The Mildmay Social Club including front boundary walls, railings and lamp posts

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1464561
Date first listed:
18-Sep-2019
Statutory Address:
33-34 Newington Green, London, N16 9PR

Map

Ordnance survey map of The Mildmay Social Club including front boundary walls, railings and lamp posts
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Location

Statutory Address:
33-34 Newington Green, London, N16 9PR

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

County:
Greater London Authority
District:
Hackney (London Borough)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ3292285442

Summary

Working men’s club including front boundary wall, railings and lamp posts. Built in 1900-1901, possibly incorporating fabric from earlier houses on the site, to the design of Alfred Allen. Later extension to the east.

Reasons for Designation

The Mildmay Social Club, 33-34 Newington Green, LB Hackney, built in 1900-1901 by Alfred Allen for the Mildmay Radical Club, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as a particularly good and rare example of a large purpose-built metropolitan working men’s club;

* for its dignified Queen Anne style frontage and largely intact plan form which includes all the salient features of a large working men’s club of the period including an impressive theatre and snooker hall;

* for the potential survival of high quality original decorative finishes beneath late-C20 decorative schemes.

Historical interest:

* for its history as a leading late-Victorian/Edwardian radical political club and its subsequent evolution as a social club over more than 100 years.

Group value:

* with other listed buildings on Newington Green associated with the radical or Nonconformist tradition including the Unitarian Chapel and number 54, home of the C18 radical minister, Dr Richard Price.

History

The Mildmay Club was founded on 18 August 1888 as the Mildmay Radical Club and was originally located at 36 Newington Green Road, Islington. The club was actively involved in radical politics and social campaigns. In 1894 it moved to new premises at 34 Newington Green, gifted in the will of two local sisters. Newington Green, was already an area with a long tradition of religious dissent and radicalism. Membership of the club rose from 1,000 in February 1896 to 2,400 in January 1899, eventually peaking at 3,000 members. The Mildmay Club was recognised as one of the largest and most politically active of the capital’s working men’s clubs.

On 27 October 1900 the foundation stone was laid for a new clubhouse designed by a member of the club, the architect Alfred Allen. The new building, which may have incorporated fabric from the existing houses on the site, included two halls, a reading room, meeting rooms and a billiard hall. In 1907 (and again in 1921), a rifle range was added to the facilities of the club; The Mildmay rifle club was particularly successful with 200 members, reflecting a relatively affluent membership as shooting was a comparatively expensive pastime. The rear hall was extended to the east, possibly at this time. In 1930 it changed its name to the Mildmay Club and Institute, and became non-political. In line with many working men’s clubs it concentrated on providing entertainment facilities for its members and by the 1950s it staged weekly variety shows. The building was renovated in the 1970s.

The Working Men's Club and Institute Union (CIU), of which the Mildmay Club was a member, was founded in 1862 to promote an extension of the traditional ‘Gentleman’s club’ to the working classes and to provide them with venues for both entertainment and self-improvement. The clubs were originally seen as augmenting Temperance Halls as a way of providing working men with an alternative to the evils of the public house and also followed on from the tradition of working class educational institutions like the Mechanic’s Institutes and Lyceums. They were also, however, part of a tradition of radical political clubs largely derived from the Chartist movement of the 1830s.

By the early 1880s the metropolitan working men’s clubs were broadly of two kinds, social clubs and political clubs. The larger radical clubs tended to be found in London which, in terms of numbers of clubs, dominated the CIU. They took part in debates and demonstrations on the political issues of the day, both national, such as the call for a legal eight-hour working day or home rule for Ireland, or local, including issues relating to London’s Board schools. The Mildmay Club, for example, was particularly involved in its opposition to the Second Boer War (1899-1902), despite many of its members being called up to fight in South Africa as members of the volunteer reserves. The heyday of the radical working men’s clubs lasted from the early 1880s to the start of the First World War after which their political influence declined and social functions within the clubs increased in importance. This change also marked a decline in the metropolitan domination of the working men's club movement.

Details

Working men’s club including front boundary wall, railings and lamp posts. Built in 1900-1901, possibly incorporating fabric from earlier houses on the site, to the design of Alfred Allen. Later extension to the east.

MATERIALS: red brick frontage laid in English bond with yellow stock brick to the side and rear. Stone and rubbed brick dressings. The pitched roofs are of slate, the majority having been repaired with man-made slates. The fenestration is mainly of uPVC replacements with some original timber sashes. Concrete stairs.

PLAN: overall the building is rectangular in plan, fronting onto Matthias Road, and consists of three distinct parts. At the front (south) is a three-storey plus basement range with a two-storey link block to the rear. This adjoins a large two-storey northern range with a pitched roof. Internally, the front range contains, on the ground floor, a central north-south entrance corridor with two staff rooms to the west and a games lounge (perhaps originally the reading room or library) to the east, a small hall on the first floor and former, disused, staff accommodation on the second floor, accessed off an east-west corridor. The link block contains a large bar area on the ground floor and service rooms, ladies WCs and a small bar for the main hall on the second floor. The north range has a large snooker hall on the ground floor with three disused private rooms in the later eastern extension. The main hall/theatre is on the first floor. This has men’s WCs, a lounge area and a stage workshop in the eastern extension, and a disused balcony at the southern end of the hall.

