Listing: Dated 1726 on rainwater head; mid/late C16 rear
wing. Early Georgian style. North end of west elevation off
Exchange Street has C16 timber framed gabled bay with brick
underbuilding ... Interior of rear wing has chamfered beams and
jointed cruck trusses.
Comment: This building, now
occupied by a building society, is best remembered under the
name of Copes, though that august company has not been here for
many years. Others may remember it as Joan's Gowns.
The frontage to Queen Square and the first five bays (up to the pilaster)
on the return frontage to Lich Gates, and the building behind those
frontages, seem to have been built altogether; and the date of 1726 seems
The three bays between the pilasters on the return facade are built in
exactly the same style, as is the small return frontage beyond that, though
the continuity with the roof line and the fenestration is not absolutely
exact. It is, in effect, a false front, put up, presumably, in 1726. It
covers a C16 building, which is, in fact, the same building as presents its
original timbered front to Exchange Street.
This sort of re-fronting was not uncommon. The idea was to update the
building and make it look more fashionable. In this case it may also have
been the intention to make the new building at the front look much bigger.
In any event the new symmetrical front did not fit very well with the rooms
and staircases behind it - but that was the price you paid for impressing