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Church Street Conservation Area

Church Street Conservation Area was designated in 1993, and is based upon a group of largely eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings located within Kidderminster Town Centre.

The main part of the Conservation Area includes a group of late 18th. and 19th. Century buildings which lie on either side of the street from which the Conservation Area takes its name. These buildings may have been constructed as a mixture of houses and businesses, but are now all in business or commercial use. They are generally characterised by a Georgian and polite neo-Georgian style. Their specific design features include pitched roofs; grey slates; red brick walls; vertically sliding sash windows with white frames, multiple glazing bars, gauged voussoirs or rusticated headers; and panelled doors, with moulded door cases, fanlights and pediments. Most of the properties in Church Street are positioned at the back of the pavement and form three storey terraces of varying length. Some individual properties retain long narrow plot shapes, including rear gardens and yards, adding to their character. Church Street also includes one of the Towns' two surviving Tudor vernacular buildings (No. 12, Church Street), an attractive Victorian Italianate style building (HSBC Bank), and a religious meeting house of 1883 having a neo-gothic style facade of red sandstone with white stone dressing.

The southern part of the Conservation Area faces onto the Bull Ring, and comprises properties which are generally sympathetic in character to those lining Church Street, although there has been some insensitively styled late twentieth century infilling. At the south-west end of the Bull Ring, the neo-gothic or early English revival style Baxter Church of 1884-5 forms a particularly imposing feature, its spire being an important visual landmark. The materials and style of this building echo those of the facade for the Meeting House in Church Street.

The Baxter Church in the Bull Ring is a non-conformist church and takes its name from Richard Baxter, the prominent local non-conformist preacher of the seventeenth century. Significantly, the non-conformist Meeting House in Church Street contains Baxter's original pulpit. These properties are occasionally visited by non-conformist brethren from around the world, which adds to their importance and to the profile of the Conservation Area.

Church Street originally continued up to St. Mary's Church, but this linkage was severed in the nineteen sixties by construction of the Towns' inner ring road. However, there is still a view line retaining some attractiveness along the northern end of Church Street towards the Church. At present, twenty-five of the buildings in the Conservation Area are Listed, confirming their special interest.

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