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El Pulpo

 

This small terrace of shops opposite Collingwood Road is formed by some very old buildings. The one furthest to the right is all that remains of a 15th-century timber-framed open hall house. This was its left-hand wing, once jettied, with a gable facing the street. The central hall would have stood where the modem building next door now stands. Originally this wing housed service rooms and inside the shop the two doorframes to the now-missing central hall can still be seen. A fireplace and the still-remaining chimney stack were added in the late 16th century and the wing converted to a parlour.

 

In the shop next door is a large brick fireplace with a massive oak beam, which shared the same chimney stack. The buildings were fully restored in 1989 and are listed Grade II.

 

No 33 was a butcher’s shop from 1874 to 1917 when it became a hardware shop. From 1933 to 1969 this was Cutt's fishmonger and then Sweeny’s hairdresser until renovation in 1989. After this renovation it housed the Woolwich Building Society for many years and then after being empty for a number of years became a tea shop, and now El Pulpo tapas bar.

 

Below is an architect’s drawing of the building showing where the original hall house stood.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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