Search

An Architectural Miscellany


Bingham has no really architecturally impressive buildings, but there are many interesting details that can catch the eye of the observer willing to walk slowly or just stand and stare at some of Bingham’s older buildings. Look out for old barns, extensions and alterations, different brickwork bonds and patterns, architectural decoration, boot scrapers, reminders of horses, windows, doorways, dentils, roofs, chimneys and water pumps.

This page offers a few interesting cameos to prompt you to explore - you will find others! Nothing is unique or spectacularly arresting - but there are many pleasing features to be seen as you stroll around the older parts of the town. Photographs of many of these may be seen by clicking on the appropriate blue underlines; uncredited photos are by Joan Taylor, Robin Aldworth, Geoff Ashton and Margaret Sibley.

Barns

Bingham was pre-eminently a farming community and there are many substantial remains of the buildings associated with those times. The farmhouses tend to be identified in the descriptions elsewhere on the web site. Here we draw attention to some of the more interesting barns and their modern uses.
Newgate Street has two dated barns, each associated with old farmhouses. One at number 10 (once part Gillott’s farm at no 8) has a rudimentary 1817 picked out by single vitrified headers. The door is replicated at the rear and the floor is paved with stone flags. The hinges are set in carved stone bearers. Behind the barn in the garden of number 10 is an old stable with a barred unglazed window, to allow ventilation, typical of the 18th Century or earlier . Another barn at number 20 has a similar window and an ‘1862’ dated brick within a diamond of vitrified bricks.
Bingham has several converted barns.
Number 53 Long Acre was part of the Shelford Estate timber yard and was converted for residential use by the present owners in 1973/4. The stable and barn at Holme Lodge, Long Acre East, has been recently converted to a games room, but retains some of the original exterior and interior features. Inside there is what seems to have been living accommodation for a groom. A barn in the grounds of Carnarvon Primary School once stood alone in a field at the end of the track alongside Crow Close, before the development of the estate. It has a stone dated 1878 with the builder’s or (more likely) the owner’s initials ‘JW’. Could this have been John Wall, whose family had been cottagers in Long Acre East, where the Gables stands now, for at least 60 years prior to that time?
The pig sties and barn attached to 21 Long Acre, one of Bingham’s oldest houses, were converted in 1994 to form the Buttercross Veterinary Centre, some of which is actually cunningly disguised new build! Much of the original fenestration, dove holes, bar doorways and air gaps remain. The barn attached to the Rosary in East Street is now the centre’s dining room; the blocked barn door reveals hinges set in stone bearers, similar to the barn at 10 Newgate Street. The old forge on Long Acre is now a dentists’ surgery and the barn-cum-dovecote on Warner’s Field, Long Acre is the headquarters of the Bowls Club.
Finally, in this selection, note the barn-like building now part of the DIY shop in Market Street. The hayloft door at first floor level suggests this was a stable, but the ground floor doorway seems too large and elaborate. Professional building historians note the quality brickwork which seems to belie such a mundane use as a stable. The census of 1861 records a court bailiff as probably living at the cottage next to the ‘stable’ and one might suppose that next door was his repository. As a public building it would have justified the ornate finishing touches.
[Click to return to top of page]

Extensions and alterations

You will see evidence of alterations and extensions in the brickwork of a large number of buildings as the owners modified their property for current needs, be it a growing family, the development of a business or just for more space or convenience. 3 Church Street (part of Doncaster’s ‘town shop in the country’) looks just such a case. Look over the school wall to see evidence of much older brickwork at the lower levels of the gable wall, suggesting that originally a single storey building was attached to the larger building with Victorian brickwork taking the building up to the additional upper floors. The photograph clearly shows the brickwork of the ‘new’ Victorian façade keyed in to the older courses in the side wall. At Kirkland House the join between older and newer parts can be seen in the brickwork and the roof. Note also the bricked up doorway, and vestiges of a painted shop sign although there is no remaining sign of the cross-corner doorway of the shop that preceded the building’s use as a children’s home. To the rear a bricked up stable door suggests new uses were found inside the house for the space. There are several bricked up doorways in other buildings, some of which are hidden from view by rendering - 16 Long Acre for instance photographed before the new rendering was applied.
Extensions to form a second pile to the rear of a house are not uncommon and the straight joints between old and new are usually clearly visible. At 4 Long Acre this was to provide a framework knitters workshop, and at the Wheatsheaf either more drinking or more living space. The Wheatsheaf also had extra storeys added and its original thatch replaced; the old gable wall is still clearly marked in the older brickwork. Long Acre Studios displays many patches of different brickwork, some of which could have been full height doorways; some bricks are narrow and almost certainly predate the building of the school here in 1840. At number 4 Station Street the extension took the form of an additional house - the straight joint in the brickwork is clear evidence which is carried through to the chimney. The new house was an investment property for the original owner.
[Click to return to top of page]

