The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Department stores

Debenhams – Stratford-upon-Avon

Nominated by: C20 Society
Have C20 acted upon before? yes
Region: West Midlands
Former names: J.C. Smiths
Dates from: 1960-61
Built for: J.C. Smiths
Architect: Healing & Overbury
Listed: Curtilage listed

The former department store (nos. 33-35 High Street) is located to the rear of the 19th-century nos. 3 & 4 Wood Street. 3 & 4 Wood Street is Grade II listed, and 33-35 High Street falls within its curtilage.

3 & 4 Wood Street were occupied from the late 19th/early 20th century by the drapers J.C. Smith. Over time, J.C. Smith expanded and acquired nos. 33, 34 and 35 on the High Street. In 1960-61, J.C. Smith employed the architects Healing & Overbury to design the new department store on the site. The partnership was formed by Samuel Holland Healing and Thomas Overbury in Cheltenham in c.1905 and remained in practice until the 1990s. The architects designed several department stores, including that in Nuneaton, also for J.C. Smith, which was built in the 1930s and is partly locally listed. J.C. Smith was later acquired by Debenhams but the Stratford store continued to operate under its original name until the late 20th century. The store is a modest brick-clad structure, designed in a Neo-Georgian style.

The Debenhams store closed in April 2020. In early September 2021, an application for Listed Building Consent was submitted to demolish the 1960s store and build 5 new retail units and a 148-bed hotel (Stratford-on-Avon District Council reference 21/02322/LBC). The Society has objected to the total demolition of the curtilage listed building and encouraged the applicant to consider potential alternative uses. The applicant is Blue Coast Stratford LLP and the architects Mountford Pigott. Last update: September 2021.

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