Maintenance of Fisher House

Fisher House is a Grade II listed building, consisting of properties of different ages. It originally comprised two small 16th– and 17th-century houses, the first at length-ways to Guildhall Street, the second at right angles to it on the east side, linked by a later building. These properties were substantially remodeled in the 17th or early 18th centuries. At a later period one part of the building was the Black Swan public house, which was later enlarged with a two-storey addition, the brick façade of which is still clearly visible on Guildhall Street.

This complex of small buildings, including the original domestic properties and the later public house, was purchased by CUCA in 1925. Subsequent alterations, both internally and externally, allowed the formation of spaces suitable for a library and chapel. Both the original domestic properties and later additions were joined by bridges or annexes to form one building.

In the mid 1960s, with the decision to requisition a large number of properties in this part of the city to make way for a shopping precinct, Fisher House was threatened with demolition. Its listed status, acquired at this time, and a vigorous campaign on the part of CUCA and the chaplains, helped save it from demolition; but the shopping precinct, Lion Yard, was built all round it and completed in the early 1970s.

At the same time CUCA was fortunate to raise sufficient funds to allow it to build a large new chapel, for its growing congregation, which also functioned as a space for commercial letting to provide income to run the Chaplaincy. The new chapel opened in 1976.

Since that time the city’s central library has expanded, and now overlooks Fisher House, a new shopping precinct in the shape of the Grand Arcade has been built, an exterior seating area known as Fisher Square has been remodeled, and the central car park has been extended.

The consequence of the 1970s construction and later building work is that the original properties that form the house itself were hemmed in on all sides by buildings of a much later period, making access to many parts of the original Fisher House very difficult, thus complicating by some measure normal maintenance work.

In Spring 2014 maintenance work was undertaken, comprising repairs to the roof, gutters, windows, down pipes, chimney stacks and walls. The work followed the recommendations laid down in an Asset Management Plan prepared for CUCA by the Freeland Rees Roberts architectural practice.

We are now drawing up plans for the maintenance of the north east and south west parts of the Chaplaincy.  Details of the planned will be posted on this page early in 2016. If you can help us meet our maintenance costs, we’d be extremely grateful.