Furnival House


Current StatusNow student accommodation
AddressCholmeley Park, Highgate, London Borough of Haringey
Building Date and Architect1919 by Joseph Henry Pitt for the Prudential Assurance Company
DesignationListed Grade II in 2008
National Grid ReferenceTQ2875787450

View the full listing on the National Heritage List for England

Furnival House was built between 1916 and 1919 as a hostel for the domestic staff of the Prudential Assurance Company.  The entrance bay features a circular stone portico with Ionic columns and the date 1916 in Roman numerals.

An announcement of the Prudential's patronage is found in the stone segmental pediment with a circular cartouche featuring the company's coat of arms (three embattled bars, an allusion to Holborn Bars), under a smiling female head and flanked by decorative swags. Inside, the entrance hall features a plastered ceiling and a pair of elliptical entrance arches decorated with the coat of arms and motto ('Fortis qui Prudens'- Strength to the prudent) amongst elaborate swags.

The hostel was built for the socially progressive Prudential company's staff of domestic servants, a large and essential group that served the enormous company headquarters by Alfred Waterhouse at Holborn. The scale of the task was set out by the company in 1916: 'Apart from the necessary domestic duties incident to a buildingextending over an area of more than two and a half acres, the fact that upwards of 2,000 meals are provided daily on the premises is ample evidence of the extensive operations of this domestic service corps.' 

The company decided to build Furnival House, 'a hostel for their residential and recreative accommodation' for more than 100 women in the healthy and attractive surroundings of Highgate.

This building is listed as a handsome Edwardian Baroque institutional building with corporate imagery in the architectural detail, as well as having special historic interest as a purpose-built hostel for the female domestic staff of one of the nation's major financial institutions, reflecting the attention to staff welfare to which the Prudential Assurance Company was particularly committed.