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External Features

The building can only be viewed from three sides. The fourth is contained within a long gone alley (Burrows Alley), now incorporated into 63 Barton Street. It can be recognised through the street door, with a second door beyond the shop entrance. A typical detail where there was once an alley.

Looked at as a whole, the front of the building is imposing. At high level, the gutter is concealed by a deep timber eaves course which is set proud of the upper storey and supported on brackets. Below the gutter the upper floor comprises close spaced wall studs, with a mid rail, linking the second floor bressumer beam to the upper wall plate.

The first floor is also close studded but above the mid rail has a full-width range of casement windows, including a central canted oriel supported on a moulded bressumer beam with end brackets.

64-Barton-Street 1839 drawn by Rowe

George Rowe, who was a Cheltenham printmaker, made a drawing of the building in about 1839, a copy of which is on display in the Victorian room, which shows the frontage, including the door, before the alterations were made.

The ground floor is dissimilar to the upper floors; there is a marked difference between the two sides, divided by the doorway. The east side continues the timber framing and casement windows but on the west side it has been replaced by rendered masonry, and a modern steel window. This is likely to have been done when the street door to what used to be 64a was closed up.

The close-set oak railings in front of the east side are the only example of this feature remaining in the town. The purpose of the railings was probably to create some private space, stopping horses in particular getting too close to the walls. There are records in Gloucester of householders being fined for setting up railings too far out into the street; stealing public land. In 1698, Mr Richard Kinge was fined ‘..for his porch and a range of paled newly erected in the streete before his house…’

Behind the railings, the cobbles are reputed to have come from the Crescent when it was tarmaced, but there is no source for this.

The west elevation has been much altered over time. The section alongside the entrance to the Watson Hall is neatly built of Georgian bricks and lime mortar. This brickwork, without windows, undoubtedly replaced the timber framing, and is contemporary with the rest of the Watson Hall entrance area, suggesting that it was built when the entrance was formed. The George Rowe print seems to confirm this. The absence of windows probably arises from its origins as a party wall, abutting a building in what is now an open space. Repairs, using Portland cement pointing, can be seen at second floor and roof parapet level. Tie bars have been inserted, during 1980’s stabilisation, to stop the outward movement of the walls. At high level, the timber eaves course continues, concealing the gutter.

The small ground floor window is clearly a later insertion. The single story extension was built in 1958 to replace a structure of similar proportions.

Above the sloping roof of the extension, the wall is again of brick. The window is steel framed with imitation lead lights. The bricks used, and the Portland cement pointing, suggest that this wall was rebuilt at the same time as the single story extension. As part of the work carried out in 1957, two upper floors which contained small store rooms were demolished. This was in the corner above the lean-to. The first floor door position can be seen as newly-laid brickwork partly obscured by the lean-to roofline. The second floor door was in the south-facing wall, which has been completely rebuilt. The structure was supported by the corridor walls at ground floor level.

demolished walls shown red
First floor detail,demolished walls shown red.
Second Floor detail
Second Floor detail (Note also the now missing chimney serving second floor)

The door at ground floor level marks the line of the old passageway from the front door. It is now below ground level because the ground has been raised towards the rear, to match the Watson Hall site. The building previously rose in small steps, consistent with the internal steps. The whole site has been brought up to the Watson Hall floor level.

The west elevation to the rear range has the remains of timber framing with brick infill. The structural integrity of the timber has long gone, and the wall is typical of many timber framed walls which are out of the public eye. The brick has undoubtedly replaced earlier wattle and daub infill. Recent repairs have included the use of Portland cement.

The timber framing by the rear door has been hacked to provide a key for plaster, so the building is likely to have been rendered at some time in the past.

The south elevation is entirely brick, and is dominated by the remnants of what was a six-flue chimney stack. It was once an internal wall at ground and first floor levels, abutted by the scullery and, at first floor, the maid’s bedroom. The ground level has been raised, but the arch of a large fireplace can be seen. The boundary wall seems to be part of the old scullery wall. All trace of the doors alongside the chimney have disappeared in repairs and renovations.

Below, locations of doors alongside the south wall chimney breast (Red indicated demolished walls)

Ground Floor
Ground Floor
First floor
First floor
1923-OS-plan

A glimpse of the line of the long-gone Burrows Alley can be seen above the wall, from the location of the rear part of No 63, next door. This alley once extended to the open land by the river, but the plot was broken up a long time ago and very little evidence of it remains.

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