Hamlet Cottage

Hamlet Cottage is a replacement detached private home located in the St Michael’s Hamlet conservation area of south Liverpool. The project is a dialogue between the architecture of an intimate home, and the defining characteristics of the conservation area setting.

St Michael’s Hamlet is a rus in urbe collection of Grade II* listed villas with grounds constructed in the early nineteenth century, clustered around the Grade I listed Church of St Michael (1814). The buildings were developed by patron John Cragg, owner of the Mersey Iron Foundry, with his architect Thomas Rickman. Cragg’s involvement is significant, with St Michael’s being one of two cast iron churches in Liverpool, and each of the villas features distinctive cast iron features including staircases, columns, mouldings and bracketry, and casement windows.

The Hamlet was a picturesque settlement located close to the shore of the Mersey, near swallowed by the expanding city’s dense residential suburbs over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The villas retain their distinctive appearance at the heart of the Hamlet: white stucco render external walls, a combination of flat and pitched roofs, and expressed bays quoting the church tower. Decorative roof profiles include pediments and castellations; the jumbled assembly of elements achieves coherence though material uniformity, and a regimented adherence to the primacy of the church, with the relationship between each of the quoting ‘tower’ elements on the core cluster identifiable.

Hamlet Cottage retains the foundations of the dwelling it replaces in order to safeguard mature oak trees on the adjacent sites. The new timber frame building sits on an expressed cantilevered GGBS concrete foundation, with a contemporary composition in dialogue with the surrounding villas: vertical proportioned openings, stucco rendered external walls, a playful decorative roofline to the pitched rear profile, and a clear quotation to the buttresses of the church and villas in the expressed chimney.