Listed Building record MDR23225 - St Elizabeth's Convent, off Matlock Road, Belper

Type and Period (1)

  • (Victorian to 21st Century - 1896 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

St Elizabeth's Convent, off Matlock Road, Belper, built in 1896. From the National Heritage List for England: 'Summary House, 1896 by Maurice Hunter; commissioned by George Herbert Strutt for John Hunter. Reasons for Designation St Elizabeth House, Belper, of 1896, commissioned by George Herbert Strutt for John Hunter and designed by Maurice Hunter, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: Architectural interest: * as an accomplished example of a late-C19 neo-Jacobean house with Arts & Crafts influences, designed by Maurice Hunter (later Hunter and Woodhouse, the Strutt family’s architectural practice of choice); * for its high-quality internal joinery including the main open staircase, and its fireplaces, fittings, and plaster ceilings. Historic interest: * for its association with the Strutt family, eminent mill-owners and philanthropists in Belper. Group value * with the nearby registered Grade II* River Gardens, which were paid for by George Herbert Strutt in 1905 and for which Woodhouse and Hunter designed the tea house. History St Elizabeth House was constructed as ‘Quarry Bank’ on an open site adjacent to the former Weir Quarry on the northern edge of Belper in 1896. The house was designed by Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Hunter (later of Hunter and Woodhouse, a practice set up in 1897), and was commissioned by the mill entrepreneur George Herbert Strutt (1854-1928) for John Hunter. George Herbert Strutt was the grandson of Jedediah Strutt (1726-1797), the co-inventor of the Derby Rib machine, who also worked with Richard Arkwright with another spinner, Samuel Need, to build the cotton mill at Cromford where the water frame was first used. Strutt built his first mill in Belper in 1777 (the workers’ houses connected to which are now part of the Derwent Valley WHS); by the mid-C19 there were eight Strutt mills in Belper (the one surviving Strutt mill, North Mill, is just to the south-west of Elizabeth House and is listed at Grade I). In 1897 the Strutt family sold their mills and set upon a period of diversification in Belper, constructing many public buildings and farms, and large houses designed to attract businessmen to the area - all to the designs of Hunter and Woodhouse. John and Maurice Hunter were brothers (their father, John senior (1844-1886), had been a partner in WG and J Strutt). Maurice set up his architectural practice in Belper in 1888 after training as a civil engineer in Hull; he also acted as agent for the Strutt’s outlying regions, and was awarded an OBE for his services to the Fifth Sherwood Foresters although he never saw active service. John Hunter (1853-1937) was the Strutt’s private secretary, and also director of the mill business and leader of the Belper Urban District Council from 1876. He was also awarded an OBE. Quarry Bank was built at a cost of £4000 by Walker and Slater of Derby (double that of the Strutt’s other houses in Belper) – the construction went to tender, which was unusual for the Strutts who usually did everything in house or used JK Ford of Derby. Henry Gillett of Belper was the plumber and glazier. The house was one of the most notable residences built by the Strutts in Belper, neo-Jacobean in style with Arts and Crafts influences. John Hunter died in 1937 and Arthur Strutt put the house up for auction in 1946.The sales particulars state that it was a ‘commodious Residence of sound construction’ with special attention being drawn to the fine oak woodwork and fittings. It was sold to the Franciscan Sisterhood and converted to St Elizabeth’s Catholic School. The stained-glass windows in the drawing room and first-floor landing were inserted at this time. In 2001 it was sold and converted back into a private residence. Details House, 1896 by Maurice Hunter; commissioned by George Herbert Strutt for John Hunter. MATERIALS: regularly-coursed squared gritstone and ashlar gritstone dressings; slate roofs. PLAN: two storeys with attic rooms and two-cell basement, rectangular in plan with an L-shaped extension to the north east. There are three axial stacks and a further stack to the front-left bay. EXTERIOR: the house is roughly orientated north-east to south-west with the principal front facing south-east. The principal front is of three bays defined by gables with kneelers and ball finials. On the ground floor, off-centre in the central bay is a square porch with balustrading above and timber-panelled door; the remainder of the ground floor bay protrudes and has a crenelated parapet. The left-hand bay