Places - Mount House (No. 8 London Road)
Note: Proposed in 2019 for "Listed" protection against intensive development in a Conservation Area. The original proposal was reduced and permitted.
Decision Summary (Historic England)
This building has been assessed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest. The asset currently does not meet the criteria for listing. It is not listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended.
Name: Mount House and coach house. Reference Number: 1464160
Decision Date: 17-Apr-2019
Summary of Building
Early C19 house with subsequent C19 and C20 phases.
Reasons for currently not Listing the Building
Mount House, an early-C19 timber-framed building, is not listed for the following principal reason: * the loss of original fabric has undermined the building's elegibility and there is insufficient interest in surviving later fabric to warrant listing.
Mount House, 8 London Road, Lynsted, stands on the south side of the A2 road between London and Dover, part of the historic route known as Watling Street.
The building is of timber-frame construction and is believed to date from the early C19, subsequently undergoing extension and alteration in various later phases. The dates of the phases are difficult to judge based on visible fabric; map evidence gives some direction although should be treated with caution.
The original series Ordnance Survey map, which dates from between 1805 and 1819, shows a number of detached buildings to the south of London Road, between the junctions with Cellar Hill and Lynsted Lane. It is possible that one of these is Mount House, but at a 1" scale, the map is too schematic to be conclusive. The Tithe map of 1840 is more helpful, clearly marking a building matching the location and footprint of Mount House. The Tithe map shows the east flank of the building hard up against the boundary of its site, as it stands today. However, the building's fabric is unambiguous in illustrating that its eastward extent is the result of a sideways extension of the building's footprint up to the boundary, not part of the primary phase. In other words, the Tithe map indicates that by 1840 the building had already been extended at least once. It has been suggested by a previous owner of the house that this eastward extension happened in two phases. The fabric seen allows for this to be the case but is inconclusive, and the Tithe map implies that the full extent of the extension was in-situ by 1840.
At some point the back wall of the house was rebuilt in brick and a single-storey extension was added to the front of the building. Mapping evidence indicates the latter happened at around 1900 whereas the date of the former is unclear. The unusual roof arrangement over the centre of the house – a shallow mansard-like form - is possibly explained as a later alteration to create habitable rooms in the attic, a theory supported by other details, discussed below.
In the late C19 a small detached coach house and stable was added to the west of the house. The coach doors were subsequently extended out slightly, probably to accommodate the greater length of a motor vehicle.
The Tithe apportionment for Lynsted Parish identifies the house as being owned by one Esther Kemp and occupied by William Tyler in 1840. Tyler and his wife, Elizabeth, appear in the census record for 1841; Tyler is identified as a man of independent means. By the census of 1881 the house is occupied by Ann Roper, an 82 year old woman, also of independent means, two grandchildren, and two domestic servants – a groom and a cook. It is understood from a previous owner that the house was sold into the Thomas family in the early C20 and remained in that family for the rest of the century. The Thomas family ran a local joinery business.
In the 1970s the slate roof was recovered in asbestos tiles and subsequently the front and much of the west side wall was stripped back to the timber frame and re-rendered.
Early C19 house with subsequent C19 and C20 phases.
MATERIALS: the building's principal phase is timber-framed, built of light scantling on a brick plinth and finished externally in stucco, latterly much renewed in cementitious render. Later extensions are brick, as is the back wall. The roof is covered in asbestos tiles. Windows and doors are timber.
PLAN: the building faces north onto London Road. The fabric suggests that it originated as a double-pile house with a roughly square footprint, situated approximately 1.5m away from the eastern boundary of its site. At some point prior to 1840 (the date of the Tithe map), the whole of the east flank of the building was extended out in brickwork to the line of the eastern boundary, leaving a clear vertical delineation on the front elevation between the rendered timber frame and the later brickwork of the extension. The timber frame of the original east wall was replaced with brick towards the back of the plan, where the extension creates two very narrow rooms (one ground floor, one first floor), and was removed entirely towards the front of the plan, enlarging the size of the ground and first floor rooms here. In about 1900 a single-storey square bay was added to the front (north) elevation, straddling the original elevation and the brick extension.
The roof form is complex – to the front of the building there is a shallow hip to the west and a gable to the east (over the extension). To the rear are two parallel hipped roofs running perpendicular to the front range, and the east extension here has a simple monopitched roof. At the centre, between the front roof and the two parallel rear roofs, the form becomes mansard-like with a shallow pyramidal roof infilling the space between the three pitches and including a window at the back to light the attic space. There is an end stack to the east and west (heating the front rooms) and a large internal stack with back-to-back hearths heating the two rooms to the rear.
Notwithstanding the alterations to the plan made by the two extensions, the plan of what might be termed the 'original' house is sufficiently eccentric to raise the possibility that it might have been reconfigured internally at the same time, or at some point after, the eastward extension. The house is entered into a hall through an off-centre door in the north elevation. There is a principal room to either side (the dimensions of that to the east formed by both the eastward extension and the about1900 extension to the front). The hall then dog-legs to the east, and then back to a north/south orientation, with the stair in the rear half of the house, running along what was the east end. On the other side of this wall is now a long, thin, pantry-type room in the east extension, accessed through a door under the stair. To the west of the stair and hall are two interconnected rooms, which might be described from their surviving fittings as a kitchen and scullery, separated by a large stack between them with back-to-back hearths.
At first floor a hallway runs east/west from the stair landing. This gives into two rooms to the front (one partly formed of the eastward extension) and two rooms to the rear (with the internal stack between them). Until recently a steep enclosed timber stair adjacent to the internal stack gave access to the attic space; this has now been removed.
The building has a brick-lined basement with brick floor which appears to run the full width of the timber-framed building, but only beneath the front two rooms. The basement is reached by a brick stair beneath the main staircase and comprises two cells with brick floors; the smaller one at the bottom of the stair probably used for coal storage.
