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Old Harlow: Gothic house has a face lift

History / Wed 16th Oct 2019 at 12:46pm

Gothic house has a face lift

GOTHIC House, the 17th/18th century building situated right in the middle of Old Harlow has just undergone a complete face lift and redecoration.

The building has had an interesting and confusing history over the 300 years or so it has proudly stood in this prime central spot.

The exact age is unknown but was referred to in the Chapman & Andre map dated in 1777 but then, the map suggests the building may well have linked up with its opposite neighbour The George Hotel. Certainly Station Road was not in existence and the main coach route at the time was via Harlow Common into Harlow. A new road (Turnpike perhaps?) was built from Potter Street into Harlow around 1744. But still various maps at that time still suggested a linked building stretching across what is now the start of Station Road in 1831.

The timing for Gothic House and The George Hotel as separate buildings can only be traced back to the pending arrival of the railway line and the need for a road to serve from the Harlow High Street to the new station.

Commercially the building has housed the original Post Office for Harlow, Harlow Printing Company, private housing, dentist, and newsagent and since 1978 the permanent home of Harlow’s oldest estate agency, the Howick & Brooker Partnership. Also, there close neighbours, Gothic Insurance Brokers, have been here a little longer.

Gothic House is landmark building. Strangely not listed unlike its neighbours (albeit many changes to the appearance may account for that) but it certainly stands out at the cross roads and welcome to the old town.

The gothic name probably comes from the original appearance of the building when up to the 1940’s or so, there were six distinctive apex on the second floor, now sadly gone, for what reason, no one in living memory seems to know.

The building is full of unsolved mysteries, even the apparent existence of a ghost named ‘Mary’ although she seems to keep herself to herself not having been ‘spotted’ for many years.

So, over around three centuries Gothic House has stood welcoming everyone to the old town and has offered shelter and accommodation for many families and business’s and it seems the current owners, the Howick & Brooker Partnership, being the guardian of this fine building for over forty years, will continue to do so for many more to come as well .

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