EXTERIOR: the principal (south) elevation is in a loose Queen Anne style. It is of eight bays with rubbed brick frieze between the first and second storeys, a stone cornice and stone bottle balustrade. The five western bays are under a hipped-roof with an octagonal cupola which has lost its original copper domed roof and glazing. The central entrance bay projects and is topped with a stone pediment. The three eastern bays are slightly recessed under a flat roof. The fenestration is regular with replacement uPVC windows in square-headed openings with rubbed brick lintels, keystones and aprons and stone sills. The arched main entrance has a stucco surround with pilasters and an oversized segmental pediment. There is a blue and white chequered tile pavement in front of the entrance. Over the entrance is a tripartite window in a segmental opening. The eastern most bay of the elevation has a rubbed brick segmental arch to a goods entrance, now with a metal roller shutter.

The other elevations are of yellow stock brick, rendered on the blind elevation of the southern range. Fenestration is mainly of replacement uPVC windows (some with security bars) in square-headed openings with gauged brick lintels and stone sills. On the ground floor of the eastern elevation of the northern hall range the windows have been infilled with modern brickwork. The rear (north) elevation of the northern range retains the original mixed timber sash and casement windows on the upper floor. The western elevation is blind with the western elevation of the link block clad in white faience tiling.

INTERIOR: the front entrance retains its original six-panel double doors and gives onto a small entrance lobby with a modern glazed screen. Beyond this, the main entrance hall has late-C20 finishes and suspended ceiling with a porter’s room and entrances to the rooms either side and stairs to the basement. On the wall is a wooden members’ board. The staff rooms to the west retain elements of cornices and dado mouldings. The games lounge to the east has late-C20 decorative finishes, fittings and suspended ceiling. Steps descend to the main bar area.

The entrance hall terminates in a flight of stairs up to the entrance lobby to the main hall located on the first-floor of the link block. The lobby has a late-C20 suspended ceiling and matchboard panelling. Historic photographs show the lobby and stair with a pitched skylight roof supported on arched braces set on corbels, chequered tile floor and decorative glazed tiling to dado height. It is uncertain if any of these features survive under the later finishes. Over the stair is a large wooden memorial panel, truncated by the suspended ceiling.

The main bar area on the ground floor of the link block has late-C20 suspended ceiling, decorative finishes, fittings and a bar counter with a mirrored bar-back. The original ceiling is supported on square pillars. Steps descend to the snooker hall on the ground floor of the northern range.

The snooker hall is a large room fitting nine snooker tables. The ceiling is supported on five steel beams and a suspended four-sided clock probably dates from the 1930s, having apparently been installed just after the Second World War. The walls are lined with racks for cues and there are a number of wall mounted, and in one of the side rooms a ceiling mounted, gas lights. Doors and architraves are largely original. The tables originally stood on chequer tiled bases but these have been lost.

Above the snooker room is the main hall/theatre. This has a stage at the northern end and a gallery (disused at the time of the site visit in 2019) at the south. A suspended mansard ceiling was installed in the late-C20 but the original boarded ceiling with its metal trusses survives above it. The side walls, finished with late-C20 dado-height panelling have pilasters originally supporting a decorative cornice. It is unclear if these features survive above the suspended ceiling. Blind arches between the pilasters originally contained murals of historical subjects. These arches have been infilled and openings to the later rooms on the eastern side introduced but their outline remains and it is possible that the murals survive beneath. The side walls have fixed late-C20 banquette seating. Originally, the hall had fixed theatre seating but this was subsequently removed and there is now a C20 wooden dance floor. In the south-west corner of the hall is a small bar with late-C20 fittings.

On the first floor of the southern range is a smaller hall reached from an entrance on the south-west side of the first floor of the link block. This has a low late-C20 stage at the east end a late-C20 bar in the south-west corner. Pilasters in the long sides of the room originally supported a panelled ceiling over the centre of the room. It is unclear if this ceiling survives above the late-C20 suspended ceiling. The dance floor is late-C20 in date.

The second floor of the southern range, reached via a cantilevered concrete stair with metal railings, is taken up with accommodation, currently comprising three flats, arranged off an east-west central corridor. The flats were refitted and partitioned in the 1970s. Two original fireplace surrounds, a 1930s tiled fireplace surround, some original skirting and some original four-panel doors survive.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the front boundary wall is of red brick with stone capping consisting of alternating piers and railing panels and an outsize ball finial to the east pier. The entrance is flanked by a pair of cast iron lamp posts.

Sources

Books and journals
Cherry, B, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England. London 4: North, (2002), 542
Websites
The Mildmay Club, accessed 13 May 2019 from http://mildmay.club/
Victoria County History - A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 8, Islington and Stoke Newington Parishes (1985) pp. 172-177, accessed 09 May 2019 from https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/middx/vol8/pp172-177
Other
Marlow, Laurence, The working men's club movement, 1862-1912 : a study of the evolution of a working class institution (1980) PhD thesis, University of Warwick http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1751776~S15

Legal

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

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