On the southern corner of Church Alley and Church Street is Spinney House, built as a department store and retail headquarters for the Littlewoods empire. The building now houses the retailer Primark. It was built in the early fifties, echoing the pared-down classicism (pilasters not columns; shallow friezes not deeply sculpted pediments etc.) of the best 1930s designs. Perhaps this is why Pevsner describes the style as being 'a rather coarse imitation of Rowse'. The detail is nautical or military throughout. Pilasters, window ledges and capitals have tridents and dolphins, there are roundels of horn-blowing nymphs and there are lobster and shell carvings at the roof's edge. Also present are four faces: War, Peace, a stern sailor and a distinctly Scottish soldier.
Alan Maycock © 2008
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