Brickwork

Narrow bricks are often taken to indicate great age in a building. Early 17th century bricks used in the general area around Bingham were generally no more than 2-2½ins (50-57mm) in thickness and local tendencies suggest that bricks that were 2? ins (60mm) in thickness are uncommon in the 17th century. Bricks in Bingham may show a tendency to be both thicker and longer than elsewhere, possibly due to local production methods and the continued use of similar moulds in brick kilns. Bingham has a number of buildings with significant amounts of narrow brick (8¼”long, 2½”thick and 4” deep) that generally date from the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. From the mid nineteenth century bricks tended to be 3” thick. 20th century bricks have reverted to about 2?” or 2?”. But there were many variations and size alone is not an infallible guide.
Most of Bingham’s older houses are built in Flemish bond brickwork, or at least they are where it shows at the front! Here a stretcher and a header are placed alternately along each course of brickwork. Around the back of the building the bonding is often much less well formed and regular. Flemish Bond was introduced to Britain in 1631, becoming widespread by the mid-seventeenth century. Before that English bond was common, and indeed in Yorkshire and Lancashire it was extremely commonplace until the early 1900s. One of the few examples in Bingham is the side wall of Cost Cutters along Union Street; here one course of headers is followed by several (commonly three, as here) courses of stretchers. Header bond is unusual and we believe was most popular around 1700. Bingham’s only example is the Manor House, Market Place. Stretcher bond was used for single course (half brick thickness) walls and, of course once cavity walls came into use, sporadically from the mid nineteenth century but universally by the early mid twentieth.
[Click to return to top of page]

Boot Scrapers

Boot scrapers were a highly practical ornamentation in the days of few pavements and muddy roads. There are a great many in Bingham. Some consist of a simple iron bar across a hole in brickwork, as at 35 Long Acre. Some are specially made stone inserts with the iron bar fixed across; some of the best preserved examples of these are at 21 Church Street and Kirkland House, Kirkhill. Some houses had two scrapers - 1 Union Street on either side of the front door, and Lushai Cottage, Fisher Lane, with a very basic one in the garden wall and a smarter one in the wall near the house door!
Brompton house, Needham Street boasts only one scraper but apparently in the wrong place! It would surely have been too long a stretch to use this without stepping back into the mud to get to the present doorway well to its right. This is a clue to the original layout of the house - the door has been moved away from the centre of the façade (see Brompton House). The most ornate of all are those scrapers that remain on most of the houses of Porchester Villas, Long Acre. There are similar ones on some quality houses in Nottingham, so one assumes they must have been a stock item at the ironmongers in the early 1890s. They rather emphasise our supposition that these houses were built for the well off!
[Click to return to top of page]

Architectural Decoration

There are several examples in Bingham of very attractive chequer board Flemish bonding, where light coloured bricks were selected to use as headers to produce a satisfactory pattern for the façade. 13-16 Market Place, the former manses in Kirkhill, number 4 Station Street and other similar buildings in the surrounding villages suggest a build date for this style of around 1840-1860. Possibly at least 100 years earlier is Pinchpenny Cottage with a chequer board pattern picked out in narrow bricks at each end of the facade. The latter also has a string course of overhanging brickwork, known by some as Plat Bands. These were a popular decorative feature and usually delineated the divide between storeys. Pinchpenny Cottage, the Wheatsheaf and Regency House each have one such band; the 39 Long Acre has two bands indicating it has always had three storeys. The post office also displays an unusual blind bulls-eye, a popular decorative device of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries with no apparent function.
The Victorians copied a number of architectural styles from former years. The Diaper (diamond) pattern picked out in vitrified headers on Church House, East Street, is typical of such practices. Another Victorian copy is the herringbone nogging work at 61/63 Long Acre. A nineteenth century architect remodelled the houses in mock Tudor fashion, but ironically they were originally sixteenth century anyway!
As well as chequer board, different coloured brickwork was used to achieve decorative effect. Courses of blue bricks are evident on many Victorian or Edwardian villas such as 9 and 11 Newgate Street, 12 and 14 Newgate Street, 7 to 15 Long Acre. Many of Bingham’s most recent developments have revived this and other forms of decorative brickwork, for example on the modern estates. The houses forming James Terrace have an appealing string course of moulded bricks mounted on small corbels. An unusual arrangement of brickwork adorns the tops of the facades of Porchester Terrace. Gable ends offered opportunities for decoration many architects could not resist - 28 Long Acre, Kirkhill Manse and Porchester Farm are three of many.
15 Church Street has attractive alternate blue and red bricks to form the window arches upstairs. Somewhat grander, perhaps, are the stuccoed lintels found at 37 Long Acre, at 1, and 7 Union Street, the Chesterfield Arms and 1 Market Place (although close inspection suggests the latter may be made of wood).
The Georgian era popularised the use of rubbed bricks to form a bright smooth lintel with the thinnest of (often white) joints. Examples are at 7 Church Street, 9 Fairfield Street and Brompton House, where there are also two arches of fine rubbed brick. Brompton House also displays how modern reproductions often use the wrong kind of brick and cannot achieve the smooth thin joints. The horizontal joints are actually lines scored into the brick; they are not mortared joints. The reproduction gets these wrong too!
Stone window lintels came into use in the nineteenth century and display a wide variety of subtly different decorative shapes. We hope one day to trace some of these in pattern books, to see if they help with dating some of the houses they adorn.
The Edwardian mock Tudor timbered panels of 8/10 Long Acre are Bingham’s only examples of this genre. The Gables (89 Long Acre) is a year or two earlier (1910) than 8/10 Long Acre but lacks the half timbered treatment.
[Click to return to top of page]

