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image for Group Visits item typeGroup Visits at Porters Civic House & Mayor's Parlour

Group Visits




Southchurch Road,
ss1 2lt


Porters, as it now stands, is a late 15th or a 16th century house. Its general plan, mediaeval in character, suggests an earlier date, and supports a belief that an older building stood on the same site. In its architectural details Porters is not consistent with any one period of construction, and Sir Charles Nicholson, Bart., the last private owner and himself an eminent architect, found the evidences "very puzzling". The character of some of the windows, the decoration on the fireplaces, and the panelling in the hall, indicate a date between 1475 and 1506. Other features point to a building date in the second half of the 16th century. Several theories have been advanced to account for the differences. It has been suggested that work on the building was begun during the earlier period and was only completed after an interval of many years. Another view is that the whole structure is of the later 16th century, certain features intended for some other and earlier building having been incorporated. A third suggestion is that the work is all of this later period, the architectural inconsistencies being accounted for by the probability that in an isolated district, such as South-East Essex then was, local craftsmen continued to use designs long after they had fallen into disuse in more
populous centres.

Since the 16th century Porters has never been greatly altered. Certain changes were made by the Corporation when the property was acquired in 1932, chiefly in the restoration of the Solar to its original dimensions by the removal of interior dividing walls, and by the addition on the west side of cloakrooms. The house has the unusual distinction that it has always been in use as a private residence and, as Sir Charles Nicholson remarked, it has never "come down in the world".


group rates by arrangement


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Map reference: TQ 882858  Lat: 51.53972 Long: 0.71245