History in Structure

Springbok House (formerly known as Warren House)

A Grade II Listed Building in Canons, London

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Latitude: 51.6267 / 51°37'36"N

Longitude: -0.3168 / 0°19'0"W

OS Eastings: 516606

OS Northings: 193328

OS Grid: TQ166933

Mapcode National: GBR 6V.2T0

Mapcode Global: VHGQ9.GCCT

Plus Code: 9C3XJMGM+M7

Entry Name: Springbok House (formerly known as Warren House)

Listing Date: 31 March 1976

Last Amended: 2 May 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1079625

English Heritage Legacy ID: 202210

ID on this website: 101079625

Location: Harrow, London, HA7

County: London

District: Harrow

Electoral Ward/Division: Canons

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St John the Evangelist Great Stanmore

Church of England Diocese: London

Tagged with: House

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An early C19 small country house, altered and extended between the1820s and the mid-C19 by the architect Sir Robert Smirke, in Neo-Jacobean style for his own occupation. The porte-cochere was present by 1871 and the northern part of the west wing was added between 1898 and 1913. In the 1980s the building was renovated including refenestration and internally re-fitted.


An early C19 small country house, altered and extended between the1820s and the mid-C19 by the architect Sir Robert Smirke, in Neo-Jacobean style for his own occupation. The porte-cochere was present by 1871 and the north-west part was added between 1898 and 1913 in matching style. In the 1980s the building was re-fenestrated and internally re-fitted.

MATERIALS: yellow stock brick, the western part mainly rendered, with slate roofs and rendered chimneystacks. It has replacement wooden sash windows with horns and vertical glazing bars.

PLAN: roughly rectangular with a projecting porte-cochere to the north-west and a projecting spur to the north-east. It comprises two wings divided by a porte-cochere. The western part is probably the earlier and is of two storeys and attics. The eastern part is of three storeys. Since the 1980s the interior ground floor of the western part has comprised a large communal area.

EXTERIOR: the north-west or entrance front comprises two parts divided by a porte- cochere. The earlier western part is rendered and is of two bays with a hipped slate roof with a dormer window. The left bay projects with a Dutch gable with a tablet bearing a blank shield and two sash windows to the upper floor.

The porte-cochere has four pilasters, three round-headed arches with keystones and brackets and a parapet with pierced panels, partly concealing a hipped slate roof. The rear wall has an entrance into the house.

The eastern section of the north-west front is of yellow brick and of three storeys and seven bays, the central three bays projecting with three Dutch gables and moulded bands, both to the parapet and between the first and second floors. Further east is a two-storey and two-bay section, the end bay projecting. There are two ground floor entrances on the eastern part of the north-west front.

The south-west side is of two storeys and rendered and has four Dutch gables. The first and third bays from the north have full-height canted bays. The second bay has two adjacent sash windows and the fourth bay has a single sash window.

The south-east or garden front is also rendered and of two storeys. The western four bays have Dutch gables and the second bay from the north has a full-height canted bay. Two other bays slightly project. At the northern end are a further three bays which are slightly higher with a central full-height canted bay.

The north-east side, probably originally the service end, is of two storeys and is L-shaped on plan. The northern end projects, there are four sash windows in the return, while the south part has four sash windows and a round-headed doorcase.

INTERIOR: the western wing interior is now mainly without room divisions comprising a large communal space. A round-headed alcove on the ground floor of the western wing may be historic but the late-C20 internal fittings* are excluded.

The interior* of the eastern wing is late-C20 and is excluded from the listing.

* Pursuant to s.(5A) of the planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas ) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special interest.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 01/05/2019


Until 1951 this property was called Warren House. The land on which it was built belonged to the manor of Great Stanmore, which was owned by the Duke of Chandos as part of his Canons estate in the early C18, and included a warrener's house and yard and a coney (rabbit) warren on the common. The warrener also acted as a bailiff and looked after the pound and woodland, as is set out in a document of 1740.

In 1780 James Forbes of the East India Company purchased part of the estate of the Second Duke of Chandos, including the site of Warren House. An 1810 watercolour shows the cottage which preceded the current building was an C18, possibly timber-framed, two-storey and two-bay cottage.

The cottage was replaced by a small late Georgian house, and sold to Sir Thomas Plumer, Master of the Rolls and owner of Canons, but in 1824 the architect Sir Robert Smirke (1780-1867) made additions to the property for himself, and he is shown on the manor court rolls as the copyhold tenant of land in 1826, and as the owner on the Sayer map of 1827. It was his country retreat, and he altered the house in Jacobean style, with Dutch gables. In 1851 Sir Robert leased Warren House to the Keyser Family, before selling it to them in 1862. The son of the purchaser, Charles E Keyser was chairman of the Colne Valley Water Company.

The building is first shown resembling its current footprint on the 1871 25 '' Ordnance Survey map, including a porte-cochere with curved walls, but the current north-west wing is not shown, nor is the north-east end to its current extent.

In 1890 Warren House was acquired as the country house of the financier Henry Louis Bischoffsheim, a scion of the international Jewish banking dynasty which had branches in Paris, London and Antwerp, and his wife Amélie Goldschmidt, daughter of the court jeweller at Vienna, who - along with other members of this international Jewish banking milieu - were leading members of the Prince of Wales's set. The 1896 second edition 25'' sheet shows the western end of the house extended to its current length, but the current north-west part is not shown.

In June 1907 King Edward VII visited Warren House by motor car and photographs of this date survive. On the 1913 Third Edition 25'' map the north-west wing is present. From 1922 Sir John Fitzgerald, the grandson of the Bischoffsheims, lived here and in 1940 he remained as tenant when the house was bought by the Middlesex County Council and Harrow Urban District Council.

In 1951 Warren House was bought by the National Corporation for the Care of Old People and was renamed Springbok House, probably because the purchase money came from the South Africa Gift to Britain Fund. It was first an old people's home then became a geriatric sub-unit of Edgware General Hospital.

In 1976 Springbok House was listed at Grade II. This sub-unit was closed down in 1978 and Springbok House stood derelict for a few years and was subject to extensive arson attacks.

In 1984 it was restored and converted into an Islamic Training Centre which opened in 1987. The restoration included roof repairs, re-fenestration with sash windows internal re-fitting, drainage and other services.

Reasons for Listing

Springbok House, an early C19 small country house built for James Forbes of the East India Company, altered and extended after 1824 by Sir Robert Smirke, and renovated in the 1980s, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* as an early C19 small country house, extended from 1824 onwards by the distinguished architect Sir Robert Smirke in Jacobean style with Dutch gables for his own occupation;
* despite alterations in the 1980s, a significant proportion of the original fabric remains.

Historic interest:

* it has a close historical association with the nationally important architect Sir Robert Smirke as his country house between 1824 and 1862, the only listed house he owned where he carried out improvements;
* it is a historically important country house of Stanmore with a two hundred year history including owners linked to the Chandos estate, the East India Company and prominent bankers in the Prince of Wales set.

Group value:

* with the boundary walls to the property which are separately listed at Grade II.

External Links

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