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Naval Terrace, Sheerness Historic Dockyard, Sheerness, ME12

£800,000

6 Beds 2 Baths 3 Receptions

REF: CHO210001

PROPERTY FEATURES

  • Entrance hall,
  • 3 reception rooms
  • Kitchen/breakfast room
  • Utility room/cloakroom
  • 5 bedrooms
  • Bedroom 6/dressing room
  • Family shower room
  • Family bathroom
  • Walled garden
  • Coachhouse

THE PROPERTY

One of the largest houses in this elegant terrace of Georgian style houses built circa 1826. The property which is Listed Grade II* has recently been restored.

The house has beautifully proportioned rooms and many original features, it was part of Sir John Rennie's grand plan for the Royal Navy Dockyard at Sheerness; the architect was Edward Holl. In addition to the house there is a paved walled garden with ornamental water feature/fish pond, bar-b-que area, raised planters and specimen trees. To the rear of the house is a separate coachhouse of approximately 343 sq ft for which plans have been drawn up ready to submit for planning and listed building consent to convert this building into additional accommodation, alternatively it could continue to be used as garaging. The area has been transformed in recent years and the historic dockyard is now an impressive landmark, the final part of the restoration of the period buildings is now underway with work to the iconic Dockyard Church which once completed will become a cultural centre for the arts. The houses in Naval Terrace, together with the residential buildings on the other side of the dockyard wall, are important not just as part of this country's maritime history but also its built heritage. Not surprisingly they are Listed Grade II* and lie in a Conservation Area. The Isle of Sheppey is situated on the south side of the Thames estuary, an important strategic point which used to provide the first line of defence against a seaborne invasion of London. It also provided quick access to deep water moorings at sea making it an ideal location for building warships, ship repairs and victualing. With England at war with the Dutch from 1665 Sheerness played an essential part maintaining the English fleet ready for battle and this in turn required suitable housing for a sizeable shore based workforce of officers and skilled men. By the early part of the 19th century, following two fires, the dockyard was in urgent need of modernisation as it was critical to the defence of England, not just from the Dutch and Spanish but also the French. Rebuilding was entrusted to two of the country's greatest engineers and architects, Sir John Rennie pioneered the technique of piling on a vast scale so that the entire dockyard could be extended and built over soft marshy ground. The architect Edward Holl, Surveyor of Buildings to the Navy Board, was responsible for the intricate and detailed planning of the entire scheme, even going so far as to have a scale model built showing every detail from dry docks to ornamental railings in front of the houses. It would appear no expense was to be spared. The project was completed by Sir John Rennie's son and Edward Holl' successor George Ledwell Taylor. It is hoped that once the current restoration of the Dockyard Church is complete the original scale model will be put on public display and it will be possible to see just how precisely Edward Holl' plans were followed. The Royal Navy dockyard continued to play an important part in the defence of the realm, throughout the 19th and well into the first half of the 20th century. It was here the first screw propulsion warship HMS Diamond was built in 1874. It was responsible for maintaining a vital fleet of torpedo craft during WWI and was the base for a flotilla of minesweepers during WWII. Surprising, despite being on the front line during the Second World War, it escaped serious bombing unlike most other naval ports and has left of legacy of some of the best preserved period buildings. These still stand today and have become an important part of this country naval history. The Royal Navy withdrew from Sheerness in 1960 and most of the buildings were taken over as part of a new commercial port. Although badly neglected the historic buildings survived, a development plan for the historic dockyard area was turned down, and over the last 20 years the houses both within the dock and in Naval Terrace have been restored leaving just the Dockyard church, which is now the subject of major restoration work and will complete the transformation of the area. As part of our social history the houses in Naval Terrace illustrate just how far the living conditions for senior naval officers had progressed by the early 19th century. The original plan showed 5 large three bay houses, probably as per No 7, although today there are in fact 8 houses of differing sizes that complete terrace. The houses were designed not just to appear elegant and imposing, the interiors were well appointed with built-in furniture. It is thought that No 7 was original designated as the Chaplin's house and may at one time have incorporated part of what is now No 8. The houses were designed with fireplaces in each of the principal rooms, beautiful wood floors deep wain skirting, shuttered windows, restrained decorative cornicing and ceiling roses. The staircases were simple but elegant with fine mahogany handrail supported on simple square-section wooden balusters. There were large built-in dressers in the lower ground floor kitchens, cupboards in most of the bedrooms and even a linen cupboard on the landing. It was anticipated that senior officers would not want to travel with unnecessary goods and chattels and that their quarters should be appointed to reflect their rank and status. As staff and servants came in from nearby Blue Town there was no need for servants quarters on the floor, top floor so all the bedrooms were well proportioned with large sash windows, allowing plenty of light to fall into the rooms. This also meant that there was no need for a secondary staircase thus saving valuable space. Staff entered the house by the area steps leading directly from the pavement down to the lower ground floor kitchen and servant's hall. These houses may have been designed for life in the 19th century but they offer the large rooms and flexible accommodation that works so well today and the larger ones, like No 7, make excellent family homes. The restoration of the house has taken place over a number of years, the property was re-roofed about 20 years ago and more recently the leadwork has been replaced and the coachhouse reroofed. The windows have been overhauled and sashcords replaced as required, the wiring, plumbing and heating all brought up to date with a new boiler and pump installed together with a 400 litre hot water cylinder with backup immersion heater. There is a new family bathroom and family shower room as well as a well appointed utility room. Elsewhere the focus has been very much on conservation and bringing the original features back to life while making sure the house is fit for the 21st century and generations to come. The terrace is set well back from the public road with an area of formal lawn to the front which sets off the gracious facades of the houses. To the rear from the first and second floors there is a fine view across the gardens to the similar Regency Terrace houses and gardens on the other side of the dockyard wall.