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


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1272259.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 25-Sep-2021 at 08:22:17.


Statutory Address:

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

Greater London Authority
Camden (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 26777 84180



TQ2684SE AVENUE ROAD 798-1/61/1895 (East side) 02/12/97 Swiss Cottage Library


Public library. 1963-4, for the Borough of Hampstead by Sir Basil Spence, Bonnington and Collins. Reinforced concrete frame on 10' grid clad in pre-cast black basalt concrete spandrel panels between projecting and finely-finished concrete fins with Portland stone aggregate, all set over smooth raised basement and ground floor of Portland stone and concrete - painted. Asphalt on concrete roof slab. The cigar-shaped plan is a complex one, the entrance at ground-floor level on the highest, northern end of the site, the ground floor and basements otherwise housing offices, services and bookstacks, whilst stairs lead to a double-height central foyer at first-floor level. Children's library to side of this; to north and south respectively lending and reference libraries on two levels each with two pairs of spiral stairs to balcony. Music library over children's library on second floor, reached through reference library which also includes work rooms for private study and offices. The projecting fins of Portland stone aggregate at 2'6" intervals are the dominant feature of the building, contrasted with the darker panels in between. Aluminium windows. INTERIOR: aluminium also used extensively internally in the vertical divides to the glazed screens preferred to solid walls through most of the public interiors. This verticality is repeated in the slender steel balustrades to the reference and lending libraries' balcony fronts and internal stairs. White perforated aluminium ceilings with recessed fluorescent light fittings a necessary complement to the extensive use of diffused, borrowed light through the building; terrazzo floors. Original bookcases and fixed desks, the latter notably in reference area; some original signage survives on ground and first floors. Swiss Cottage Library and the adjacent baths were all that were built of an intended new civic centre for Hampstead, the scheme abandoned because of local authority reorganisation in 1965. It is one of Spence's most accomplished civic buildings, and amongst the most ambitious architectural designs for a library found anywhere. (Architects Journal: 29 January 1959; Architects Journal: 25 November 1964; Architect and Building News: 11 November 1964; Opening Brochure of the Queen's Visit: November 1964).

Listing NGR: TQ2677784180


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
'Architects Journal' in 29 January, (1959)
'Architects Journal' in 25 November, (1964)
'Architect and Building News' in 11th November, (1964)


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: 31 Oct 2005
Reference: IOE01/14853/14
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Steve Bower. Source Historic England Archive
Archive image, may not represent current condition of site.
To view this image please use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge.

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].