20 St James’s Square, Lansdown, Bath
18 St James’s Square forms part of a section of Grade I late 18th century terrace at 16-22 St James’s Square, situated within the Bath City-Wide Conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of the wider, monumental development of St James’s Square including the Grade I listed terraces at 1-15, 23-37, and 38-45 St James’s Square, as well as the wider streetscape context of a high concentration of Grade II terraced townhouses along Marlborough Street, St James’s Street, Great Bedford Street, and Park Street. The square is an exemplary example of monumental Georgian design and town planning by John Palmer, following the earlier precedent of the Grade I Queen Square by John Wood the Elder.
We support the opportunity to reinstate the natural Bath stone ashlar finish by removing the existing paint finish at lower ground floor level, and commend the inclusion of details such as window sills and reveals on the first, second, and third floors as part of the proposed paint removal works. The removal of paint would restore the whole building to its original, designed appearance and would be beneficial when viewed as part of its wider terraced setting, with resulting enhancement to the Grade I terrace’s special architectural and historic interest.
There is a preference for the rear elevation to be left without render, following the proposed removal of the existing failed cement-based render, to reinstate a natural stone finish and facilitate the porous qualities of the stonework. We do however note that this would be dependent on the condition of the underlying stone; the use of a lime render of an appropriate colour and finish would be materially compatible, and there is a history of mixed elevational treatments to the rear. It’s possible that a limewash may be considered as a lighter surface treatment through which the texture of the stonework would be perceived.
The re-finishing of the rear roof slope in natural Welsh slate is considered acceptable and materially in-keeping with the appearance of a listed building. We commend the opportunity as part of roof works to install roof insulation to improve the thermal performance of the building.
The existing windows are indicated to have been installed around 1910 due to the use of a margined fenestration design, and are currently in a very poor state of repair. Proposals for replacement with a more traditional 6-over-6 timber sash windows are therefore supported where works would reinstate the original, historic fenestration design and finish of a Grade I listed building, and would enhance the special interest of the wider Grade I terrace by re-establishing an aesthetic uniformity across the principal terrace façade.
In response to the Climate Emergency, BPT is generally supportive of sensitive energy retrofit measures, where deemed appropriate, within the historic environment, as well as the sympathetic upgrade of listed housing stock to better meet modern standards of living.
We are supportive of the principle of installing secondary glazing as a less invasive and easily reversible retrofit measure to improve the thermal performance and residential comfort of a historic building and ensure its long-term, sustainable use. The installation of Storm secondary glazing would result in very limited harm to historic fabric.