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GODS PROVIDENCE HOUSE

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A four-storey timber-framed town house and shops reconstructed in 1862 by James Harrison and loosely based on the preceding town house of 1652. The facade is enriched with mechanical plaster detailing. The west wall of the undercroft is shared with the late 13th century undercroft of No. 11, but is extended forward to enclose the steps and encroach on to the street. The east wall is of rubble stone and has two corbels, 1.3 metres apart. The timber ceiling beams are 17th century or later. The Row level and above is all of 1862 or later, but retains a passage overlooked by a blocked window. Drawings of the earlier building show a rather lower, small-framed, understated facade, slightly sagging and carried on plain timber posts.

The battle to save God's Providence House is the first recoreded conservation case in Chester . The future of this 17th century building was raised by Thomas Hughes (author of the 1865 edition of The Stranger's Guide to Chester) at a meeting of the Chester Archaeological Society in November 1861. It had recently changed hands and the new owner was reported to be intent on demolishing the building. Hughes urged that its existing character and the old carved timbers of the front facade be preserved. His plea bore fruit, for by the Society's next meeting, the architect James Harrison had been appointed as architect and his plans for the property displayed. However, despite Harrison's claims that the front was to be kept and as much of the ancient character as possible retained, the house was completely rebuilt and the height greatly increased.

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