Friday, 4 December 2009

Ingatestone: George Sherrin, architect (1843 - 1909)

The coming of the railway in the 1840s through Ingatestone from London ended the stage coach trade and the town’s trade fell into decline. However by the 1880s it was realised that Ingatestone would be a convenient place for out of town commuters. In 1882 George Sherrin (1843 – 1909) took a number of plots, notably in Station Lane, and built a number of desirable country residences for the middle classes. According to James Bettley, “Station Lane is the place to study the domestic work of George Sherrin”. The houses were built in a Georgian style of red brick with false timber work.

I want though to write something different about George Sherrin’s houses.

Nowadays many of these properties remain. Ardtully, nearest to the High Street, has since 1983 been a residential home for the elderly and is no longer occupied by a single family. Fairwinds, imprisoned behind high private gates was once named The Chantry and was during the 1970s (and probably before) a hotel. I remember Station Lane at that time before the houses were built on the opposite side of the road and before Dutch Elm Disease ravaged this tree-lined road. The stumps of one or two of these majestic trees remain by the roadside.

The Gate House today

Next to Fairwinds is the Red House then towards the station and the level crossing is The Gate House, the former home of the architect. After Sherrin’s death the building became a school and remained one until the 1940s. By the late 1970s The Gate House was empty and prey to vandals and its future was in doubt. However in the 1980s the house was greatly extended and in the gardens Gate House Mews created.

The Gate House when it was a school

For a more extensive description about the area and Sherrin’s house follow the link to the “Ingatestone Station Lane Conservation Area Report”.

Lightoaks on the Mill Green road was demolished in early 2009. When the Midsummer’s Day hailstorm hit the area in 1897 newspaper reports told of the fall of the chimneys without the occupants, who were inside the property, knowing of the damage such was the ferocity of the storm. My rather poor photograph, taken from the road, illustrates this building now gone. James Bettley’s excellent book ‘Essex’ in the Buildings of England series has a pen and ink drawing citing it as “his usual picturesque combination of brick and half-timbered gables”. For more about Lightoaks history and fate read the local Council planning report:

Lightoaks (taken 2006)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Andrew.. I am looking for a picture of George sherrin..ingatestone architect who died 1909. Have seen picture of him as an older man at Essex records office but am looking for younger picture. Have you any ideas? Many thanks. Berny.wheeler