28 Charlotte Street
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- 28 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 2NF
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- Statutory Address:
- 28 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 2NF
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:
Terraced town house, c1766.
Reasons for Designation
28 Charlotte Street, a terraced town house of c1766, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* As an externally little-altered example of an C18 terraced town house with an inserted C19 shopfront;
* For the legibility of its floor plan, and surviving range of interior joinery and features;
* For its eloquent reflection of the common historic transition of urban residential buildings to commercial uses in the C19;
* For its association with the artists Adrian Heath and Birgit Skiöld both of whom worked out of the building in the second half of the C20;
* With the neighbouring listed property 26 Charlotte Street, which underwent a more substantial external remodelling in the early C19.
Charlotte Street, named after Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), was laid out in the 1760s. Built principally as a residential street, from an early date the area attracted a literary and artistic community. The commercial use of ground floors became prevalent in the C19, when the area also became popular with craftsmen. Studios and workshops established in upper floors and rear yards, and European immigrants established businesses and restaurants. The area became known as Fitzrovia in the inter-war period, deriving from the Fitzroy Tavern on the corner of Charlotte Street and Windmill Street.
28 Charlotte Street is part of the original 1760s terrace of town houses on the east side of the street. As illustrated in Tallis’s street view of Charlotte Street c1840, by this date the building (then 13 Charlotte Street) had its ground floor shopfront and elongated first-floor windows in situ. A two-storey C19 outbuilding attached to the rear of the house was replaced in the mid-C20 by a double-height studio, built for the artist Adrian Heath by the architect Charlotte Baden-Powell.
Adrian Heath (1920-1992) owned 28 Charlotte Street with his wife Corinne from the 1950s until his death. Heath was an abstract painter who studied under Stanhope Forbes at Newlyn, and at The Slade in the years either side of the Second World War. He served in the RAF but spent most of the war as a POW, during which time he met (Sir) Terry Frost and taught him to paint. Heath’s circle of friends, and sometime co-exhibitors and visitors to 28 Charlotte Street, included Victor Pasmore, Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron. Heath taught at several universities during his career and his work is held in the Tate collections, as well as the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC.
During his time at 28 Charlotte Street, Heath leased the basement to the Swedish print-maker Birgit Skiöld (1923-1982), who ran the successful Print Workshop from the space. The Print Workshop ethos was innovative for its time, offering print-making facilities to other artists, and offering a forum for sharing knowledge and ideas. Figures who used this facility included David Hockney and Eduardo Paolozzi.
Terraced town house, c1766.
MATERIALS: the building is of yellow stock brick construction with red brick arches. It has timber sliding sash windows and a ground floor shopfront.
PLAN: the house is four storeys high, plus basement and attic (the latter rebuilt in the mid-C20), and is three bays wide. The attic has a flat roof and is set back behind a parapet. The building has a familiar town house plan, with a hall and dog-leg stair along one party wall (the south in this case), and two rooms, one front, one back on each floor, with two chimney stacks in the opposing party wall. At ground floor the house extends to fill the plot, with a mid-C20 studio to the rear. On the landing between the ground and first floors a small water closet extends out from the rear of the building. The plan of the second and third floors has been altered slightly to create a bedroom, bathroom and small lobby out of the large front room which spans the width of the building.
In its present layout the principal ground-floor rooms are not accessible from the residential entrance hall; the doorways from the hall survive, but are sealed shut. The rooms are given over to a commercial use, accessed through the shopfront. The internal stair to the basement remains, but again, the access to this is closed off from the domestic parts of the building at the bottom of the stair. The basement is now accessed from an external metal stair, reached through the commercial unit, in a light-well to the rear of the original building.