has a stepped buttress rising to a corbel supporting a canted oriel window with decorative tracery panels and a crenellated parapet at first-floor level. The first floor windows have hood moulds and within the gable ends are triple-slots with a drip mould above. On the south-east elevation there is a crenulated canted bay-window at the ground floor, and an oriel of the same design to that on the main elevation to the first floor. Within the gable is a three-light window with mullions and transoms. The north-west elevation has a canted bay-window to the right and a square bay-window in the centre, both with crenellated parapets. Off-centre in the central bay at attic level is single gable with kneelers and a three-light window. To the left of the gable are two C20 rooflights. There is a single entrance with steps in the left-hand bay. The extension to the north-east steps down to two-storeys from the main building, and then to a single storey which has a later C20 uPVC conservatory attached to the south-east elevation (a structure is show here on historic OS maps). All windows to the main house have mullions and transoms, and have metal or timber casements (probably 1940s replacements) throughout. INTERIOR: the house is entered through the porch on the south-east elevation into a vestibule which is partitioned from the entrance hallway by a panelled oak screen with coloured patterned glass panels and with a central door. There is a rooflight above the first part of the entrance hall which leads through an elliptical archway to the main hall from where all rooms on the ground floor can be accessed. Panelled doors and architraves throughout are oak. The main feature of the hallway is the grand, open stair, constructed in oak with panelled spandrel framing (including an understairs cupboard). It has a curved, panelled quarter-landing at ground level, decoratively-carved newel posts with finials, a carved baluster, and egg-and-dart detailing. Skirting boards are deep and of oak; the floor is of oak boards; a deeply-moulded cornice and dado rail run around the entrance hall; and there is a timber and tiled, Arts and Crafts-style fireplace on the north-west wall. The principal rooms off the hallway are a dining room and drawing room. The dining room has a large north-west-facing bay window, a panelled, decorative-plaster ceiling, coved cornices, deep oak skirting boards and a large fireplace on the south-east wall. The drawing room also has a decorative plaster ceiling and cornice, and a timber fireplace – the south-west-facing windows are filled with stained glass depicting Saints (these probably date to the late 1940s). No information is available about the other principal ground-floor spaces although they are likely to have good-quality fireplaces and other architectural features. A rear service stair with a turned baluster is located next to the dining room. The kitchen is in the north-east extension along with other service rooms – there are few features of interest although the doors appear to be C19 and there are quarry tiles to the kitchen floor. The main staircase leads to a gallery landing, with a large mullion-and-transom window with stained glass including heraldic crests on the south-east side (overlooking the porch roof); this may be C19 in date. The landing has a moulded cornice, framed panels to the walls, and deep skirting boards. Off the landing are five bedrooms; most have moulded ceiling cornices and simpler fireplaces. The attic storey, located on the north-west side of the house, has four bedrooms and a bathroom, and appears to retain C19 joinery. This description is based on the information available at the time, and therefore not all features are fully described and there may be others of further interest within the house. Sources Websites Belper Derbyshire: People: The Strutts - Biography, accessed 24/06/2020 from Houseladder sales particulars (nd) , accessed 25/06/2020 from Rightmove sales particulars (2016), accessed 25/06/2020 from The Guardian, Homes with stained glass, 19 April 2019 , accessed 24/06/2020 from The Guardian, The brothers who made a stand, 8 November 2008, accessed 24/06/2020 from Wikipedia: George Herbert Strutt, accessed 24/06/2020 from Wikipedia: Jedediah Strutt, accessed 24/06/2020 from Other Historic photographs and information supplied by applicant Historic photographs from the ‘Belper and Proud’ and ‘Historic Belper’ Facebook groups (June 2020) Ordnance Survey, Derbyshire (1900) (1:2500).' (1)

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.



Grid reference SK 34843 48339 (point)

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Record last edited

Aug 30 2022 7:34PM

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