64 Friar Street (St Andrew's Parish)

The project had identified most of the significant early surviving buildings in Droitwich, but the outward appearance of this large property in Friar Street had not led us to expect that it contained anything of interest in that respect.  However, the preliminary scoping survey of the building carried out by Christopher Pancheri in April 2014, supported by Claire Lloyd who has done a superb job liaising with building owners and occupiers, showed that nothing can be taken for granted.  Inside this apparently 'modern' building is a complete early 17th century oak-panelled room with a beautifully ornamental plaster ceiling, and a further similar ceiling in another room. 

This was a timber frame building and survivals of some of that framing still exist, hidden in cupboards and passages within the current building.  It is possible that more substantial timbers are concealed within the walls of the street frontage (north) range.  The current north range has fireplaces on the ground and first floors, part of the original structure, which link to  the surviving impressive brick chimney stack on the south side of this range. 

The results of the survey of this building suggest that originally there was another range to the south west.  This accords with the survival of a small range to the south east. 

It is not a surprise that the quality of the features in this building indicate that the owners were wealthy and of high status.  They commissioned and paid for the highly decorative rooms within it, and the quality of its construction with substantial timber framing, demonstrates their power, as was expected at the time (late in the reign of Elizabeth I or early in the reign of James I). 

In the 18th century it seems that there was some refurbishment of the structure, including major repairs to the roof of the street frontage range.  It is possible that the south west range was also repaired or even removed at this time.  Some of the timber framing may also have been removed and brick used instead for repairs to walls. 

In the 19th century a new substantial three storey brick extension was built to the south west, with another two storey  range attached beyond that.  The three storey structure incorporated a two-storey stairs hall and other rooms at ground, first and second floor levels; a second simpler staircase giving access to the new second floor, and a cellar, were also part of this addition, as no doubt was the doorcase of the street frontage.  Possibly at this time, or later in the century, the windows in the north range were replaced and the frontage was rendered, giving it a modern appearance which betrays no hint of the earlier features within. 

We are very grateful to the owner and the occupiers for their co-operation, and especially to the occupiers for allowing repeated access to a working office environment.  This has allowed much of the building's architectural history to be fully understood and captured. 

Documentary research has added to the picture and enabled us to put names to the owners and occupiers back into the second decade of the 1700s.

Click on the links below to see more detail about the various time periods

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