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Henry Wise House

A Grade II* Listed Building in City of Westminster, Westminster

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Latitude: 51.4915 / 51°29'29"N

Longitude: -0.1363 / 0°8'10"W

OS Eastings: 529483

OS Northings: 178602

OS Grid: TQ294786

Mapcode National: GBR FM.KH

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.LR9Y

Plus Code: 9C3XFVR7+JF

Entry Name: Henry Wise House

Listing Date: 22 December 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1246690

English Heritage Legacy ID: 471999

Location: Tachbrook, Westminster, London, SW1V

County: Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: Tachbrook

Built-Up Area: City of Westminster

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St James the Less Pimlico

Church of England Diocese: London

Find accommodation in


(south west side)

104/10105 Number 53,
Henry Wise House


Block of 96 flats. Design won in competition 1961 by John Darbourne, this block detailed and built 1964-7 by Darbourne and Darke for Westminster City Council. In-situ reinforced concrete beams and floors, exposed on the elevations and projecting balconies, and load-bearing brick cross walls. Elevations of multi-red hand-made facing bricks, with raked joints. Flat felted roof behind soldier-course parapets. Complex scissor plan on eight storeys over hard standing for cars, the change in levels denoted in the exposed floor plates on side of building at corner of Charlwood Street. Access galleries on Vauxhall Bridge Road elevation on first, fourth and seventh floors. These galleries are slightly stepped in plan, much of their otherwise considerable width taken up with deep planting troughs, whose large shrubs are watered by the downpipes from the floors above. Each gallery serves bedsitter flats on its level, and one- or two-bedroom split-level flats on the floors above and below; these last with dual aspect. The second bedrooms project on Vauxhall Bridge Road, where they form a regular pattern giving rhythm to the elevation. Projecting lift shaft at centre of composition. The garden elevation with variating rhythm, all the flats having projecting balconies, each partly enclosed with set back glazing, forming an irregular pattern of projecting bands of brickwork. Dark stained timber double-glazed windows (original), with vertical opening casements. All doors originally also of black-stained timber, and most remain. Public spaces lined with brick paviours, and with shallow brick walls to the planting troughs. Original metal signage of black lettering on silvered backgrounds. Interiors not of special interest. John Darbourne won a competition for the rebuilding of Lillington Street in 1961, and formed a partnership with Geoffrey Darke to develop the scheme. Henry Wise House was the first block to be completed. The design of Lillington took its cue from the important (grade I listed) Church of St James the Less, with its striking Victorian red brick, which the estate surrounds. Architects like James Stirling at Ham Common, Richmond; Leslie Martin at Cambridge University and Basil Spence at Sussex University had begun to explore the combination of brick and concrete, but not on such a scale or with such intensity of colour. Martin and his proteges had also begun to theorise on the possibilities of low-rise high-density housing in their Bloomsbury project and in their college work at Cambridge, but Lillington was the first low-rise high-density public housing scheme to be built and was epoch making. Lillington Gardens influenced the style of council housing from the mid-1960s until the early 1980s. The Architects' Journal considered that 'the blocks are more reminiscent of the college campus than of municipal tenements' (1 July 1970), an atmosphere that still pervades. The Times called it 'an elegant and exciting environment for young and old' (13 September 1972). The scheme won a Housing Design Award in 1969, a Ministry of Housing and Local Government Award for good design in 1970, an RIBA Architecture Award in 1970 and a further RIBA commendation in 1973.

Listing NGR: TQ2946278617

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