Crypt Chambers
Crypt Chambers (or Crypt Building) is at 28”“34 Eastgate Street and 34”“40 Eastgate Row, Chester, Cheshire, England. It has bee designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building and incorporates a section of the Chester Rows.

History
Crypt Chambers is built on the site of a medieval house whose undercroft is still present. The present building was constructed in 1858 to a design by T. M. Penson. It was built as a department store for William and Charles Brown of the Browns of Chester family of drapers.

Architecture

Exterior
The building is in four storeys plus attics in Early English style. It is constructed in red and yellow sandstone with a roof of brown tiles. The façade is asymmetrical, having a square stair turret, with three bays to the east and one wider bay to the west. At the street level five steps at the base of the tower lead down to the undercroft and in the middle east bay eight steps lead up to the Row level. Between these are shop fronts. At the Row level are cast iron railings behind which are stallboards and above them are moulded arches. On the front of the tower at this level is a blank scroll, on the east face is a recessed panel containing the initials W. B. (for William Brown), on the west face the initials are C. B. (for Charles Brown) and on the rear face is a scroll inscribed AD 1858: CRYPT CHAMBERS. On each side of the entrance to the shop are the Chester City arms. In each of the third and fourth storeys of the east bays are three pairs of arched, two-light windows with slender columns between each pair. In the west bay are four two-light arched windows in each storey. At this level on the tower is a two-storey oriel window. Above these storeys, the central eastern bay has a gable containing a traceried window in a rounded triangle, on each side of which are three-light dormer windows. The west bay also has a gable; this contains a small triangular oriel. The tower has a four-light window between shallow buttresses. The top of the tower consists of a truncated spire with a gabled dormer on each face. At its summit is a cast iron rail.

Interior
The undercroft consists of four bays with chamfered rib-vaulting; the masonry is "of high quality". The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner considered this undercroft to be "one of the best medieval crypts of Chester". Much of the structure above the undercroft has been changed or covered by modern materials.

Present day
Crypt Chambers still contains a department store, Debenhams, which maintains its traditional name of Browns of Chester. The undercroft is used as a restaurant.

Building Activity

  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com