Ancient meets modern as one of Banbury's most protected town centre buildings is transformed into homes

Ancient has been blended with modern as one of Banbury's most protected town centre buildings has been transformed into homes.

By Roseanne Edwards
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 12:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 8:36 pm
The Robins shop pictured in 1921
The Robins shop pictured in 1921

The 16C property above and behind Robins store – most recently Cargo - has been converted into seven flats for the 21st century buyer and each one retains features of its fascinating past.

The old building, whose Market Place shop has been used over recent decades for trading under the names Carpenter and Shergold, has been transformed into unique apartments now known as Tudor Yard.

It is a Grade 2 Star listed building – one of only two buildings in Banbury to have that level of protection. The other is the historic Reindeer Inn in Parsons Street.

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Robins in Banbury Market Place - now restored and converted into unusual apartments

The restoration project has carefully combined history with modernisation. What might have been a dark and dingy rear yard has been made into a landscaped and illuminated courtyard with natural sandstone paving.

The yard is accessed through a specially designed cast-iron gate made by Little Newsham Forge, a gold medal award winning blacksmith, whose craftsmen have taken inspiration from the Banbury town crest.

Ancient rooms once used for storage and offices have been converted into kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms which retain original windows, staircases, exposed brickwork, timbers and internal doors dating back to the 19th and early 20th century.

Historic touches have been included, such as some framed poetry discovered in the building and believed to date back to 1742, an original ironmongers’ stock door and an original limewood window with leaded lights

These historic, original beams are now a feature of this bedroom in one of the Tudor Yard apartments

And comforts essential to 21st century living, from central heating to Velux windows have been part of the renovation.

The building survived the great fire of 1628 and was kept by the Robins family as an ironmongers for nearly 100 years.

Martin Upton, director of Stanbra Powell estate agent, which is selling the flats, said: “It’s a really unusual restoration. The developer has designed it meticulously to blend the building’s 16th century features with a contemporary feel. It’s a project that has carefully combined history with modernisation."

A listed status legally protects a building from being demolished, extended or inappropriately altered so that its special interest can be preserved. According to English Heritage, all buildings built before 1700, as well as those constructed between 1700 and 1840, are to be protected.

A unique kitchen incorporating the original woodwork of the Market Place property, now called Tudor Yard

Grade 2* listed buildings – Only 5.8 per cent of listed buildings are Grade 2* which are considered as particularly important buildings of more than special interest. They usually have extra merit such as outstanding interiors. Examples of Grade 2* buildings include the Coliseum Theatre in London.

Grade 1 buildings make up just 2.5 per cent of listed buildings. These buildings are of exceptional interest with outstanding architecture and historic significance. Some famous examples include the Palace of Westminster, Warwick Castle, King’s College London Chapel and Buckingham Palace.

Banbury’s other Grade 2* listed building, Ye Old Reindeer Inn, Parsons Street first opened as an inn in 1570. It boasts the Globe Room, built from 1629 – 37 and marks the inn as a place of high standing in the town, with the room’s ornate oak wooden panelling and extravagant mullioned windows, the likes of which had never been previously seen in Banbury.

The Tudor Yard apartments are for sale from £190,000 – £250,000.

These old apothecary drawers add a unique touch to one apartment
A wonderful old staircase has been restored during the conversion
An old door gives the new luxurious apartments the flavour of past times
A specially-designed gate, bearing the Banbury emblem of the Sun, is on the boundary of the development