2-56 (even numbers) Colebrook Close, The Lodge and the garages below

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1458504

Date first listed: 06-Dec-2018

Statutory Address: 2-56 Colebrook Close (even numbers), the Lodge and garages below, Putney, London, SW15 3HZ

Map

Ordnance survey map of 2-56 (even numbers) Colebrook Close, The Lodge and the garages below
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Location

Statutory Address: 2-56 Colebrook Close (even numbers), the Lodge and garages below, Putney, London, SW15 3HZ

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

County: Greater London Authority

District: Wandsworth (London Borough)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: TQ2387273912

Summary

A private development of 28 flats, caretaker's flat and garages set in a landscaped garden, 1934, by the architects Marshall and Tweedy for property developer Edward Coller, in an inter-war hacienda style.

Reasons for Designation

2-56 (even numbers) Colebrook Close, Putney, including the Lodge and garages below the Lodge, of 1934 by the architects Marshall and Tweedy, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* an exemplary development of private flats in a hacienda-inspired style where the low-rise, house-like form in landscaped surroundings is reminiscent of the American West Coast, but very rare in England;

* the use and survival of consistent architectural treatment, fixtures and fittings across all the blocks;

* spaciously planned, with flats arranged in blocks of four where each has a separate entrance, given equal architectural and spatial prominence;

* the internal plan, with the principal rooms overlooking the gardens and each with a sun verandah or balcony, providing seclusion and reflecting the inter-war interest in the health benefits of sunshine;

* a skilfully composed landscaped close in a prime location, aimed at comfortably-off middle-class owners and occupants, with ample provision for cars.

Historic interest:

* rare stylistically and in its planning, and in its exceptional level of survival;

* the function and social hierarchy are evident in the buildings and landscape, and in contemporary publications, of the aspirations of the scheme, its intended clients and of the domestic hierarchy within the flats.

History

Colebrook Close was built as a private estate in 1934 to designs by the architectural practice of Marshall and Tweedy for property developer Mr Edward Coller, and advertised as ‘A new type of semi-detached modern flats of distinguished style’. It stands on the A3 approach into London, at the time a growing arterial route, where it was ideally placed for its proximity to London and for ease of access by car to the countryside and neighbouring facilities. As a whole it is skilfully composed and remains exceptionally unaltered and legible, including the road layout, surfaces and landscaping, providing a rare and important social, historical and architectural record.

The sales brochure notes that Colebrook Close, ‘at the top of West Hill, is high and the extremely clean fresh air is a notable feature’, in an area recognised as the most select part of Putney Heath, which was developed in the inter-war period with mansion blocks and private estates, many in the grounds of former C18 and C19 villas. ‘Here is all the rural peace and quiet of the country with the facilities of town’.

It was promoted as having an excellent bus service to underground stations, with the West End and City within 25 and 30 minutes reach, respectively. With ‘picturesque Roehampton and lovely Richmond’ as ‘worthy neighbours’, there were also several golf courses within easy reach, plus the opportunity for riding (equitation) on the Heath.

Laid out on over 2 acres of ground, it comprised 28 luxury flats, each with a balcony or loggia overlooking private gardens, and provided ample parking, with five garages. The grounds were laid out with lawns and hedges and with a rockery in front of each block. There was a fountain in the centre of the turning circle and the grounds were lit by globe lanterns on steel shafts. The sales brochure adds that each flat contained a reception room, dining room (with concealed sliding doors), three bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen, large entrance hall, two tiled bathrooms, both with lavatory basins, and two tiled WCs, while the published drawings in the Builder suggest that the third bedroom, off the kitchen, was intended for a maid. Each had a separate main entrance, and also a separate tradesmen’s entrance. A feature of each flat was its 20 feet sun veranda, reflecting the interest at the time in the health benefit of the sun and fresh air. They were leased for a minimum of five years, with ground floor flats at £195 per annum, and those on the first floor at £205, a considerable outlay at that date.

They were provided with central heating and constant hot water, and built of fireproof construction, finished in a ‘pleasing texture of ivory white'. Sitting rooms had fireplaces with ‘handsome overmantles’. Kitchens had tiled walls and rubber floors, and were fully fitted out with all modern conveniences, including a built-in ironing table, 'to realize the dreams of the house proud'. An indication of their degree of luxury and potential market, the specimen flat was fitted out by Messrs Harvey Nicols. The scheme was published in the Builder on January 10, 1936.

Developments of low-rise, house-like blocks of this type in a landscaped setting were very rare in England at the time, and appear to have more in common with the United States West Coast condominium. While two-storey flats are ubiquitous in the inter-war period, the plan form, of blocks of four, each with its own entrance, given equal architectural and spatial prominence, is an important difference here. The development coincided with a period of growing economic instability, when many were having to reconsider how they owned or rented property, and managed their households, and as the published plans and sales particulars here suggest, they were on the cusp of social change, giving the option to employ a maid. Evidence in the buildings and landscape, and in contemporary publications, show the aspirations of the scheme, its intended clients and how the flats were intended to be used.

