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Pair of early 20th century gems in King’s Lynn listed

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Two early 20th-century commercial buildings in King’s Lynn have been Grade II-listed

Ministers granted the heritage status to 33-39 St James Street and 1 Tuesday Market Place in the Norfolk town.

The St James Street structure, built in 1908 by local firm Bardell Brothers, may have been designed by Augustus Frederic Scott of Norwich, according to Historic England. Used as the showroom, warehouse and offices of the Building Material Company, it was a pioneering project, creating one of the earliest reinforced concrete-framed buildings in England.

Built in 1928 to the designs of Ipswich architect Henry Munro Cautley, 1 Tuesday Market Place was originally occupied by Lloyds Bank. Today it is a branch of Lloyds TSB.

The building features detailed sculptural embellishments in Portland stone. According to Historic England the building ‘makes a significant contribution to the rich architectural character of Tuesday Market Place’, which was described by Pevsner as ‘one of the most splendid open spaces in provincial England’.

The listings form part of the town’s Heritage Action Zone scheme, which aims to make the most of King’s Lynn’s historic buildings to boost the local economy.

Heritage minister Michael Ellis said: ‘These new listings prove that heritage treasures are not just ancient monuments, medieval churches or Georgian houses, but are found in the most unlikely of places.

‘This is a superb example of how buildings of historic importance can be used by local businesses and I am pleased they will now be protected for future generations.’

Historic England regional director Tony Calladine said: ‘How wonderful to find out that King’s Lynn is home to one of England’s earliest purpose-built reinforced concrete structures.

‘One can imagine it was a showpiece for the building company to illustrate to potential customers the company’s ingenuity. This building joins its James Street neighbours in being granted Grade II status, as well as the former Lloyds Bank, protecting them for generations to come.’

The Building Material Company occupied 33-39 St James Street for 61 years before being declared insolvent on 21 March 1968. The building became a car showroom and repair workshop in the 1970s, and in the late 1990s briefly accomodated a pub called the Admiral’s Tap after Rear Admiral Robert Bloye, who once lived in a house on the site.

The space was later converted into a restaurant, which closed a couple of years ago, leaving the unit vacant, although some space is used by adjacent vehicle repair firm Kwik Fit. 

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