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East of Bloomsbury, Part 5: Regent and Argyle Squares

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

This is the fifth part of a walking tour following a Pevsner Perambulation in part of Bloomsbury, London; the previous part is here. See the introduction for fuller details; page references are to the Pevsner Buildings of England series volume London 4: North.


Regent Square

Regent Square

We start at Regent Square, entering the gardens in the centre.
The large terrace on the south side (Nos 1-17) is the only one remaining from the original development of the square in around 1829. The last three to the left are set slightly forward and are all that remains of the original houses in Sidmouth St (Nos 51-55).

51-55 Sidmouth St

51-55 Sidmouth St


United Reformed Church, Regent Sq

United Reformed Church, Regent Sq

To the right is the United Reformed Church (originally Presbyterian), which now goes by the trendy name of Lumen. The complex occupies the corner with Wakefield Street. This is a outwardly plain brick modern building of 1965 replacing its bomb-damaged Victorian Gothic predecessor; judging from pictures this was a major wartime loss.


Regent Square, NW corner

Regent Square, NW corner

Turning around to view the opposite (north) side of the square we see postwar redevelopment. To the left and in front of us are former LCC flats of c. 1958, and at the right hand end is the more modern St Peter’s Court. As its name suggests it replaced a redundant church of the same name (originally by the Inwoods of 1820s, with Greek portico similar in style to St Pancras by the same builders and damaged during the war). Notices in the square give an account of some of its history and residents.

Regent Square, NE corner

Regent Square, NE corner


Holy Cross church

Holy Cross church, Cromer St

We leave Regent Square by the NW corner between the LCC flats which brings us through to Cromer Street beside Holy Cross church. This brick towerless building was built in the Early English style in 1887 by Joseph Peacock (see p255) and is hard to photograph in summer! I have never found it open except for services.


Cromer Street, White Heather House

Cromer Street, White Heather House

We turn right on Cromer Street and go along as far as necessary to look at the flats on both sides of the road, which show the development of council housing from the thirties to the fifties. The first few blocks on the left hand (North) side are early St Pancras Borough Council housing dating from either side of the war, White Heather House serving as an example. By contrast the right hand side consists of nine blocks of flats placed at right angles to the street built 1949-51 and refurbished 1996 so they look newer than they are. Four more are on the north side.

Cromer Street, S side

Cromer Street, South side


Tankerton Street

Tankerton Street

We now retrace our steps along Cromer Street to look at some earlier public housing erected by the East End Dwellings Company. The streets on the right are each filled by single developments of flats which although cramped must have been a vast improvement on what they replaced. Tankerton Street, of 1893, is an example (2nd street on the Right).


Tonbridge House, Tonbridge Street

Tonbridge House, Tonbridge Street

We continue to Tonbridge St (opposite Holy Cross church) which we turn into. Tonbridge House on the left hand side is slightly newer (1904) and more spacious, having been built by the LCC. The original sign remains.

Tonbridge House sign

Sign on Tonbridge House, Tonbridge Street


Argyle School

Argyle School, Tonbridge Street

Continuing along Tonbridge Street, Argyle School (see p.263) a little further along on the right hand side, a good example of a Board school slightly hidden from the road by a brick wall.


Argyle Street

Argyle Street

We turn right just before the school and cut through the alleyway into Argyle Street. This is the most complete of a block of a few streets centred around Argyle Square developed in the 1820s, in this case from 1826.

We continue straight on in Argyle Square itself on the left, which has terraces on three sides (many of them now hotels) and a small garden and a basketball court in the centre. This was developed slightly later than the surrounding streets, in the 1840s.

Argyle Square

Argyle Square


Crestfield Street

Crestfield Street

The other streets are more mixed, with original terraces interspersed with newer infill. Crestfield Street and Birkenhead Street both date from 1826 extend the long sides of the square the north (the left as we approach) and St Chad’s Street (from 1827 onwards), forms the continuation of the north side.

Birkenhead Street

Birkenhead Street


St Chad's Street

St Chad’s Street

We continue along St Chad’s Street to the main road at the end, which is Gray’s Inn Road and where the next section of the tour continues.