EXTERIOR: some aspects of the building's front elevation give it a distinctly early-C19 character; the first floor has two tri-partite multi-pane sashes positioned symmetrically in the stuccoed façade beneath the shallow-pitched roof, their position now seeming off-centre only because of the eastward extension of the facade in brick (painted to match the stucco). The door is reached up a three stone steps and is a wide six-panel door, with early-C20 leaded glass inserted into the upper panels. It has a semi-circular fanlight and is surrounded by a classical door case with open-bed pediment. The door and surround could be part of an early C19 arrangement but is curious for its position, which is not aligned with either of the first floor windows and not central to either the timber-framed elevation nor the extended elevation. To the right of the door is a canted bay window with multi-pane sashes, slightly miss-aligned with the window above, and to the left, hard up against the doorcase, is the single storey extension of about 1900 straddling the framed elevation and the brick extension. The single storey extension has a canted bay window to match the one to the right and the roof is tented in a 'Regency' style. All four windows to the front have decorative foliate cast iron rails at sill level. The elevation has an unconventional lack of symmetry which is not obviously explained just by the extensions to the east and north.
The back wall is of pale red brick construction and is presumed to be a rebuilding of an earlier timber-framed elevation. Approximately the lower third is constructed in English bond, with Flemish bond above and some small areas of later rebuilding. There is a door to either side of the elevation, one leading from the scullery and one from the back of the hall by the stair, and an irregular arrangement of windows. The stair is lit by a tall multi-light sliding-sash stair window with a semi-circular head. The two upper rooms to the rear are lit by six-over-six sliding sash windows, the ground floor kitchen by a wide eight-over-eight sliding sash window, and the scullery by a small six-pane casement which is probably a later insertion. Window sills are brick. The brickwork of the eastern extension is not contiguous with that of the main elevation, indicating a different phase of construction.
The east elevation (part of the extension) curiously appears to rest on the garden wall rather than having its own footings. Both east and west elevations are blind, bar a small inserted casement window in the west elevation; its leaded glass indicative of an early-C20 date, possibly contemporary with the glass in the front door.
INTERIOR: the building's interior survives better on the ground floor than it does on the first. Some ground floor fittings are commensurate with an early C19 date, and some are likely to date from later in the C19 or the early C20. Lath and plaster has been removed from the ceilings of the two principal rooms to the front, but elsewhere on the ground floor the plasterwork is largely intact. The principal rooms have simple white marble chimney pieces, one with a cast iron insert and grate and the other framing an arched opening with red/brown glazed tiles. The canted bay windows are nearly full-height in both rooms, with panelled soffits and surrounds. There is a picture rail in both rooms and the room to the west has moulded arched heads to the recesses to either side of the chimney breast. The back part of the hall, where the stair is located, is entered under an arch with a panelled soffit, resting on panelled pilasters. The stair is open string with slender stick balusters and a wreathed hardwood handrail. Beneath the stair is a panelled partition wall, enclosing the stair to the basement. The two rooms to the rear have some simple fitted cupboards, a dresser, a copper, a shallow free-standing sink (until recently served by a hand pump as well as later plumbed taps), and a heavy planked door with strap hinges to the garden, all commensurate with these being the service rooms of the house.
On the first floor the walls and ceilings have mostly been stripped of their lath and plaster, leaving much of the timber frame and nailed studwork exposed. In the external walls this reveals the inner face of the external re-rendering. Also exposed in certain areas is the brickwork of the back wall and the eastward extension, now stripped of plaster. The tripartite sash windows to the front have panelled aprons and surrounds, which quite possibly house shutters, now sealed up. Of the four bedrooms there are three surviving fireplaces of C19 or early C20 date. One in particular, in the eastward extension, is of early C19 character, the surround being formed of ribbed members, meeting at the corners with roundels. Until recently the attic was accessible via a steep stair adjacent to the internal stack, accessed through a door in a small lobby at the end of the hall. Photographs taken before this stair and the partitions which enclosed it were removed, show that the bottom stair was on the outside of the door, protruding out into the lobby. The width of the enclosure was also slightly greater than the width of the stack and partitioning was irregularly panelled as if imported from elsewhere. These factors point to the stair being a later insertion, possibly as part of alterations to the roof to create a habitable attic space. The attic is now inaccessible, but with the ceilings stripped of plaster, and the attic rooms similarly stripped, the ceiling and roof structure is now partially visible from the first floor. Like the walls, this framing is light and in some places quite eccentrically constructed.
The internal doors from the house have been removed and put into storage. They were not inspected (February 2019) but are believed to be a mixture of panelled and plank doors.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: to the west of the house is the late-C19 stable and coach house, part of its exterior hidden by heavy ivy growth. This building is of yellow brick construction with a rectangular footprint and a gabled roof. It is single storey with an attic space lit by a multi-pane tripartite casement window in the gable. Internally the horizontal joists carrying the attic floor are exposed. The original route of access to the attic is unclear as there is no internal stair. The rear half of the building is accessed to the east and has a sloped brick floor with two stalls, divided by a half-height timber partition. One of the stalls retains a timber manger and what is presumed to be some form of stand to take a water trough. Also present, although not in-situ, are iron posts and chains, presumed to be intended to seal the entrance to the stalls and so enclose a horse within.
The front part of the building is the coach house, which has a herringbone brick floor and one wall is lined in timber boarding. There is a single timber saddle rack and a couple of corner shelves. The original carriage doors have been removed and a pitch-roofed timber extension brought out from the door frame, with a later pair of timber doors now enclosing the space.
There is a small outhouse, or privy, to the rear of the building, along the east boundary but it is too heavily covered in ivy for its fabric to be inspected.