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Latitude: 51.5276 / 51°31'39"N
Longitude: -0.1102 / 0°6'36"W
OS Eastings: 531189
OS Northings: 182659
OS Grid: TQ311826
Mapcode National: GBR M6.DK
Mapcode Global: VHGQT.1VLT
Entry Name: Charles Rowan House and Attached Iron Railings
Listing Date: 30 September 1994
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1298020
English Heritage Legacy ID: 369133
Location: Islington, London, EC1R
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
MARGERY STREET (South side),
Charles Rowan House & attached iron railings
Includes: Charles Rowan House WILMINGTON STREET Finsbury.
Includes: Charles Rowan House AMWELL STREET Finsbury.
Includes: Charles Rowan House MERLIN STREET Finsbury.
Former flats for married policemen, now council flats, on a steeply sloping site bounded by roads on all four sides. 1928-1930. G Mackenzie Trench architect and surveyor for the Metropolitan Police Authority.
Red brick laid in Flemish and English bonds with moulded brick dressings to street elevations, and multi-coloured stock bricks to courtyard elevations; roofs obscured; projecting, picturesque red-brick stacks demarcate breaks in the roofline where the blocks step up the hill.
Expressionist style. Four massive facades parallel to four roads: great arches lead into the central courtyard from Merlin and Margery Streets. Five storeys with basement; six bays (each of three-window range to Amwell Street) and (2:3:4:4:3:2 to Wilmington Street); eight bays (2:3:3:2:2:3:3:2 to Margery and Merlin Streets). Powerful, rhythmic street elevations with bays articulated by full-height moulded brick stacks treated as pilasters that create strong skyline. Decorative extradoses and dressings to great arched entrances.Metal casement sashes separated by narrow full-height moulded brick pilasters that become a decorative feature to brick parapets; decorative brickwork above top floor sashes. Stacks and intervening parapets read as battlements. Attached iron railings to exterior elevations.
INTERIOR: Ninety-six two and three-bedroomed flats were originally provided on five floors, with a covered playground in the basement. Minor alterations have occurred.
History: Nos. 22-24 Wilmington Square, formerly on this site, were demolished in order to build the austerely impressive Charles Rowan House Police Flats block. As early as 1904 the Metropolitan Police Authority planned housing for 500 married policemen. Records indicate that this early goal was not reached; a concerted effort at building police accommodation did not occur until the 1950s. Plans for those in Wilmington Square survive in the Public Records Office but they appear to be the only ones. At least three other police flats by Trench are extant: Crawford Street, Marylebone, 1925; Kintyre House, New Park Road, Lambeth, and Cornwall Street, Waterloo, but Charles Rowan House is the least altered and most architecturally assured of the group. Stylistically it is also unusual for this country and exhibits a powerful, Expressionist manner most often associated with continental design of this period.
Source: (Historians File, English Heritage, London Division: 1990; The Squares of Islington: Cosh, M: The Squares of Islington Part I: Finsbury and Clerkenwell: Islington: 1990: 96).
Listing NGR: TQ3118982659
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