32/33 Baker Street

In his survey of 33 Baker Street in July 1991, Robert Smith concluded that the site was a late medieval building with evidence of alterations dating from the 17th to 20th Centuries, which include the replacement of the queen post roof in the 18th Century. Based on comparative material, he suggested a tentative 16th Century date for the building, possibly originally a medieval hall. The building has a full-height timber-framed rear wall and a timber-framed, jettied first floor wall above a masonry front wall. The stack is noticeably off-centre towards the street side of the building, a characteristic usually associated with stack-side stairs.

No. 32 and the adjacent 33 Baker Street were purchased by the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust in 1992 for £23,000, when plaster and ceilings could be removed to enable a further survey by Robert Smith, undertaken in 1993. The evidence for a medieval hall (consisting of three-cell house with heated hall flanked by a parlour and service end, separated from the hall by a passage) was put in doubt when it was discovered that there was not enough evidence in the wall dividing the hall from the presumed service end of the building. His conclusion was that the building dated to the 16th Century, and consisted of at least one heated and one probably unheated room, and that later in the 16th Century a rear range was added.

The architect Anthony Rossi created an imaginative scheme for the project, which involved creating two units of shop accommodation on the street-side ground floor, and four units of living accommodation above and to the rear building, which have been leased to Orbit Housing Association. This is believed to be the first time that a Building Preservation Trust had linked with a Housing Association in a “Living over the Shop” project providing low cost housing to rent. The local building R D Chadd were appointed to undertake the building works, and were commended by Owen Lloyd, then Chairman of the Trust, on their excellent workmanship in repairing the building, which had been in such an extremely poor structural condition on purchase.

Grants towards the £172,500 building repair costs were provided by the following organisations:

  • £20,000 Living over the Shop, Great Yarmouth Borough Council
  • £5,750 English Heritage Purchase Grant
  • £40,000 English Heritage Buildings at Risk Grant
  • £2,000 Historic Buildings Grant, Great Yarmouth Borough Council
  • £95,000 Architectural Heritage Fund

The building was opened by Baroness Hollis of Heigham on Saturday 8th April, 1995.