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Tennyson Court

A Grade II Listed Building in Richmond upon Thames, London

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Latitude: 51.432 / 51°25'55"N

Longitude: -0.3066 / 0°18'23"W

OS Eastings: 517816

OS Northings: 171690

OS Grid: TQ178716

Mapcode National: GBR 77.KCS

Mapcode Global: VHGR8.M8SL

Entry Name: Tennyson Court

Listing Date: 22 December 1998

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1051042

English Heritage Legacy ID: 471936

Location: Richmond upon Thames, London, TW10

County: London

District: Richmond upon Thames

Electoral Ward/Division: Ham, Petersham and Richmond Riverside

Built-Up Area: Richmond upon Thames

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Ham St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Richmond upon Thames

Listing Text


22/23/10045 Nos.1-9 Tennyson Court



Block of nine flats. 1956-7 by Eric Lyons for Bargood Estates Ltd, subsequently Span Developments Ltd; Geoffrey Paulson Townsend developer, G Scroble project architect, Leslie Bilsby builder. Brick cross- and partition walls, concrete, 'Eternit' block and tile hanging. Flat felted roof. Three storeys. Rectangular eight-bay plan, with entrances and stairwells in third bay from right in east (rear) elevation and in south return. Main facades have horizontal strips of glazing in timber frames, three windows per bay, set between tile hanging. West facade has living rooms each with two deeper windows divided at sill level and with window boxes. South facade has full-height staircase windows of four square lights to upper storeys, ground floor has entrance way of two-light vertical window to left, all storeys with louvres to right. The entrance bay in east facade similarly treated. Paved ground floor. Terrazzo stairs, with steel balustrade having timber panels to first flight and on landing. Entrance to Nos. 1-6 shielded by timber clad store, with stairwell to side. Entrance to Nos. 7-9 shielded by metal screen with wired glass below timber dado rail. The interiors of the flats originally with wooden floors and some with sliding partitions to living rooms, but have not been inspected.

Tennyson Court is a distinctive element at the east end of the Parkleys Estate, the first, largest and perhaps most influential of Lyons's schemes for Span. Tennyson Court was the last part of Parkleys to be built.
Eric Lyons and Geoffrey Townsend met in the late 1930s and renewed their partnership after wartime service. They developed a number of small private developments in the south west London and north Surrey borders, until in 1954 Townsend set himself up as a developer and was forced to give up his RIBA membership. This is their first mature work, and their first as Span Developments Ltd. It is on the site of a nursery, and the blocks of flats were carefully laid out so that existing trees were kept, and the nursery stock and its gardener were taken over as part of the development. It is laid out as a series of cul-de-sacs, with taller blocks as distinctive landmarks in the grid of lower developments. Tennyson Court is the only three-storey block given a terrace form. The mixture of old materials used in a modern manner makes for a particularly humane environment that was much admired. Lyons's squares and terraces were a modern vernacular answer to the Georgian tradition of central London, set in lush suburban landscaping but at such relatively high densities (about eighty persons per acre) that Span were frequently in dispute with planning authorities. Parkleys was developed for first time buyers, and Span was one of the first companies to promote the endowment mortgage. It is also the first example of the system of residents' management companies set up by Span which has kept most of their developments in such exceptional condition. Each leaseholder contributes to the funding of paid maintenance staff, and is a member of the management company that runs the estate. Eric Lyons was admired for 'bridging the gap' between speculative work and the creativity most architects of his generation only found in the public sector. 'Twenty years ago he would have been regarded as barely respectable, today he is important. He may even come to be looked back upon as a key figure' (Architectural Review, February 1959). And so it has proved. The opportunity to work in such a close partnership with a sympathetic developer enabled Lyons to pursue his own ideas in materials, layout and design. Yet the buildings had to be simple, for as Townsend told the Architects' Journal, 'the architect has to design and organise so that buildings can be produced at the same cost as a builders' scheme providing the same accommodation (20 January 1955).

Listing NGR: TQ1781671690

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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