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Pages 434-447A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 8, the City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick.Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.
The line of small dwellings at each side of the road to Stratford terminated at the site of St. 1) until the 20th century, and many of the houses still remain to make this the most picturesque approach to the town along tree-lined pavements.
The steep incline towards the West Gate gives some idea of Warwick's defensive strength.
The suburb in 1830 was described as 'wide and airy' and consisted of 'low houses inhabited by the working classes of the community'. 2) The hearth tax returns of two centuries earlier confirm the impression of small houses: the average for the district was under two hearths in each house, and 55 were not liable to taxation at all. 3) Architectural evidence, too, indicates the subdivision of larger houses, often into very small dwellings. 4) Until the beginning of the 19th century the suburb retained its medieval proportions.
The extension of the castle grounds deprived the inhabitants of their access to the river from Sanders Row to High Ladsome in 1744, and to Low Ladsome in 1777, though an alternative washing place and cistern was provided. 5) Properties on the south side of the street were thus sandwiched between the road and the castle gardens, though further from the town long narrow gardens extended from some houses to the castle park. 6) To the north, the area between West Street and Friar Street was first developed in the early 19th century.
The names of the new streets recalled not only the former friary - Friar Court, Monk Street and Chapel Court - but also contemporary Warwick industrialists whose workers were housed there. Expansion took place after the Second World War and by 1955 the Forbes Estate was developed by the corporation to the line of the Gog Brook. 11) Subsequently the Aylesford High School has been built across the boundary.
Crompton Street was first rated in 1825, Monk Street and Woodhouse Street in 1827. 7) By 1851 this development had reached the line of Lower Friars, completely absorbing the land between West Street and the Lammas lands. Development in the 1960s took place to the south of West Street behind existing houses against the castle park.
Closely-packed houses were freely interspersed with inns and skittle alleys, but the only industry was the tannery of Samuel Burbury. 8) Further development took place in Hampton Road in the early years of the 20th century and a cricket field was established by 1904. Brick fronts and plaster rendering conceal many timber-framed buildings in West Street, which include two medieval houses and several examples from the early 17th century. 105 ('Tinker's Hatch') is a small medieval wealden house with, originally, a single-storied hall and a two-storied, jettied bay at its south end.
In addition there may have been a corresponding storied bay to the north.
The hall, with a floor now inserted, has smokeblackened timbers from the open hearth. 67-71 originally formed one substantial house comprising two gabled cross-wings with a hall range between them. 87-91 and 81-85, both houses of similar type, and examples of the later subdivision of dwellings in the street.
The roof has trusses of queen-strut type, and the central truss over the hall appears to have had arch braces to a cambered collar-beam. The wings, of two bays, are jettied out on broad joists and have closeset studs at their street fronts. 73-79 is a long range now confused by the insertion of partition walls, but possibly comprising two-storied dwellings on a three-roomed plan. 18 was probably part of a three-storied range, the top floor projecting on exposed joists. 96-98 was originally a low-walled timber-framed structure of similar date, but was subsequently heightened to a full two stories with attics late in the same century, and probably plastered in the 18th century when it was divided into two cottages. 21-23, formerly the Malt Shovel Inn, suggests that the building may have originated . The former represents a two-storied house of two bays with square panelling to the upper floor and close studding to the ground floor.
These are probably of the late 15th century, and the hall may be contemporary with a later chimney. A central passage led into a heated hall with the chimney in the north wall and an unheated room to the south.
Later additions at the rear of the wings and interior details suggest that the house had been divided by the 18th century, 'Park Cottage', at the west end of the street, but not aligned with it, is a 'T'-planned building comprising a jettied cross-wing of the early 16th century, and a hall range which may be a little later. A former making at the rear of the wing has been rebuilt to provide extra accommodation. The small stair wing which overlaps the central passage at the back of the house has a stair with shaped balusters and newel posts. 81-85 was probably no more than a straight ladder flight from the hall alongside the chimney.