Nos. 12-13 High Street

Nos 12 & 13 High Street
Nos 12-13 High Street (Charpentier)

Although of a fairly formal design these buildings have some complexity. They have been modernised several times but appear to have retained the same shape since 1860, according to the Charpentier drawing. The two houses may have been built towards the end of the 18C but there is strong evidence in the cellar of No. 12 of an earlier structure. Timber supports and beams are of a substantial size and may even be of Tudor origin.

No 12 High Street
No 12, High Street (2007)

The windows in the front elevation of No. 12 have certainly been altered since 1842 when the Charpentier strip map shows the house with latticed windows and with no bay at the first floor level. Two further images from the Victorian era, though undated show the house both with and without the bay, the latter being a photograph and the former a drawing (probably by Snape around 1890). In both images the latticed windows have given way to single pane sashes. The exact date of the window change is unknown but for the sake of the model it will be assumed that they occurred before 1860.
Both aforementioned images also show an entrance to No. 12 between it and No.11 which still exists today but at the time the door gave access to the house via a single story 'tunnel', possibly made of wood, whereas today the entrance is recessed several yards from the front of the two houses. This second door suggests access to a separate dwelling behind No.12, as is common elsewhere on High Street; there is certainly an impression of an 'alley way' inside leading most of the way to the back section of the house. There is some evidence from maps that this alley way may have been open at one stage, possibly being common land between Nos. 11 and 12.

No 12 High Street
No 12 Front Door (2007)

An odd conflict between Nos. 12 and 13 stands out on the right hand side of the main door into No. 12. It is difficult to be sure exactly where the boundary of one property ends and other starts. It would be normal to expect that the line followed the edge of the rendering on No. 13, but this line runs through the centre of the right hand door pillar of No.12. The masonry decoration to No. 13 is a later addition, cutting through the lintel to the door of No.12. Clearly there has been some degree of boundary dispute here but there is no evidence for when exactly it happened.
Although it is not of immediate interest in this phase of modelling there are two curiousities in the rear garden. Firstly, the north eastern end of the garden is cut off by an incursion from the garden of No. 11. There seems no reason for this though unless it is the remnant of a common access lane running along the rear of Nos. 10-12. Secondly there is a covered, vertical shaft in the garden giving access to a vault which is said to run under the gardens of several adjacent houses.
It is known that in 1873 one resident of No. 12 was Archdeacon Henry Press Wright who was probably accompanied by his family.

No 13 High Street
No 13 High Street, 2007

No. 13 is closely associated with No.12 and may even have been built at the same time. The Charpentier drawing shows them having similar window configurations, though the door to No. 13 is on the side of the house rather than the front as in No.12. There is a slight difference in the heights of the front wall but there is no obvious reason why this should be so.
It is plain that some significant alterations have been made to No.13 though there is no evidence to indicate when this might have occurred. The impression is that the owners intended taking the house up-market and differentiating it from the neighbouring house. It seems likely that the whole house was rendered at the same time as the two ground floor windows at the front were removed and replaced by three of a slightly smaller size and additional masonry decoration was added. Part of the decoration overlaps the doorway structure to No. 12.
Another important change to No.13 is the introduction of a highly elaborate portico on the side of the house which butts right up to No. 14. Charpentier merely shows a gate with a plain arch above. Presumably this was introduced at the same time. As it has remained open it is possible to see through to one of the cottages at the rear of the property.
Project Considerations

Nos. 11 & 12 High Street
Nos. 11 & 12 High Street

Inevitably there will be occasions when the date of change to buildings is ambiguous. A case in point is the date for the introduction of the first floor bay window and the replacement of the lattice window for single pane sashes for No. 12. We have a photograph in which the bay has not yet been constructed but the windows have been altered. Is it possible that the photograph was taken before 1860, but it's impossible to know at this stage, so in the interests of simplicity we will model the front with plain sashes and no bay.
Usefully the same photograph shows the 'tunnel' entrance and door to the left of No. 12. The Charpentier drawing is a little vague on this matter but it does show a rectangle which could be interpreted as being the same structure. It will therefore be incorporated into the model.

Nos. 11 -13 High Street
Nos. 11 - 13 (Google Earth)

From the front, the roof structure seems clear - it runs continuously across both Nos 12 & 13. A quick glance at Google Earth however shows that there are two extensions to the roof, one for each house, perpendicular to the continuous ridge. In addition there are a number of other roof structures running back from the north side of No. 12 to the back of the garden.
This whole complex seems to be quite important in understanding the housing at this end of the street so the whole roof structure will be modelled but the supporting walls will not be so at this stage. In practice it proved almost impossible to envisage how the individual roof sections relate to the building underneath from the Google image and there are no suitable vantage points from which to view it. Hopefully fresh evidence will emerge.
We do not know the date of the changes to the facade of No. 13, but as part of the masonry overlaps the doorframe of No. 12 plainly it was placed there at a later date. Also, the doorframe itself looks slightly more elaborate than in the Charpentier drawing. It seems unlikely that both these changes would have happened between the date of the drawing, 1842 and 1860. The model will therefore be based on the Charpentier drawing rather than the modern photograph.
The roof structure is a little unusual in that the gable end is kinked. This was so in 1842 and is still the same today. The rear part can only be determined by viewing the satellite image from Google Earth, which also shows the presence of two cottages behind the main house. These will not be modelled at this stage as it seems likely that the large gate was in position in 1860 thereby obscuring any view from the street.

Snapshots from the Model (Nos. 12-13 High Street)

All images are copyright © Tim Backhouse. Click on the thumbnails for full size versions.

Old Portsmouth Model Images