Mitre House was built in 1935 on the site of the buildings on the left of this photo. This part of Western Road was always somewhat wider than the eastern end, the projecting buildings of which can be seen in the distance. Even so, judging by the kerb line, it appears that the Boots building of 1928, in neo- classical style with Ionic columns, was set back somewhat from the pre-existing building line. Beyond Boots can be seen the 1930's Stafford store. This picture must date from the period 1929-34 but, as some work appears to have started on the corner of Spring Street, probably nearer 1934.
Mitre House was built for International Stores which occupied a large shop on the ground floor and was still there in the 1958. Next door was Moores, a prestigious car showroom: and towards Spring Street there was also the chemist, Timothy Whites; Bata, a shoe shop; and a branch of W H Smiths.
Coming to the present, part of Mitre House has now been unoccupied for about nine years and the upper facade is showing its age. It has also been mightily disfigured (at least from some viewpoints) by a miscellaneous collection of aerials sprouting from its roof. However, some succour appears now to be in prospect with an application to create a 131-bedroom budget hotel being approved by the City Council’s planning committee yesterday afternoon (3 Nov 2010). (See press release)
The 1930s building is in two blocks separated by a light well and the application relates to the northern block fronting on Hampton Street; but it seems the Western Road entrance will be used for the hotel with one of the shops being converted to a reception area. Conversion also entails adding a fourth floor to the building.
It is to be given new steel windows; and its distinctive brick-clad facades are, unfortunately, fated to disappear under a coat of render, but this is probably the only economical way to deal with flaking brickwork