Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Islington (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 31607 82082



TQ3182SE CLERKENWELL ROAD 635-1/74/287 (South side) Nos.49-53 (Odd)


Former Holborn Union Offices. Dated 1885 on the foundation stone and 1886 on the corner pediment. By Alfred Saxon Snell for the Board of Guardians. Blue brick to the base, the street elevations entirely of rubbed brick with cut and moulded dressings, roof of Welsh slate. In the Queen Anne style. There is a symmetrical front of three storeys and fourteen windows to Clerkenwell Road, with a slightly projecting centrepiece of two windows, and outer, slightly projecting bays of three windows; there are also a wing of two storeys and eleven windows in Britton Street, and a canted two-storey bay to the corner; the windows throughout the building are typically flat-arched with the lower part of the gauged brick head cut back in an ogee profile, and the glazing bars are original throughout, so far as visible. Three round-arched entrances in Clerkenwell Road, the central entrance broader; the outer entrances have pilasters, stilted arch and archivolt; the entrances are flanked by fluted Doric pilasters which overlap their mouldings in a way typical of the building; these carry an entablature with triglyph frieze, festoons and drops, and a pediment, that to the centre segmental. Each entrance has a doorcase with a wooden cornice and scrolled pedimented central panel to the fanlight. Two sets of three windows between the entrances, their architraves unmoulded apart from the ogee heads and overlapping the simple entablature which runs between the entrances. On the first floor the outer bays have three round-arched windows with a decorative transom running across at springing level; they are flanked by pilasters with capitals at the springing and a second shorter range of pilasters above, the spandrels filled with festoons and drops; pediments with raking cornice; the central bay has two flat-arched windows flanked by pilasters supporting the main cornice, and two oculi above, flanked by pilasters supporting a segmental pediment; two sets of three flat-arched windows to either side, overlapping and interrupting the frieze of festoons; cornice with dentil and egg-and-dart mouldings; pedimented dormers in mansard roof; stacks with triglyph frieze and deeply projecting cornice. The wing in Britton Street and the corner bay continue the detailing from Clerkenwell Road, with plain architraves overlapping the horizontal mouldings, though the two storeys are both taller than in Clerkenwell Road. A frieze of scrolling foliage runs across the ground floor, and the ground-floor windows are divided into lower and upper lights at that point; the upper floor has a frieze of swags and drops, plus aprons of ogee profile to the windows; the cornice and parapet continue, with an aedicule to the corner with scrolled consoles, fluted pilasters, segmental pediment and central cartouche inscribed 'HOLBORN UNION OFFICES 1886'; stacks with triglyph frieze and cornice; lantern, square in plan, with ogee lead roof and finial. The interior retains a number of original features. Principal staircase from ground to first floor of double imperial type with elaborate cast- iron balusters and mahogany rail; decorative plaster ceiling to staircase hall, and Aesthetic Movement stained glass to landing window. Secondary staircase from first to second floor in Clerkenwell Road with similar balusters. Passage from landing to Board of Guardians' Room has decorative terrazzo flooring and decorative tilework to the dado. The Board of Guardians' Room on the first floor in Britton Street has a panelled dado and original architraves to doors; elaborate chimneypiece with central inscription and scrolled pediment; gallery at the north end carried on paired Doric pilasters with entablature, pulvinated frieze, dentil cornice and parapet with balustraded panels; panelled ceiling decorated with bay leaf ornament and foliage. (Historians' file, English Heritage London Division; Brunskill RW: Brick Building in Britain: London: 1990-: CLR.PL.176).

Listing NGR: TQ3160782082


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Brunskill, R W , Brick Building in Britain, (1990)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 04 May 2001
Reference: IOE01/03771/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Peter Fuller. Source Historic England Archive
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