A further post will continue the tour.

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East of Bloomsbury, Part 4

February 23, 2012 Leave a comment

This is the fourth part of a walking tour following a Pevsner Perambulation in part of Bloomsbury, London; the previous part is here. See the introduction for fuller details; page references are to the Pevsner Buildings of England series volume London 4: North.

St George's Gardens

St George's Gardens

This part of the tour starts on the corner of Cartwright Gardens and Hastings Street and covers a section where some of the original early 19the Century development has survived amid later apartment blocks. We turn left into Hastings Street and immediately right into Sandwich Street. In the centre on the left hand side is the Lutheran Church and hostel.

Sandwich Street, Lutheran Hostel

Sandwich Street, Lutheran Hostel

The church is in the basement; if it were not for the cross outside the door it would not be apparent that this is a place of worship.

German Lutheran Church, Sandwich Street

German Lutheran Church, Sandwich Street


Sandwich Street

Sandwich Street

An original 4-storey terrace (nos 1 to 9) is immediately beyond the church on the same side.


Leigh Street

Leigh Street

We continue to the end to Leigh Street. Facing us is another significant terrace (nos 1 to 19), mostly with shops on the ground floor.

We turn left into Leigh Street, where just beyond the corner of Thanet Street and contrasting with the original houses opposite is Medway Court of 1949-55, which is better seen from this side rather than from Judd St where Pevsner mentions it.

Medway Court

Medway Court


Thanet Street

Thanet Street

We now enter Thanet Street, where we find another original terrace (nos 8 to 17), this time (unusually) with only two storeys.


87-103 Judd Street

87-103 Judd Street

At the end we turn right (into Hastings Street again) and then immediately right again into Judd Street. Around here, although not especially noticed by Pevsner, are several large red brick Edwardian mansion blocks. Another long original terrace (nos 87 to 103) is on the right hand side. Number 95 is one of a handful in this area with an original shop front.

95 Judd St

95 Judd St


Medical Centre, Hunter Street

Medical Centre, Hunter Street

We continue on past Medway House as Judd Street becomes Hunter Street, heading back towards the Brunswick Centre. On the corner with Handel Street is the Health Centre. This is best viewed from the steps of the Brunswick Centre, as are the late Georgian houses at 3-4 Hunter Street on the same side.

3-4 Hunter Street

3-4 Hunter Street


Handel Street

Handel Street

We cross over into Handel Street where nos 4-7 are on the right hand side, sandwiched between Edwardian mansion blocks.


A short deviation now from the tour as given to take in St George’s Gardens (see p. 263), which we enter through the gateway at the end of Handel Street.

St George's Gardens

St George's Gardens

This is one of several similar small gardens in this part of London, laid out in what were originally overflow cemeteries for neighbouring parish churches, an early attempt to solve the problem of lack of space inside overcrowded churchyards. A line of stone slabs along the centre marks the boundary between the former burial grounds for the parishes of St George, Bloomsbury and St George the Martyr, Holborn. At the time it was created (1713) it lay outside the built-up area. Although unpopular at first, it soon filled up and eventually became gardens in 1882. The gardens are landscaped around the large remaining 18th Century chest tombs and obelisk.

St George's Gardens Lodge and Chapel

St George's Gardens Lodge and Chapel

Just on the right inside the gate as we enter are the early 19th Century former mortuary chapel and the Lodge beside it.

Immediately in front of us as we enter is the statue of Euterpe removed from the Apollo Inn, Tottenham Court Road when it was demolished in 1961.

Euterpe, St George's Gardens

Euterpe

The earliest notable memorial is to Robert Nelson of 1715, who was one of the promoters of the cemetery and who by being buried here himself made it more acceptable. It is easily identified by the urn on top, on the right hand side.

Nelson Memorial

Robert Nelson Memorial

We pass out through the exit at the far left hand corner into Regent Square, where the tour continues.

East of Bloomsbury Part 3: Around Cartwright Gardens

December 1, 2011 2 comments

This is the third part of a walking tour following a Pevsner Perambulation in part of Bloomsbury, London; the previous part is here. See the introduction for fuller details; page references are to the Pevsner Buildings of England series volume London 4: North.

