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Rochford’s Architectural Heritage - P.3

Perhaps to try to catch something of the incredible variety that goes to make up Rochford, we could imagine driving to Rochford and, approaching it from the west, coming down Hall Road, under the railway bridge, turning right along West St./Bradley Way, over the small roundabout, past the Freight House up to your right, along to the next roundabout and turning up into South Street. Now observe some of the architectural variety and historical interest features. First along Hall Road which, in the summer, appears more as a tree lined avenue. To your right the houses with high hedges and long drives; to your left ‘quality up-front’.

            Secluded traditional…..                                                           … er, not so secluded and……….                                …somewhere in between

Under the railway bridge and turn right. Immediately on your left are the Lord Rich’s Rochford almshouses, built after his death in 1567, c.1581-1617 . Grade II listed. A picturesque row of six almshouses, each originally one room with a porch. (RDC 2007 document)

Above you and to the right is the Rochford Freight House which, it is believed, dates back to about the 1890s. It is a  restored former railway building now housing various sized meeting rooms tastefully converted to retain something of the feeling of the past.

Do not turn left - this is the bottom of West Street, not the most picturesque part of Rochford, but look around the corner here and see the not unpleasant view of the south side of the bottom of West Street, the exit from the main car park of Rochford, and the Marlborough Head. Now follow Bradley Way round to the roundabout at the bottom of South Street.

Stand on the right side looking up South Street, then move over to the other side and look up the street. What do you see?

OK, look at size, scale and materials and guess which are the oldest.

Check them out below (Descriptions courtesy of RDC 2006 document)

Again compare the scale of them with their dates.

Above right

Nos 39-41, white weatherboard  18th/19th century,  

No. 37, stock brick, gable end on to the street, presumably replacing earlier cottage,  late19th century

Nos 33-35, row of three one-and-a-half storey rendered timber-framed cottages 17th/18th-century

Nos 21-31, row of grade II listed timber-framed and rendered cottages probably of late medieval date  

No. 19, large three-storey five window bay house, stock brick façade, red brick sides,19th century,

Above Left

Nos 46-48, grade II listed one-and-a-half storey 18th-century red brick cottages

Nos 38-44, four low two-storey white painted brick cottages, probably 18th-century

Nos 32-36, row of three 19th-century houses, the right hand one probably incorporating an earlier building that belonged to the Sydenham House school

Nos 28 and 30, no. 28, Sydenham House, and no. 30, a small extension to it, were a school in the 19th century. Both red brick. Sydenham House is 18th century or earlier, no. 30 19th-century.

No. 26, 19th-century, brick ground floor with two canted projecting bays, rendered above. Formerly two houses, now one

No. 24, built as a Court House in 1859, formerly Rochford Rural District Council offices, then a Masonic Hall

Holding back on South Street for a moment, look left to the road leading to the central Back Lane Car Park - a tastefully modern area of offices leading to the main car park. Contrast the new with the old.

Back into South Street, observe again the scale & variety (left below) and the hill and gentle sweep down into the Roche valley

… but then note the large buildings imposed at different times down the road….        (Variety is the spice of life?????)  

  19 South St.  19th century……      ….22 South St.   19th century or earlier….   ….24 South St.  built in 1859 (i.e. mid 19th century)

 Obviously an ‘imposing’ century, the 1800’s….

….trampling over the smaller scale buildings of earlier centuries with their beauty…..

Beauty? Just a minute! A unity of facade finish and one roof…. but see how many different size and types of window there are and ways of dealing with the large ground floor windows. Quaint unity at a quick glance but otherwise three (?) distinct buildings.  (Numbers 21 to 31 give away something of their original size).

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