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Latitude: 51.4761 / 51°28'33"N
Longitude: -0.3423 / 0°20'32"W
OS Eastings: 515220
OS Northings: 176538
OS Grid: TQ152765
Mapcode National: GBR 69.NCS
Mapcode Global: VHGR2.05W8
Entry Name: West Thames College, Formerly Spring Grove House
Listing Date: 9 August 2002
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1088092
English Heritage Legacy ID: 489668
Location: Hounslow, London, TW7
Electoral Ward/Division: Osterley and Spring Grove
Built-Up Area: Hounslow
Traditional County: Middlesex
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London
Church of England Parish: St Mary Spring Grove
Church of England Diocese: London
West Thames College, formerly Spring Grove House
Spring Grove House, London Road. 1892-94 by W.M. Catherwood. Red brick with Portland stone dressings, slate roof. Two storeys with mansard. Square plan with music room and conservatory added to north-west, service range added to north-east.
EXTERIOR: entrance (east) front ten windows wide at first floor level. Stone plinth. Large Doric porch with fluted columns, triglyph frieze, stone steps. Glazed front door with margin lights. All windows are 2/2 pane sashes, set in stone shouldered architraves. Bow window to right of door with leaded upper lights. Plat band at first floor level. Dormer windows with flanking stone pilasters, two with eared pediments. Kitchen extension to right with frieze and finial-topped lantern. Seven-window south front with double doors to centre. West front seven windows wide; canted bay to centre; French window to second bay from left; most windows with blind boxes. Northern two-part continuation comprises the two storey music room and the conservatory to north. Music Room has tripartite doorway with central pediment; flanking windows with four-pane upper lights, segmental pediments above. First floor has central tripartite window beneath pediment, with acroterion. Conservatory is single storey, rectangular, with a tall two-stage glass roof above, with cresting. Lower wall with a row of tall windows beneath oeils de boeuf. Northern continuation containing billiard room with large eight-light window beneath cornice on brackets, flanked by pair of six-light windows, and raised over a tall plinth. Inner faces of courtyard with white glazed brick.
INTERIOR: an exuberant series of rooms, surviving in good condition. Principal features include the following. Staircase hall with Jacobean style oak staircase; ground floor faced with three-quarter height oak panelling; pedimented doorcases to six-panel doors; fireplace with tiled surround and hearth, marble bolection moulding, and Jacobean style superstructure carried on tapering columns with mirror between bulbous columns. Rooms to west with Adam-style plasterwork, modern dividing doors and female herm-flanked chimneypieces. Dining room (now board room) with oak paneling to dado, oak-lined bay window, fireplace with serpentine marble and tiled surround within Jacobean-style oak chimneypiece carried on pilasters; plaster ceiling with scrollwork. Stained glass window in passage with allegorical figures of Music and Poetry. Music Room with gallery at east end, with armorial to centre; large hearth recess dated 1894 in spandrels, Renaissance-style fireplace with mirrored overmantel; coved compartmented ceiling with Jacobean-style plasterwork; walls divided with paired pilasters, with painted panels in frieze depicting musical instruments against a gold ground; beneath these are the names of composers (Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Brahms); the panels beneath these are now empty. Elaborate door surrounds; recessed lobby to garden side. Conservatory (or 'Winter Garden') with arched iron trusses, springing from brackets, carrying tall lantern; wall divided into windows, doors and panels, each with frames; ornamental cast iron bench with shelf running around much of wall; Turkish or Moorish kiosk set against northern wall, with triple arcade of openwork horseshoe arches, and a very ornate interior with coloured mosaics in the Moorish style to walls, and a matching plaster ceiling. Billiard Room to north has a glazed roof with Adam-style decoration, oak panelling to dado height, frame doorcases and a Baroque chimney surround of oak with mirrored overmantel flanked by paired pilasters, beneath an open pediment. Stair is lit with an elaborate stained glass window, with large allegorical figures of Art and Industry, surrounded by Manufacture, Navigation and Commerce, Poetry, Drama and Music, with Agriculture and Sculpture below. Upper floors retain much original joinery; numerous tile-lined bathrooms and WCs; secondary staircases in situ. Kitchen interior much altered.
HISTORY: this was the site of the home of Sir Joseph Banks Bt., distinguished naturalist (d.1820) who lived here from 1779 to his death: see plaque to left of entrance. It was much altered in 1834-40 by Henry Pownall. The estate was purchased in 1886 by the soap magnate Andrew Pears, who carried out a major campaign of remodelling in 1892-94 which erased all outward signs of the earlier house. Having served as a hospital in WW1 it was acquired by the Middlesex County Council and opened as Hounslow Polytechnic in 1922, as Spring Grove Secondary School in 1923, and as Isleworth Polytechnic in 1959. The environs were transformed by the construction of the present West Thames College buildings in 1967, which necessitated the demolition of the vast greenhouse that was formerly attached to the north of the conservatory. Listed as a fine example of Late Victorian Nouveau Riche eclectic taste, and for the quality and completeness of its interior fixtures.
SOURCES: plans submitted to Borough of Isleworth, December 1892 (Hounslow Building Control); Peter Rowlands, 'Spring Grove House: A History' (2001).
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