Chatterton House (once the Lamb Hotel)

The story of the Lamb Hotel site conversion

 

Above: a panorama from Chatterton House to St Mary's Parish Church as seen from the Church Lane car park. Below: The Church Lane frontage of Chatterton House.

 

WORK has now finished on the transformation of the former Lamb Hotel in Hospital Street  into a restaurant, shops and 19 apartments.

   It has brought a welcome breath of fresh air to Church Lane (below, from St Mary's Parish Church) replacing a run-down rear yard, with a tin roof visible over the wall, with a pleasing apartments block.

   A far more pleasing area next to the church, which is one of the town's main visitor attractions - as well as its importance as a place of worship.

   The front part of the old building (left) retains the original facade. I had imagined that just the very front wall of the Lamb Hotel was to be preserved but the whole front section has been saved for posterity. 

   At the foot of this page are four views of Chatterton House, as the Lamb Hotel is now known, as envisaged by the developers, local company, Muller Property. Also here are my photographs of the project as at July 2006.

     As Muller's said in an advertisement in The Nantwich Chronicle back in early 2004, they "were very keen to retain as much of the Lamb Hotel building as we could, but had to replace the middle section of the hotel and the rear section which was little more than a tin roof."

    Why Chatterton House? I have to confess I didn't know this, but apparently William Chatterton, a groom to Queen Mary, was granted a licence to keep a  tavern on the site in 1552. The present building - a Grade II listed building - is 18th Century. 

   I did know that there is supposed to be a tunnel running to the Lamb Hotel site from the adjacent St Mary's Parish Church (or, more likely, the Rectory) - presumably as an escape route for the Rectors in more troubled times. How true that is I don't know.

  The development includes 19 two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments - including a duplex penthouse - and two restaurants.

  One, as we now know, is the Costa coffee shop and the other is the Aroma Cafe Bar.

   Left is the doorway to Chatterton House on the Church Lane side, while below right is the interior of one of the apartments. Also in the development (see the photos below) are Muller's own Property Shop, the shop of Bang and Olufsen, the home entertainment people, and - taking the whole of the Hospital Street/Church Lane corner on the ground floor - is Costa, an Italian coffee shop.

   [Nantwich has quite a number of coffee shops now, but all seem to be thriving so the people of the town and around, and the visitors, must have quite a taste for the beverage.]

   Prices for the apartments started at 190,000, and while - soon after the properties went on to the market - all were snapped up, some apartments came back on to the market because (presumably) of changing circumstances of the original buyers. According to the Nantwich Guardian at the time of the complete sell-out, there were five unsuccessful people for every successful applicant.

   This page is not meant to be an advertisement for Chatterton House or Muller, but anything that improves a run-down site in historic Nantwich is to be welcomed and worthy of mention. 

   Church Lane was closed for quite a bit of the conversion work, and motorists had to use the alternative entrance to the car park. The builders' yard also stood on the car park, occupying some of the spaces.

   During the work, there was still pedestrian access, but wedding cars and hearses had to use Churchyardside on the north front of St Mary's Church, with a slightly longer journey on foot for wedding parties and mourners. Pedestrians had a very circuitous route around the builders' yard at times. At other times they could walk straight down Church Lane, according to how the work was progressing and what "plant" such as cranes were on site. 

    Now all is back to normal in Church Lane and on the car park, and Chatterton House has proved a welcome addition to the area. Much better than the " tin shed" that used to be there . . . !

lOver the months since the work began I ran the latest pictures of the site at its various stages on this page. These are now filed away in "The Brough Collection" but I have retrieved a few to tell the story of the transformation - here.

lI read that the entrance to the car park used to be the site of (two?) cottages and later a free church with the present car park as its churchyard.

The former Muller's Property Shop at the church end of Church Lane.

Bang and Olufsen, who moved in to the store in March 2006. This is now Relish coffee shop

The Costa Italian coffee shop in Church Lane  

The Aroma Cafe Bar in Hospital Street

 

When crisps were just crisps

AS I took these photographs, I remembered that it was in a little seating area behind the bar of the Lamb Hotel about 40 or so years ago that I had my first taste of Cheese and Onion crisps (Smith's).

    After that, plain ones were no longer good enough.

    Until that flavour breakthrough, crisps were crisps. There was no need to define them. No need to call them plain crisps. There was no other kind. The plain crisps - as many older Dabbers (and others, of course) will remember - had a Little Blue Bag of salt in the packet.

   Yes, you had to add your own in those days.

 

   Ready Salted crisps were a thing of the future.

   Of course, the Little Blue Bag is available once again as one crisp manufacturer has turned the clock back.

     You added the salt by finding the Little Blue Bag, buried somewhere among the crisps, and tipping the contents into the packet of crisps. A good shake of the bag distributed the condiment.

    Woe betide you if you forgot to do this little ritual. Those "little blue crisps" were a nasty shock to the taste buds.

    Nowadays, there seems no end to the number of different flavours in crisps. But that first taste was a culinary milestone.

BELOW are paintings by Muller showing their plans for Chatterton House.

The Hospital Street elevation by day . . . . . . and by night

The Church Lane frontage of the building . . . . . . and a slightly different view at night

To read about another historical Nantwich building for sale, click here.

 

 

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