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High House, Witham

Lian Restaurant


Next to the old post office is High House, a genuine Georgian house of the mid-18th century. It was built three storeys high (hence its name) but the top storey was removed in 1934, somewhat spoiling its appearance. However, its elegant pedimented portico with Ionic columns and its imitation balustraded balcony above, still remain. Note also the tall windows on the ground floor and the much shorter windows on the upper floor, a feature of Georgian houses intended to emphasise their height. The building is an exact copy of Abraham Swann’s ‘Design in Architecture’ of 1757 and is listed Grade II*.


For about seventy years, in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was occupied by two surgeons, first Thomas Tomkin and then Frank Payne. They ran a private asylum called 'The Retreat' in Maldon Road. Between 1929 and 1937 it was the home of a pork butcher, Hedley Cook, who had his shop in an extension on the left. The Cook family and some of the shop staff lived here at various times. During the war years, it was used as the public library. Shortly after the war, it became a chemist's shop when Charles Stoffer moved here from his first shop next door. He was later to be joined by his partner Ken Hunter to form Stoffer and Hunter. Since 1970 it has been a restaurant under various names. First, it was Percy Hamilton's then the Taj Mahal then Eureka and for a time in the late 1970s The Raza Tandoori. Since the early 1980s it has been Lian Chinese Restaurant.


The photograph below shows the house in its original form.

High House, Witham before removal of top floor.
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