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Finsbury Health Centre

A Grade I Listed Building in Clerkenwell, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5249 / 51°31'29"N

Longitude: -0.1088 / 0°6'31"W

OS Eastings: 531294

OS Northings: 182356

OS Grid: TQ312823

Mapcode National: GBR M7.QK

Mapcode Global: VHGQT.2XBX

Entry Name: Finsbury Health Centre

Listing Date: 29 September 1972

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1297993

English Heritage Legacy ID: 369205

Location: Islington, London, EC1R

County: London

District: Islington

Electoral Ward/Division: Clerkenwell

Built-Up Area: Islington

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Clerkenwell Holy Redeemer

Church of England Diocese: London

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Finsbury

Listing Text


ISLINGTON

TQ3182SW PINE STREET
635-1/73/688 (East side)
29/09/72 Finsbury Health Centre

I

Health treatment centre. 1935-1938. By Berthold Lubetkin and
the Tecton group for the Borough of Finsbury. Reinforced
concrete; wings with rough cutting system consisting of hollow
tile floors supported by perimeter beams and structural
mullions; partially clad with faience tiles and asbestos
panels (originally thermolux glass panels); glass brick
screens, brass and copper detailing, metal windows, teak
framing; low, curved roof to central lecture theatre and flat
roof to remainder of central block and the flanking wings.
H-shaped plan, with centre block projecting at rear; shanks
splayed and their walls not parallel. Two-storeys; basement
and roof terrace to centre block. Symmetrical facade with
central canted-forward entrance-block composed of
ground-storey 3-bay wall of deeply recessed glazed bricks
stretching width of convex front; bays articulated by slim
tile-faced concrete piers supporting plain tiled
'entablature'(which also functions as parapet wall to roof
terrace planter). Entrance to centre bay approached by
straight ceremonial ramp: marble jambs and transom to
fully-glazed bronze double entrance doors surrounded by glass
blocks; flanking bays wider. 1st floor to central block
set-back from front of roof terrace: wide projecting pierced
eaves supported by eliptical ventilation ducts; name in trompe
l'oeil shaddowed lettering to parapet of 1st floor is an
important part of the design statement. Wings angled (with
tapered corridors): concrete end walls tiled in panels; side
walls designed on grid system with teak frame and metal
casement windows alternating with spandrel panels (glass
originals destroyed in the war) with tiled surround. Principal
interior space is a spacious waiting area (entrance hall)
across centre block: piloti; reception desk (reconstructed
c.1970) opposite door backed by concave screen originally
decorated with mural of large map of London and alongside 2
murals by Gordon Cullen (all removed). Fine lecture theatre to
1st floor on axis with the entrance: splayed walls, curved
back and vaulted curved roof. Roof garden.

History: Finsbury Health Centre was to have been the
centrepiece of the 'Finsbury Plan' proposed for the
redevelopment of the borough and the only element built before
the war. The centre was meant to centralise and improve
various healthcare projects that had evolved piecemeal in the
borough; it is a vestigial element of this pioneering scheme.
It was designed by Lubetkin and Tecton after the practice had
already established a reputation for carefully thought-out
responses to social needs. The building clearly displays
Lubetkin's rational thought, constructivist and classical
training, deeply social beliefs and the role he believed
architecture could play in the creation of a new society. It
marks the culmination of the firm's most creative period of
work.

Finsbury Health Centre is the finest monument to nascent
clinical provision in Britain and a brilliant piece of
planning; it is very important for its break with the
tradition of municipal architecture, its flexible plan and
up-to-date construction techniques. It was viewed as the
prototype on a national level for modern construction and
communal architecture such as NHS clinics, and health and
treatment centres.
(Allan, John: Berthold Lubetkin, Architecture and the
Tradition of Progress: London: 1992-: 330-350; Buildings of
England: Pevsner, N: London: Finsbury: London: 1951-: 116-117;
Coe, P and Reading, M: Lubetkin and Tecton: Bristol: 1981-:
11-12; 140-144).


Listing NGR: TQ3129482356

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

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