This former merchant’s house dating from the late 17th century stands on the west side of King Street, on the corner of Ferry Lane. It is thought that an earlier building of similar plan stood on the same site, on land reclaimed from the River Great Ouse. In the early 17th century there were malthouses, brew-houses, warehousing and stables behind the main building, extending along Ferry Lane to the river.
The present house has a frontage onto King Street with two long wings running back towards the river. It is likely that these originally formed two hall houses. By 1711 it had become a single dwelling which was settled in marriage on Charles Peast, a brewer, and his wife, Elizabeth Greene, remaining in the family until the closing part of the 18th century.
At about this time it was extensively altered and once again divided into two dwellings. It was probably at this time that the front elevation was refaced and raised to provide a second storey. The crow-stepped gables on the west elevation date from before the alterations.
In the 1970s, the property fell into disrepair through prolonged vacancy, vandalism and theft. Extensive dry rot set in and the lead was stolen from the roof.
In 1986 the Trust commissioned a feasibility report on its repair and future use. Conversion to residential use was ruled out as the insertion of new staircases, bathrooms and kitchens would have been too intrusive. An office conversion, the preferred option, presented its own challenges in terms of access and fire safety.
The architects, Robert Freakley and Associates, suggested a very sympathetic restoration. The narrow court between the rear wings was roofed over at second floor level. This enabled first floor galleried walkways and a new staircase to be inserted, allowing the original Georgian structure to be seen and appreciated.
During restoration the dry rot was treated and two staircases reconstructed. Panelling, windows and other early features were saved, while unsightly windows in the west elevation were replaced using original materials where possible.
Despite generous grant assistance from English Heritage, the project was completed at a net cost to the Trust. However, the last of the neglected properties in King Street had been saved, making the investment worthwhile. As this was the first project completed after the death of Lady Evershed, the Trust’s founder Chairman, the building was renamed ‘Evershed House’ in her memory.
In 1992 a local firm of solicitors bought the building from the Trust for use as their own offices.