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Latitude: 51.5221 / 51°31'19"N
Longitude: -0.0952 / 0°5'42"W
OS Eastings: 532249
OS Northings: 182068
OS Grid: TQ322820
Mapcode National: GBR Q8.SK
Mapcode Global: VHGR0.90JJ
Entry Name: Bowater House
Listing Date: 4 December 1997
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1021947
English Heritage Legacy ID: 466571
Location: City of London, London, EC1Y
District: City and County of the City of London
Electoral Ward/Division: Cripplegate
Built-Up Area: City of London
Traditional County: Middlesex
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): City of London
Church of England Parish: St Giles Cripplegate
Church of England Diocese: London
TQ 3282 SW FANN STREET
627-0/3/10170 Bowater House
Block of thirty maisonettes. Design won in competition in 1952, built to revised designs 1953-6; competition winner Geoffry Powell, architects for built scheme Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. Ove Arup and Partners engineers; Wimpeys builders. Pink brick crosswall construction (with pink mortar) with concrete floor and roof slabs, concrete balconies (now painted) and glass infill panels. Flat roof. Six storeys over basement stores. The maisonettes set in pairs along three rows, ten per pair of floors. Balconies to Fann Street elevation, the lower maisonettes with steps paved in quarry tiles leading down to shared garden area. The flats reached from access galleries, the upper maisonettes via glazed end staircase, with secondary escape stair in penultimate bay of opposite end. Most maisonettes have two bedrooms; three-bedroom flats either side of escape stair.
On Fann Street elevation the crosswalls project forward to give privacy to each maisonette, and the block reads as three terraces of houses, on top of each other. Aluminium windows with timber facing to living room. The aluminium system repeated on entrance elevation, and continues as the framework for the bright blue cladding panels set in bands under the windows. Upper floor bedroom windows project; set-back staircase windows to each unit on lower levels, but on top floor of upper maisonettes there is a continuous band of glazing and blue panels. Blue-clad projection to end maisonettes at rear of escape stair. Concrete balconies have steel rail. Brick piers to courtyard (entrance) side mask timber doors set in pairs. Access galleries with steel railings, wired glass balcony fronts on first, third and fifth floors serve fire escape balconies between bedrooms; those at end with renewed blue panels serve escape stairs. Fully glazed staircase at east end, with storey-high panes set in timber frames, and monopitch roof set over top. Concrete stairs expressed as a continuous floor slab on the sides of the building. Rubbish shute at rear (Fann Street side). Bowater House was the first block to be built in Golden Lane and has the foundation stone. This has the worn inscription: 'Corporation of London: Stone laid by Sir Noel Vansittart Bowater Bt MC: 21 July 1954: Thomas Cuthbert Harrowing late Chairman of Public Health Committee: Stanley Edward Cohen Chairman'. Original signs survive.
Interiors with hardwood veneer floors, and glazed screens between kitchen and dining area. This combines with the double height of the stairwell to give a sense of greater spaciousness than is actually the case, for the dimensions of the units were restricted under reduced minimum standards introduced in 1951. Open tread staircase enhances this sense of airiness. On the lower levels this stair is climbed from within the body of the living room, but on the uppermost floor the staircase is opposite the door, and upstairs the bathroom is placed centrally where it is lit by clerestory glazing.
Fitted cupboards and shelving of interest where they survive, though kitchens and bathrooms are not of special interest.
HISTORY AND ANALYSIS
The development and importance of the Golden Lane Estate is explained in the entry for Great Arthur House.
(City of London Corporation Record Office: Records of architectural competition 1951-2; Derek Bean: The Golden Lane Competition, Bartlett School MSc Thesis: -1987; The Builder: 29 February 1952: 324-8; The Builder: 7 March 1952: 371-81; Architects' Journal: 20 March 1952: 354, 358-62; Architectural Design: July 1953: 190-4; Architectural Design: September 1956: 294-8; Architectural Review: June 1957: 415-26; Architects' Journal: 27 June 1957: 947-8; The Builder: 15 November 1957: 850-6).
Listing NGR: TQ3224982068
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