Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: I

List Entry Number: 1297993

Date first listed: 29-Sep-1972



Ordnance survey map of FINSBURY HEALTH CENTRE
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: Islington (London Borough)

National Grid Reference: TQ 31294 82356


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


TQ 3182 SW; 635-1/73/688

ISLINGTON, PINE STREET (East side), Finsbury Health Centre



Health treatment centre. 1935-1938. By Berthold Lubetkin and the Tecton group for the Borough of Finsbury. Reinforced concrete; wings with rough cutting system consisting of hollow tile floors supported by perimeter beams and structural mullions; partially clad with faience tiles and asbestos panels (originally thermolux glass panels); glass brick screens, brass and copper detailing, metal windows, teak framing; low, curved roof to central lecture theatre and flat roof to remainder of central block and the flanking wings. H-shaped plan, with centre block projecting at rear; shanks splayed and their walls not parallel. Two-storeys; basement and roof terrace to centre block. Symmetrical facade with central canted-forward entrance-block composed of ground-storey 3-bay wall of deeply recessed glazed bricks stretching width of convex front; bays articulated by slim tile-faced concrete piers supporting plain tiled 'entablature'(which also functions as parapet wall to roof terrace planter). Entrance to centre bay approached by straight ceremonial ramp: marble jambs and transom to fully-glazed bronze double entrance doors surrounded by glass blocks; flanking bays wider. First floor to central block set-back from front of roof terrace: wide projecting pierced eaves supported by eliptical ventilation ducts; name in trompe l'oeil shadowed lettering to parapet of first floor is an important part of the design statement. Wings angled (with tapered corridors): concrete end walls tiled in panels; side walls designed on grid system with teak frame and metal casement windows alternating with spandrel panels (glass originals destroyed in the war) with tiled surround. Principal interior space is a spacious waiting area (entrance hall) across centre block: piloti; reception desk (reconstructed c.1970) opposite door backed by concave screen originally decorated with mural of large map of London and alongside two murals by Gordon Cullen (all removed). Fine lecture theatre to 1st floor on axis with the entrance: splayed walls, curved back and vaulted curved roof. Roof garden.

History: Finsbury Health Centre was to have been the centrepiece of the 'Finsbury Plan' proposed for the redevelopment of the borough and the only element built before the war. The centre was meant to centralise and improve various healthcare projects that had evolved piecemeal in the borough; it is a vestigial element of this pioneering scheme. It was designed by Lubetkin and Tecton after the practice had already established a reputation for carefully thought-out responses to social needs. The building clearly displays Lubetkin's rational thought, constructivist and classical training, deeply held social beliefs and the role he believed architecture could play in the creation of a new society. It marks the culmination of the firm's most creative period of work.

Finsbury Health Centre is the finest monument to nascent clinical provision in Britain and a brilliant piece of planning; it is very important for its break with the tradition of municipal architecture, its flexible plan and up-to-date construction techniques. It was viewed as the prototype on a national level for modern construction and communal architecture such as NHS clinics, and health and treatment centres. (Allan, John: Berthold Lubetkin, Architecture and the Tradition of Progress: London: 1992-: 330-350; Buildings of England: Pevsner, N: London: Finsbury: London: 1951-: 116-117; Coe, P and Reading, M: Lubetkin and Tecton: Bristol: 1981-: 11-12; 140-144).

Listing NGR: TQ3129482356


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

Legacy System number: 369205

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Allan, J, Berthold Lubetkin Architecture and the Tradition of Progress, (1992), 330-350
Coe, P, Reading, M, Lubetkin and Tecton Architecture and Social Commitment, (1981), 11-12
Coe, P, Reading, M, Lubetkin and Tecton Architecture and Social Commitment, (1981), 140-144

End of official listing