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©  Graham Brown LRPS

IoE Number: 384240
Photographer: Graham Brown LRPS
Date Photographed: 07 January 2001
Date listed: 07 June 1972
Date of last amendment: 26 July 1993
Grade I

The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.

KING'S LYNN TF6120SE PURFLEET QUAY 610-1/7/173 Custom House including north bank of 07/06/72 Purfleet Quay (Formerly Listed as: KING STREET (West side) Custom House) GV I Custom House. 1683 by Henry Bell. Built for Sir John Turner MP as a merchants' exchange. First floor let to the Collector of Customs, entire building bought by Customs 1718 and used as customs house until 1989. Alterations either in 1718 or 1741 during repairs following gale damage: ground floor was partitioned and the present staircase probably inserted 1718, panelling and decoration of upper floors probably 1741. Stone with plaintile roof below lead flat. Designed to 4:5 proportions. 5 bays to north and south elevations, 4 to east and west, originally in form of open arcade, the first floor supported on 4 Roman Doric entactic columns on tall polygonal plinths. Bell's engraving of the building seems to show the west arcade closed shortly after construction, or never open. Elevations are broadly similar. Arcade bays separated by Roman Doric pilasters supporting a plain Doric entablature below the first-floor 2-light cross casements with leaded glazing. Corner bays have 2 blind recessed panels to ground floor, vertically placed, and a single-light transomed casement to the first floor. Arcades have keystones in form of nautical heads. First-floor windows separated by Ionic pilasters. Acanthus modillion eaves cornice below hipped roof with flat. North and south roof slopes with 2 pedimented dormers separated by a segmental-headed dormer, east and west slopes with only 2 pedimented dormers, all with 2-light casements. Cornice balustrade removed 1741. Timber lantern of Greek cross plan composed of 4 arches each carrying a pediment. All of the internal and external angles of the continuous entablature below these pediments have a Corinthian leaf. Above is an hexagonal lantern with an ogee cap which replaces the obelisk and statue of Fame blown down in 1741. The lead flat has a heavy turned balustrade with square corner piers. The eastern 2 piers disguised chimney flues. Variations between elevations. North front has a broken-forward central bay with a heavy panelled door. Entablature above with a cartouche and inscription: Mercaturx Reicp Nauticx Hoc posuit Johannes Turner Anno dom CDDCLXXXIII Arm (sic). Above is a niche with a statue of Charles II on a fluted semi-circular pedestal flanked by a pair of Corinthian pilasters (sculptor unknown). Shallow pediment over this bay. East side arcades are simply filled in. South side arcades also filled in except the centre bay which has a door beneath a fanlight. West arcade bays filled with iron windows with a top-hung casement to centres: glazed with small panes. 1718. INTERIOR. Barrel-vaulted cellars. Ground floor originally open with 4 bridging beams running north-south and one running east-west at the junctions of which were 4 columns described above. The western 2 columns survive, one encased in the C18 partitioning. The others were removed (the central one would have blocked an intended doorway, the other, to the east, would pierce the staircase). The partitioning is partly masonry and sufficiently substantial to support the upper floors. Closed string staircase with bolection panelling, turned balusters and a heavy handrail supported on square newels. Numerous minor choppings and compromises were required to insert staircase. Of original stairs nothing is known. First floor west room (the Long Room) originally 2 rooms. Large-framed panelling probably 1741. On east wall are 2 fire surrounds with bolection mouldings. North-east room with smaller-framed fielded panelling which may be 1718. Roof structure of principals with butt purlins. Cupola supported on 4 cross-braced trusses. PURFLEET QUAY. Probably a loading point of the Purfleet from C13. Lime and stone quay existed in 1547. Present brick structure with limestone dressings is result of continuous repair and rebuilding, the earliest identifiable elements being C17. Included portion begins at south-east corner of Custom House and runs 60 metres west along north bank of Fleet only. English bond brickwork. Stone steps laid into ashlar well drop from quay to bed of fleet. Top of quay with granite paving. This was the first classical building in King's Lynn, owing to precursor of the London Royal Exchange of 1670-1 by Edward Jerman and to Pieter Post's Stadhuis, Maastricht, Holland.

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