoms. Most also have stall risers. Set to the ground floor of bay 4 is a 1935 Moderne shopfront by Sharp and Law of Bradford. The shopfront is of grey and pink/beige marble with unmoulded windows that are curved to eliminate reflection, and has a glazed door set within a recessed porch. Set below the top of the shopfront is a ribbon window with dark tinted glazing and slender vertical and horizontal muntin bars arranged in a geometric pattern. The original metal signage in stylised sans-serif relief lettering reads 'NEAVERSONS', 'pottery' and 'four'. Early-C21 signage lettering in a similar style reads 'ZEPHYR BAR AND KITCHEN' following the unit's early-C21 change of use. The two shopfronts to the far right (north end) of the elevation have been altered and clearly reveal internal mezzanines within the units. A secondary entrance lies to the centre bay, which is narrower than the flanking bays. It consists of a round-arched opening with six prominent voussoirs with vermiculated rustication and a keystone depicting the carved head of Poseidon with his trident above. The original doors have been removed and replaced by modern glazed doors inside the entrance, but full-height decorative cast-iron gates survive. A plain fanlight has a decorative cast-iron grille attached in front in the same style as the gates below. To the first floor are three small sash windows with glazed roundels above, separated by engaged columns and piers with simplified Corinthian capitals. To the second floor are three similar sash windows separated by engaged piers with the same capitals. The rest of the elevation is composed of two sets of paired sash windows on the first and second floors of each bay. The attic level has dormer windows mirroring those of the south elevation; those to the outermost bays at each end are the larger dormers with flying buttress supports, whilst those to the inner bays are the smaller dormers with shaped pediments. The dormer to the central bay is also a version of the cross-window dormer, but with the addition of a shouldered design incorporating side lights, instead of the flying buttresses. The carved relief panel immediately above the cross window depicts a fluted vase and Greek key motifs flanked by seated griffins.

North elevation: this elevation facing Church Street is of a wide 3-bays and is identically styled to the south elevation apart from the fanlight above the entrance, which has horizontal and vertical muntin bars on this elevation, and the heavy cast-iron grille in front of the panelled and partly glazed entrance doors, which is slightly plainer than that facing Kirkgate.

West elevation: this long 9-bay elevation facing Wood Street effectively forms the rear of the building and is a plainer version of the east elevation, with banded pilaster strips with vermiculated rustication and quoin strips only to the end bays. Due to the sloping ground of the site and the fact that Wood Street is slightly higher than Byram Street, the ground-floor shopfronts on this side are lower in height. Set to the centre is a blocked-up rear entrance with chamfered jambs and a later inserted doorway. To the immediate right is the rear shopfront of the former Neaversons shop. On this side the shopfront is of cream marble (now painted grey) and black bakelite with a central entrance and a ribbon window above (again with slender vertical and horizontal muntin bars). Stylised sans-serif metal lettering (also now painted grey) reads 'NEAVERSONS', 'GLASS', and 'CHINA'. The elevation's first and second-floor windows remain the same as those to the east elevation, but the attic dormer windows are plainer with segmental pediments, apart from the two end bays, which have the flying-buttress dormer windows of the other elevations.

INTERIOR: internally the building has a large glazed central atrium aligned north-south that runs the near full-length of the building, and rises through 3-storeys from the first floor up to the attic/roof level. The atrium, which is now divided into two by the insertion of a modern lift shaft and lobby area that are not of special interest, has plain supporting piers and is surrounded by a gallery/balcony walkway on each level with offices located off the walkway alongside the external walls; some of the offices have been opened up and walls knocked through. The upper galleries are fronted by a painted cast-iron balustrade incorporating decorative panels at intermediate intervals and a timber handrail. Modern fire prevention shutters, which are not of special interest, have been installed at attic level that descend to cover the atrium's side openings. The atrium's glazed pitched roof has elegant mild-steel trusses springing from shaped and grooved corbels and supported by additional painted-timber latticework trusses. The original cantilevered sandstone open-well stairs at each north and south end of the building survive with their original cast-iron joist supports on the landing and half-landing levels. Both are identically styled with a decorative painted and scrolled cast-iron balustrade and a sweeping timber handrail. The Byram Street entrance lobby has been altered and modernised and is not of special interest. A modern stair (not of special interest) has been inserted, along with a passenger lift (not of special interest) at the rear. Modern fire doors set within glazed screens (not of special interest) provide access off the stair onto each floor level. The upper-floor offices are generally plain. Many have deep skirtings and chimneybreasts survive, but fireplaces have been removed. A few original 4-panel doors survive with replaced door furniture. It is unknown whether any cornicing exists above modern suspended ceilings. The ground-floor shop units have mostly been altered and modernised, but the former Neaversons shop interior retains original display fittings and is distantly derived from Le Corbusier's Maison Citrohan. It incorporates an additional mezzanine level at the Wood Street end. The building's basement is separated into a series of individual basements serving the retail units, which are linked by a series of corridors. Most areas have been modernised and later breezeblock walls erected, which are not of special interest, but at least two early doors survive.


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  1. Bulstrode Park was the Buckinghamshire residence of the Ramsden family. However, there are very instances of the name "Bulstrode Buildings" being used in the Huddersfield Chronicle. The name "Kirkgate Buildings" was in regular usage from October 1883 onwards.

Kirkgate Buildings, Kirkgate, Huddersfield


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This page was last modified on 12 October 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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