Old Saint Michaels, Braintree

Set within beautiful landscaped courtyard gardens, the collection of Grade II Listed Victorian buildings at Old Saint Michaels have been meticulously converted into 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, homes and boutique offices. New build homes have also been sensitively added to this award-winning development by City & Country.  

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    Old Saint Michaels

    Set within beautiful landscaped courtyard gardens, the collection of Grade II Listed Victorian buildings at Old Saint Michaels have been meticulously converted into 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments,...

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Interior Design

History

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  • 1837
    Old Saint Michaels was built as a Union workhouse in 1837-8 by Royston architects, William Nash. William was 38 when he designed Old Saint Michaels and throughout his career he worked on many other projects in East Anglia, including other public and institutional buildings, churches and houses. He based his design on an 1835 model plan produced by Samson Kempthorne. Old Saint Michaels is a rare example of a hexagon plan workhouse with a Y-shaped main building and is the last remaining of its kind in Essex.

    The Kempthorne “Y” plan traditionally had a central “hub” from which radiated accommodation wings for the different classes of inmate defined by the Commissioners – infirm males, infirm females, able-bodied males, able-bodied females, boys, girls, and children under seven. Each complex also had an entrance or administrative block at the far end of one of the wings, infirmaries and chapels and other larger buildings were often added to the basic shape. Ancillary, single-storey perimeter buildings gave each workhouse its distinctive hexagonal outline. The grounds were used as exercise yards, segregated according to class.
  • 1896
    At Old Saint Michaels a large infirmary using this plan was built c. 1849 and the buildings underwent constant modifications throughout the nineteenth century. In 1896-1897, new casual and receiving wards and a new boardroom were built to the south of the workhouse. At the same time, the flanking wings of the entrance block at the foot of the ‘Y’ were rebuilt as infirmary accommodation. A new kitchen and chapel were erected between the hub and infirmary in the late nineteenth century.
  • 1948
    In 1948, the workhouse became part of the newly formed National Health Service. The ensuing changes and additions were often rather unsympathetic to the original buildings.
  • 2000
    The buildings that exist today comprise the “Y” with its three, three-storey ranges and front entrance block flanked by the later infirmary wings. Many of the outbuildings and boundary walls arranged around the hexagonal perimeter also survive, as well as part of the original infirmary, casual and receiving wards and board room. Other workhouse original features include its bakery and laundry, complete with weighing scales!
  • 2015
    The buildings are fully restored with all properties and commerical premises occupied.
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Old Saint Michaels, Braintree


CM7 2AA

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