EXTERIOR: above ground floor the building has three storeys of three, progressively squarer, sash windows, all with flat splayed brick arches in rubbed red brick. The windows are multi-paned with glazing bars (a six-over-six arrangement on the first and second floors, three-over-three on the third floor), and do not have horns; some of the glass is likely to be pre-C20. The first-floor windows have lowered sills, an early-C19 intervention, giving them particularly elongated proportions and the glazing pattern includes margin lights at the top and bottom. The parapet above the second floor windows, and some of the façade above the first floor, has been rebuilt.
To the right of the shopfront is the entrance to the house; this is a six-panel door with square fanlight above, set between pilasters which form part of the shopfront. The shopfront has a central recessed doorway (with replaced door) and panelled flush-bead stallrisers beneath a chunky sill. The shop windows have glazing bars dividing them up into large panes, and above is a later box-blind. The frontage is framed by simple pilasters carrying a narrow fascia and cornice.
INTERIOR: the house retains its original staircase from the basement as far as the third floor (just below the attic). This has an open string with flat scrolled brackets on the stair ends and turned balusters (two per tread) up to the second floor, where the string becomes closed. There is a hardwood handrail and turned tapering newels. Between the first floor and first-floor half-landing the balustrade has been enclosed, but it is likely that the original joinery survives within the stud-work partition.
The entrance hall has a semi-circular-headed archway, the arch having a panelled soffit and resting on panelled pilasters. A moulded dado rail runs through the hall and continues to the first-floor landing. A quantity of historic joinery survives throughout the house, including architraves, panelled door linings and some four- and six-panel doors to the front and back rooms. From the third floor down, some of the window reveals are lined and panelled, or quite possibly have shutters which are painted shut. The principal room on the first floor has full-height window shutters. Several fire-place cupboards survive with two-panel doors, one having HL hinges. Some plasterwork cornices survive, although these are limited and those in the ground floor shop unit are probably re-run. Some early skirting also survives, but not throughout. The window sashes are likely to be a mixture of C18, C19 and C20. The doorway to the half-landing WC has been fashioned from a stair window, the opening extended downwards and a four-panel door inserted beneath the upper sash. The upper sash and the panelled reveals, or shutters, remain. This is likely to be a C19 intervention. The WC is lined in butt-and-bead panelling and there is a small hatch window.
C20 joinery is evident on the upper floors, particularly where there has been subdivision within the front rooms on the second and third floors. Here, the original doors to the front rooms have been lost, but the door linings and architraves survive. Within the ground floor rooms, now the shop unit, the joinery is a mixture of early and later fabric, and the openings for the sash windows have been extended downwards to create two doorways. The upper sashes and the panelled reveals, or shutters, remain.
All of the fireplaces have been blocked and their surrounds removed except for one, in the back room of the basement. Here, an opening remains with a simple timber surround, including a mantle-shelf with moulded edge and dentils. To either side are the remnants of some early panelling. Other elements of early joinery survive in the basement, including a large built-in kitchen dresser, probably of C19 date, which has had some later modification. The sash windows and door which open onto the now covered-over front area also survive.
The attic has been entirely rebuilt in the mid C20 as a flat-roofed space with glazed walls to front and back. The studio to the rear of the building is a single, double-height, top-lit, space with painted brick walls and the remains of a brick chimney stack and fireplace openings from the previous two-storey outbuilding incorporated into the space against the back wall.
Books and journals
Bridget, Cherry (Author), Nikolaus, Pevsner (Author), The Buildings of England London 4: North, (1994), pp. 335
Camden History Society, , Streets of Fitzrovia, (2017)
Obituary of Adrian Heath, accessed 22 June 2017 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-adrian-heath-1552726.html
Survey of London: Volume 21, the Parish of St Pancras Part 3: Tottenham Court Road and Neighbourhood, pp13-26, accessed 22 June 2017 from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol21/pt3/pp13-26
Tallis’s London street views, 1840, accessed 21 August 2017 from http://crowd.museumoflondon.org.uk/lsv1840/thoroughfare/10/charlotte_street_fitzroy_square/division1/905163.html
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