We start at the south end of Cartwright Gardens, which forms a crescent on the left with gardens in the centre, but first we look at right hand (straight) side, which is filled by three uninspiring University of London Halls of Residence (see pp. 281), collectively known as the Garden Halls.

Commonwealth Hall

Commonwealth Hall, Cartwright Gardens, London WC1

Commonwealth Hall of 1960-3 (planned 1947) is the first block on the right on the corner of Leigh St.

Hughes Parry Hall

Hughes Parry Hall, Cartwright Gardens

Hughes Parry Hall of 1967-9 is furthest on the corner of Sandwich Street. Between the two and not noticed by Pevsner is Canterbury Hall, of 1937 according to its website, which is no less worthy of notice than it neighbours and has some interesting period detail at least around the entrance.

Canterbury Hall

Canterbury Hall, Cartwright Gardens


John Cartwright statue

John Cartwright statue

Opposite in centre of the east (straight) side is a statue of John Cartwright, after whom the Crescent is named. The gardens are dominated by tennis courts and are not normally open.


The main crescent is formed of two sets of substantial original (c1820) terraces. In Trollope‘s day, this was known as Burton Crescent and he used it as the setting for the boarding house where Johnny Eames lodged while in London, in his Barset Chronicle The Small House at Allington. The boarding houses of Trollope’s day have now become hotels in the south quadrant, and the bulk of the north quadrant, which was refurbished during 2008, looks like it is University accommodation.

Cartwright Gardens, northern quadrant

Cartwright Gardens, northern quadrant


4-7 Burton Place

4-7 Burton Place

In the centre between the two parts of the crescent is Burton Place, which we enter. Nos 4-7 are on the right (North side) and were built as four houses disguised as one.


Burton Street, rear of BMA building

Burton Street, rear of BMA building

Burton Place leads into Burton Street. Immediately in front and stretching northwards is the rear of British Medical Association building (1911-25, see p 265-6) of which the prominent part is Lutyens’s’ great hall. The rest is more recent and plainer.

Original terraces are to the left, which is a cul-de-sac, so there is no need to go in that direction.

Burton Street, London WC1

Burton Street


We turn right along Burton Street along the length of the BMA building, then left at the end. Almost immediately in front are Woburn Walk and Duke’s Road.

Woburn Walk

Woburn Walk


Woburn Walk is to the left with the original (1822) bay-fronted shops on both sides, Duke’s Road is to the right with similar buildings on one side only (the one facing us). They form quite a picturesque group and can occasionally be seen as a backdrop in period TV dramas or films.

Duke's Rd

Duke's Rd


Dukes's Rd, The Place

Duke's Rd, The Place

Opposite in Duke’s Road is the former Drill Hall (“The Place”) of 1888-9. This is now used by a Dance School, more modern buildings stretching out of sight behind it. It is used as a café and retains its original terracotta embellishments revealing its original identity for the Middlesex (Artists’) Rifle Volunteers.

Duke's Rd, The Place, terracotta

Terracotta decoration on The Place, Dukes's Rd


Flaxman Terrace, lodge

Flaxman Terrace, lodge

We retrace our steps back to Flaxman Terrace. The right hand side consists of an early (1907-8) public housing development by St Pancras Borough Council. Immediately on the corner is the caretaker’s lodge, and behind it on the right are the flats of 1908. Note the iron railings in front which include the St Pancras coat of arms.

Flaxman Terrace

Flaxman Terrace


Hamilton House

Hamilton House, Mabledon Place

We continue to the end of Flaxman Terrace to Mabledon Place. The Headquarters of the National Union of Teachers, Hamilton House occupies the block opposite and to the right, between Bidborough Street and Hastings Street. This is one of many current or former Trade Union Headquarters buildings, which have congregated up and down the Euston Road because of the good rail links to the rest of the country.

Hamilton House, doorway

Hamilton House, doorway

At the right hand corner of Hamilton House we find ourselves at the North end of Cartwright Gardens once again and we turn left into Hastings Street where the next section of the tour continues.