No. 11 High Street
One of the oldest and most famous buildings in Old Portsmouth, No.11 High Street thankfully survived WW2 intact. Best known perhaps for the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham that took place within it in 1629, the house has a history going back even further to times when it was a hostelry of some sort, variously named the Spotted Dog and the Greyhound.
The earliest known image is from a drawing allegedly made in 1627, entitled "The Spotted Dog" in which features of the house still known to us in 2008 are already in place. The two front doors, the twin gabled roof, the arches over the windows and the pilasters are all there. Even the elaborate wooden carvings around the main door are present and have survived nearly 400 years. Strikingly the image also shows the house extending towards the left into the area currently occupied by No.10 High Street, thus confirming the story that No. 10 had replaced part of No. 11.
There then followed a gap of 250 years before the next image of No. 11 appeared in 1870. Here we have lost the left hand section to No.10 and appear to have gained a three storey building on the right. The section containing the main door has been expanded a little, but otherwise it is recognisably the same house. There is one significant difference however; in the 1627 drawing, the texture of the walls appears to be made up of large bricks, whereas by 1870 the walls have been rendered and probably covered in a lime wash.
Examination of the walls today shows that where the render has fallen away the bricks underneath are standard sized for the period, implying that the 1627 image incorporates some artistic licence. In any case by the time of the model the surface is certainly render.
Unlike its neighbour, No. 11 is far from being a simple box. The house itself has been modified on many occasions, most of which have left their mark. The problems start at the front facade of the house where no single face is parallel to the kerb-line and this is perpetuated throughout the house where few walls are parallel or perpendicular to one another.
The entire plot on which the building stands is skewed by about 2 degrees and there is a weird discontinuity in the wall separating Nos. 10 and 11, which is carried upwards to meet the roof line in such a way as to require a step in the roof of No. 10. There is further evidence relating to the construction of No. 10 at the roof level where one of the gable ends to No.11 appears to be truncated against the wall adjoining No. 10.