Reminders of horse drawn days

The rounded brickwork by the entrance to the driveway at the side of Tip Top Laundry is a reminder of the days of horse and carts - the shape reduced the chance of damage from the large protruding hubs of the cartwheels. This principle might be at work at Regency House, Long Acre, where the whole house wall is curved on the Cherry Street corner - perhaps there was no pavement at the time. There are a few driveways where the straight edged walls are protected by stone fenders - 11-15 Church Street for example. The stone fender at 4 Long Acre has either been moved or would not have afforded much protection being along the front of the house!
The ring on the wall of number 32 Market Street was for hitching one’s horse. There is a similar one outside the gateway at 9 Newgate Street. The many barn doors were of course designed for carts with high loads of hay. Several houses have driveways that were designed for horse and cart access, and sometimes one can see the stable and cart sheds beyond, e.g. 19 Church Street or 5 Long Acre.
[Click to return to top of page]

Doorways

Bingham has a few interesting doorways. Two very low ones hint at the great age of the properties, as people were shorter a few hundred years ago. One is at 21 Long Acre, the other in Market Street. Another sign of age is that you step down into the house, not up. There are a number of classical Georgian style doors, e.g. 7 Church Street, 9 Fairfield Street and 30 Long Acre. The false doors of the Horse and Plough are reminders that originally the Primitive Methodist chapel was upstairs, while downstairs were two cottages. The door to the cell in the Old Court House was deliberately narrow to prevent the prisoner escaping whilst the door was being opened. There are also some pretty and elaborate porches in the town - a Victorian cast iron one at Beauvale House, 17 Market Place, a mock Georgian portico built onto 18 Market Place after 1974, (the original porch, c1900, looks similar to that at Beauvale House Manor Cottage (Market Place) and Banks House.
[Click to return to top of page]

Water Pumps

Until the late 1930s Bingham residents relied on wells for their supply of drinking water and underground soft water cisterns fed from roof guttering for household use. A number of pumps, often enclosed in wood to protect against frost can still be seen. Good examples are at 5 Cherry Street, the rear of Brompton House, Needham Street, Banks Cottage and the decorative, lion’s head spout at Bradshaw’s Cottages (34 Long Acre).
[Click to return to top of page]

Windows

The most interesting window in Bingham is probably the “doctors’” at 7 Church Street. It was designed to admit air but not rain to a sick room. The two bay windows with curved glass at 17 and 19 Church Street are also unique in Bingham. One historian’s view is that true round bay windows such as these were for shops and not houses. John Horsepool the butcher built the houses, so maybe one was his shop too. The directories certainly put his business in Church Street; there was a slaughter house at the rear and the cellar is panelled with hooks in the ceiling possibly for storage of carcasses. Church House displays the stone mullioned windows one would expect in a Victorian reproduction! 19 The Banks has similar Victorian Gothic tendencies! The pair of Victorian cottages at the corner of Fisher Lane and Long Acre ysed to have some lattice design made of cast iron, but they were removed in 2010.
One or two Yorkshire sash windows (these slide sideways and can date to the eighteenth century) can be seen in Bingham - notably at 19 Market Place and the Pine Shop on Fairfield Street. Double hung sash windows abound, some with the horns that were introduced around 1850 a means of adding strength to the window frame, many without and thus earlier - e.g. Chesterfield Arms and Brompton House. Look for examples of newer windows with horns inserted as replacements into a building where most windows are without - 7 Church Street is one.
Bingham once boasted 60 odd Framework Knitters, many working in their own workshops. The last long window needed to give added light to the workroom was removed from a workshop in Newgate Street in the 1960s. A restored workshop with a long window is attached to the farmhouse at 7 Market Street. Another has been traced at the rear of 4 Long Acre, where the new brick infill is just discernible. The thicker than normal beams inside were to bear the weight of the machine upstairs.
Since Bingham was a town of 27 pubs, perhaps the last word on windows should be reserved for the now defunct Vaults Hotel (now 39 Long Acre) if you catch the light in the right aspect, the shadow of the name ‘Vaults’ used to be visible on the narrow window just above the post box. The glass was removed some years ago.
[Click to return to top of page]