The practice of Marshall and Tweedy was set up in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1899, before opening a London office in New Cavendish Street in the late 1920s. Most of their work was in a loose Neo-Georgian style and in the South-East in the 1930s included luxury flats at Viceroy Court Regents Park, London (Builder, March 20 1936), blocks of flats at Hillbrow Richmond and Brockwell Court, Brixton (Builder, December 17 1937) and parades of shops and flats such as Falloden Way on the fringes of Hampstead Garden Suburb. Individual houses included The Kings House, Burhill, Surrey (Builder, January 10 1936) while Fiona House, Grays Inn Road, London, a women's hostel, followed in 1939 (Builder, Jan 13 1939).

Details

A private development of 28 flats, a caretaker's flat and garages set in a landscaped garden, 1934, by the architects Marshall and Tweedy for property developer Edward Coller, in an inter-war hacienda style.

MATERIALS: masonry, finished in painted ‘Snowcrete’, Langley's green and brown glazed pantiles, Crittall metal-framed door and window units, some now with additional secondary glazing, oak front doors, York stone and tile paving.

PLAN: seven, two-storey blocks, each containing four flats, arranged symmetrically round a central drive and turning circle. At the rear of the blocks is a perimeter service road, with separate entrances from the A3, with the garage block to the north of the site. The blocks are set back from the drive behind hedges and lawns and linked by paths laid in York stone and crazy paving, Apart from where the original entrance to the A3 has been reconfigured to allow for road widening, the drive and service roads are in course aggregate concrete sections with a masonry kerb. The flats have individual entrances, arranged in pairs beneath a shared porch at either end of each block. The flats are generously proportioned, each having a wide axial, internal corridor, on the upper floor lit by a glazed door overlooking a small balcony adjacent to the stair, above the porch. On the garden front each flat has an interconnecting sitting room and dining room, and a main bedroom, opening onto a loggia or balcony. On the rear each has a second bedroom, a kitchen with rear access, and a bathroom and originally a separate WC. Leading off the kitchen is a further small room, in some cases used in the past by a maid.

EXTERIOR: seven two-storey blocks, each in seven symmetrical bays beneath hipped roofs with wide eaves, with moulded cornices. Projecting hipped-roofed pavilions in the outer bays frame a five-bay ground floor loggia and first floor balcony. Each block has end stacks rising through the hipped roof. Common to the blocks is the use of fluted bands as decoration, uniform Crittall window and door units and oak front doors. The loggias have square piers and slightly cambered arches, and fluted cills and heads to the piers. Set back behind them, each flat has a glazed door unit with flanking vertical lights of horizontal glazed panes and with masonry cills, flanked by smaller windows to the adjacent rooms. On the outer pavilions tripartite ground floor door units have fluted masonry lintels, matching the storey band and parapet on the balconies. On the first floor the pavilions have corner window units and central tripartite windows with a fixed central unit with smaller side casements, while the recessed bays have similar central door units and flanking windows to the same ratio as the ground floor.

The entrances are in the returns of each block, paired beneath a flat-roofed porch, with a fluted parapet and stylised head to each pier. The entrances have doorcases with robust stepped architraves, and varnished oak, glazed doors with a broad frame and glazing bars arranged in a chevron. Many have original bronze door furniture. Porch floors and loggias and balconies are tiled in large buff/yellow quarry tiles. The loggia parapet walls and the balconies have integral planters. The rear elevations are utilitarian.

INTERIOR: the stairwells have solid masonry stairs with hardwood timber treads and moulded handrails, some now painted. Stairwells, halls and principal rooms have stepped cornices. Most retain interconnecting sliding doors between the sitting and dining rooms. Architraves facing the hall are recessed, whereas within rooms they are moulded. Many flats have flush panel doors. Floors are of oak.

Where they survive, fireplace surrounds in the living rooms are in marble, some with bold contrasting banding, while bedrooms have electric radiant panels in mottled, moulded ceramic surrounds, some with flounced sides. Some flats retain their built-in cupboards in the hall, main bedroom and second bedroom.

SUBSIDIARY BUILDING: the garage block

A row of six garages, one originally a fuel store, with an upper floor flat, formerly the porter's lodge, within a steep mansard roof, and with storage space, originally the boilers, in the basement.

The walls are rendered as the flats and the roof similarly is clad in pantiles.

The garages have tripartite sliding doors with glazed 4-pane upper lights. Windows, in flat-roofed dormers, comprise two, wide, tripartite windows in the centre flanked by single-light windows. The entrance in the gable end wall, reached by external steel stairs, has a framed door with vertical boards with a cambered head, and is flanked by a two-light metal-framed casement, with a similar window at ground floor level, below.

Sources

Websites
Marshall and Tweedy, accessed 3 July 2018 from http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=207746
Other
The Builder, January 10 1936 pp 80-82

End of official listing