Ames House YWCA Hostel for Women


Current StatusNow flats and shops
Address44 Mortimer Street, London Borough of Camden
Building Date and Architect1904 by Beresford Pite
DesignationListed Grade II in 1970
National Grid ReferenceTQ2911681531

View the full listing on the National Heritage List for England

Ames House was the first major project of the Young Women's Christian Association whose first hostel for working girls in London was converted on Upper Charlotte Street in 1857.  Ames House and Restaurant housed 97 women in cubicles and bedrooms. The eminent Edwardian architect Beresford Pite designed the striking corner building in 1904 in his individual Arts and Crafts manner with banded brickwork and a strong vertical emphasis.

The hostel was modest but comfortable and a resident reported that 'every little cubicle and bedroom has its own window and electric light – there is a wash-room, and a work-room containing provision for heating irons for the use of the boarders; the drawing room is kept for reading and music.'

The building also featured a few separate shops and the Welbeck Restaurant, which was distinct from the residents' dining room and served working women who were not 'living in'. Restaurants for working women flourished in this period, often near hostels, providing a safe and respectable place for women to eat while working in the city. This YWCA building provided a model for later projects, with a diversity of accommodation and service facilities under one roof.  This building was listed as an Edwardian hostel of architectural sophistication with clever planning that served young working women.