Building record ESO 032 - Outbuildings at The Gables, The Street

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A rare example of a 19th century butchery complex, altered in the 20th century


Grid reference Centred TM 2352 6325 (11m by 14m)
Map sheet TM26SW


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

The house is a timber-framed, rendered and thatched structure of the early-17th century which in the 19th century formed a series of rented tenements in conjunction with the neighbouring property to the south-east (Fir Tree Cottage). The outbuildings flank the entrance to the site and form a linear group of three structures at right-angles to the street. They currently operate as a tack room, stable and chicken shed respectively, but all contain double doors facing east towards the house and appear to have been used as garages or cart sheds in recent years. In the 19th century, however, they were approached not from The Gables but from a narrow yard on the west and belonged to a butcher who owned the adjoining Causeway Cottage. The northernmost structure facing the street (the modern tack room), may have been built as a timber-framed bake-house with a chimney in the 18th century, but was converted into a shop with a new brick facade in the late-19th century. Its highly distinctive appearance, with a central door flanked by high-silled windows, is typical of contemporary butchers’ shops where meat was prepared internally but hung or placed on stalls in the open air for display. The ‘stable’ immediately behind the shop was rebuilt in the mid-20th century as a vehicle shed with high doors that are now blocked by a modern garage belonging to Causeway Cottage. The rear building (now a chicken shed) is a mid-19th century timber-framed and weatherboarded structure that was almost certainly designed as a slaughterhouse and undoubtedly operated as one from an early period. It contains a loose box beneath a hay loft at one end for animals awaiting their fate, and an open shed at the other which retains the mechanism of a meat hoist from which carcasses were suspended during butchery. This mechanism is a remarkable 19th century survival with a wooden pulley wheel of 1.3 m in diameter (50 ins) resting on timber ratchets and posts. Despite alteration in the 20th century these outbuildings are of considerable historic interest as a rare example of a 19th century butchery complex. The brick shop facade is a conspicuous and distinctive feature that makes a vital contribution to Earl Soham’s architectural character, while the slaughterhouse is among the best preserved 19th century vernacular examples in the country and the pulley wheel may be unique (S1).

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2012. Heritage Asset Assessment: Outbuildings at The Gables, Earl Soham.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jun 3 2019 3:29PM

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