No one approaching [Hampstead Garden Suburb] from Temple Fortune would fail to notice the amazing grace of Arcade House (1909) and Temple Fortune House (1911), the two great terraces of shops and flats designed by A.J. Penty while working in the Hampstead office of Parker and Unwin.
The words of Miller & Gray in their 1992 book, Hampstead Garden Suburb.
These twin buildings (Temple Fortune House can just be discerned to the far left of the image above, and will feature in a future post) present a gateway to the Suburb from Finchley Road which is not far short of awe-inspiring.
They carry the idea of the Suburb as something of a gated community or walled medieval town beautifully. The soaring chimneys and twin overhanging half-hipped gables stand guard like sentries, and there are a multitude of finer details to delight and intrigue.
Delicate balconies appear as though suspended on thin metalwork; the run of shops at ground level are bounded by covered sections of stone piers; and the use of mock timber-framing on the upper level gives the whole arcade the appearance of something rather older.
Another ex-police station (I featured one on Finchley Road previously). This one, just down the hill between Hampstead and Belsize Park, looms large on the corner of Rosslyn and Downshire Hills. It, along with the one on Finchley Road (and many others), was sold off quite recently. This one for more than £14 million. Gosh.
I don’t know what will happen to it, but it’s a very attractive building, especially with that prominent gable on the Rosslyn Hill elevation. It’s a large site, also housing a courthouse and cell block.
It only now occurs to me that the oculus window at the centre of that gable, with its almost eyelash-like white keystone features, could be said to be casting a beady, all-seeing-eye over its area of jurisdiction.
Hampstead Police Station was designed by John Dixon Butler, architect to the Met, who also worked with Norman Shaw on New Scotland Yard. Butler served as surveyor and architect to the Metropolitan Police Force for more than twenty years. He designed numerous other London police stations, including those at Bow, Shoreditch and Tottenham.
Rutland Water is a fairly young body of water. It is one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe, and it has only existed since the early 1970s.
When you choose to flood a valley to create a reservoir, you inevitably rub out features of the landscape, including some which were man-made. Sometimes those features exist at the very edges of the disruption, and that’s pretty much what happened to the church at Normanton, above.
The floor of the church was to be below the proposed water level, and yet locals wanted to retain the building if possible. This was achieved by filling the lower half with rubble and a concrete ‘floor’, creating the ground floor level you see now. It’s only when you learn this fact and look again that you can see the subtle difference; the church appears to be half-buried/underwater.
The church was de-consecrated in 1970, and is now a grade II listed building used for civil weddings and other events.
At 408 feet (124m), Euston Tower stands like a beacon from many angles. It is seen, above, looking north along Tottenham Court Road.
In some ways an unremarkable building, it is nonetheless prominent and certainly draws the eye. It brings to mind other ‘international’ style skyscrapers and office blocks more commonly associated with the City, or other cities like Chicago – or even Manchester, which has a handful of similar glazed, curtain-walled obelisks.
The Parish Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill sits like a crown (or a party hat, if you prefer) atop Hampstead Garden Suburb.
Viewed up close, the building commands respect and a little awe. And viewed from afar – from the Hampstead Heath extension, or from the approach to London from the north – the 178ft-tall spire is visible, like a Google Maps pin marking the centre of the Suburb.
Appropriately, St. Jude’s sits on Central Square, mirrored by the Free Church, also by Lutyens (1908-1910). Both churches are grade I listed.
Pevsner’s goes so far as to say that St. Jude’s is one of Lutyen’s “most successful buildings.”