Historic Droitwich Its Streets and People

20 High Street, Belt and Bag Shop (St Andrew's Parish)

This is the western part of a two-storey timber-frame building constructed in 1657, so quite late in the lifespan of the timber-frame building tradition.  However it displays close studding (closely-set vertical timbers within the spaces defined by the structural horizontal and vertical components), so used more timber than was necessary but in doing so reflected the fashion of the time.  This also indicated wealth and status for the owner.  The first floor was originally jettied, projecting out over the street wall of the ground floor, like many timber-frame buildings in the town.  Given the date of construction, it is likely that the first floor rooms always had ceilings above them and thus there would have been a second or attic floor, which fits with the height of the building and the visible external roof structure which includes openings at roof level that could have housed dormer or gable windows.  The original first floor windows were wider than the current ones. 

In the mid or late 18th century the street frontage was underbuilt, that is, the ground floor front wall was rebuilt in brick to line up with the front wall of the upper parts of the building. No doubt that was when the current sash (Georgian style) windows were inserted. 

Originally a single building (Nos. 20 and 22 now), sub-division into two properties took place.  It seems likely that this required the insertion of a second doorway.  The current pair of doorcases are thought to be early 19th century, which gives an approximate date for the sub-division. 

Dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) has given us the date of construction.  As it was only possible to gain limited access to the building, a full interpretation of how its rooms were arranged must wait on seeing all the upper floors and the attic roof spaces. 

Documentary research has added to the picture and enabled us to put names to the owners and some occupiers back into the very early 1700s.

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

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