Dentils, Coggins and all that

Look up at the line where the roof joins the wall and you will see an almost endless variety of means by which the wall is assisted to carry the roof timbers. The simplest is a straight joist of timber along the length of the wall - a wall plate. This might be carried on a slightly protruding course of bricks. Dogtooth (headers laid at an angle giving a zigzag appearance) as at 11 Market Place and dentils (alternate protruding headers), for example 1 Church Street, are found on both 18th and early 19th century houses. Some building historians think the former were in use marginally earlier, but documentary evidence is difficult to find. Moulded bricks were used for the purpose in many ordinary Victorian Villas. Examples are at 12/16 Market Place, Porchester Farm, 28 Long Acre, 12-14 Newgate Street and 9 Newgate Street. As might be predicted, the Victorian architects had fun with these features and they designed a wide variety of corbelling for this purpose. 8 Newgate Street and 12-14 Newgate Street are just two examples. The most elaborate is probably 3 Church Street, atop the extended and enhanced Doncaster’s Manchester House building (presumably an indication of success).
[Click to return to top of page]

Roofs

In the seventeenth and early eighteenth century many buildings would have been thatched. The signs of a previously thatched roof are usually a steep pitch to the present roof and brick parapets at each end of the roof. The steep pitch encouraged rain to run off quickly before soaking into the roofing material. Parapets were a precaution against the spread of fire introduced after the great fire of London. 39 Long Acre has parapets and the pitch of the roof was much steeper once. The evidence for a lowering of the pitch can be seen in the change of brickwork in the gable ends. Seymour Cottage, Church Street, popularly believed to be the original post office, has a steep ‘thatch’ pitch and a traditional cat slide roof to the extension, which would also have been thatched. Not being close to other buildings it would presumably not have needed parapets. The old photograph of 57 Long Acre shows it with its thatch.
Church House has a particularly elaborate roof design in keeping with the rest of this Victorian extravaganza! Kirkland House is more restrained in its use of a gentle pattern in the slates. The almost ubiquitous pantile is used throughout much of Bingham, with some plain tiles by way of relief, e.g. 19 Market Place.
Run off rainwater is generally taken away by gutters and down pipes - in older houses usually to an underground soft water cistern. However two buildings in Bingham have a lead gully behind a wooden plank fitting flush with the wall. These are 7 Church Street and Brompton House, which also has one of the few dated drainpipe hoppers in the town.
[Click to return to top of page]

Chimneys

Chimneys developed to take away smoke from the hearth that previously escaped through vents or holes in the roof. Brick offered a fireproof but in the early days expensive form of construction, and the design of many early chimneys tended to become a statement of status as much as function. This has continued even to today!
Older detached houses in Bingham tend to have a chimney at one or both ends. In the case of semi-detached or terraces, of course, it would be cheaper for adjoining properties to share a chimney. There are, however, a number of detached houses with a central chimney, a feature which tends to indicate a build date well before the end of the 1700s, after which the fashion changed. The 39 Long Acre, the Manor House and Beauvale House are three examples. 23 Market Place and the rear cottage of 19 Church Street are less obvious examples. Where a detached house appears to have a central chimney, it is often because an extension has been built beyond the original gable end.
Some extravagantly decorated chimneys are worth looking out for - the mock Tudor ones at 61-63 Long Acre and those at Church House recall the Elizabethan era. 29 Long Acre, the Old Court House and 19 Church Street seem to be as much statement as function with its three flues, one for each fire place! The builders of more humble houses for the Chesterfield’s Estate must have felt the same way if those at 1-5 Cherry Street are anything to go by!
[Click to return to top of page]


Home Page | About Us | Links | Contact Us | Newsletter

Site developed by Ambrow Limited | Published by the Bingham Heritage Trails Association | All content is © BHTA
for site credits click here

Back to
top of page