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Clerkenwell Conference Centre

A Grade II* Listed Building in Clerkenwell, Islington

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Latitude: 51.5225 / 51°31'21"N

Longitude: -0.106 / 0°6'21"W

OS Eastings: 531500

OS Northings: 182101

OS Grid: TQ315821

Mapcode National: GBR N8.CD

Mapcode Global: VHGQT.3ZVQ

Entry Name: Clerkenwell Conference Centre

Listing Date: 29 December 1950

Last Amended: 30 September 1994

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1298072

English Heritage Legacy ID: 368774

Location: Islington, London, EC1R

County: Islington

Electoral Ward/Division: Clerkenwell

Built-Up Area: Islington

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St James Clerkenwell

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


635-1/74/283 (South West side)
29/12/50 Nos.120A AND 122
Clerkenwell Conference Centre
(Formerly Listed as:
Avery House)


Former Middlesex Sessions House, now Clerkenwell Conference
Centre and Masonic Lodge. c.1778-82, by Thomas Rogers;
enlarged, and remodelled on all but the principal front in
1860 by Frederick Hyde Pownall; the ashlar-faced wing to the
south added at some time between 1876 and 1914. Portland stone
to the principal elevation and in part elsewhere; the north
elevation in Clerkenwell Green, that in Farringdon Lane, and
part of that in Clerkenwell Road stuccoed with Portland stone
dressings; roofs of lead where visible. The principal front,
facing into Clerkenwell Green, is of three storeys over
basement, five-window range. The middle three bays of the
ground floor project slightly to carry a giant order of four
engaged Ionic columns under a pediment, the outer bays flanked
by engaged Ionic pilasters. Ground floor has chamfered
rustication interrupted by square-cut springing bands;
round-arched openings with central entrance and round-arched
windows deeply recessed, the entrance having glazed
side-lights and overlight, the windows set in a panel of
ashlar. The central and outer first-floor windows round-arched
with archivolt, impost blocks and reeded springing band; this
band runs across the lintels of the intermediate windows.
Low-relief carved panels by Joseph Nollekens over windows:
oval medallions of Justice and Mercy, portrait of George III
in the central bay, and fasces and swords in the outer bays.
Sashes of original design with radiating glazing bars to
ground-floor windows. Panelled frieze, modillion cornice,
blocking course and pediment with a medallion bearing the
armorial scimitars of Middlesex against a background of
foliage in the tympanum; attic storey of 1860 with
round-arched windows and roof of lead; lead-covered dome over
the centre of the building.
A two-storey wing south of the principal front runs round into
Clerkenwell Road with a three-sided bay at the corner and
ground and first floors of ashlar; the elevational treatment
here is broadly similar to that by Pownall on the rest of the
Clerkenwell Road front and the north front in Clerkenwell
Green except for the facing material: basement/ground floor of
rusticated stonework with flat-arched openings having
architraves formed of chamfered quoins; broad cill band to
first floor, Gibbs surround to windows; storey band; second
floor windows have the effect of eared architraves at heads ,
bracketed sills and keystones; modillion cornice; third-floor
balustrade to ashlar-faced wing; third-floor windows to rest
are flat-arched with plain architraves and keystones,the three
central windows in Clerkenwell Green with pediments; parapet.
Many 6/6 sashes of original design to north elevation in
Clerkenwell Green, and a few to other elevations.
The Farringdon Lane elevation has an outer bay to either side
corresponding with the side elevations, but the three central
windows form a shallow segmental bay with segmental-arched
openings to the ground floor, the central entrance under a
cartouche with coat of arms; four rusticated pilasters flank
the first- and second-floor windows which are flat-arched with
pilasters and triglyph frieze to first floor, and have
balustrades and the effect of eared architraves on the second
floor; modillion cornice; former circular windows to attic
storey now enlarged. Cast-iron railings to area of 1860.
INTERIOR: . Double-height central hall, square in plan with
central staircase rising in a single flight to a gallery which
runs all round the room, the staircase and gallery by Pownall;
the gallery is carried on cast-iron columns with foliage
ornament and capitals, and on scrolled brackets; it is stepped
up on the east side to the former Court Room; railings to
staircase and balustrade to gallery in iron and brass with
characteristic mid-Victorian naturalistic and structural
forms. The upper part of the room has Ionic pilasters on three
sides and engaged Ionic columns facing the former Court Room,
supporting a frieze decorated with roundels of fasces and
caducei alternately, and modillion cornice; the intervening
wall is divided horizontally by a dentil cornice and has
niches and blank panels in the spaces. Round-arched entrance
to the former Court Room with enrichments by Pownall, the
architrave consisting of pilasters with nail-head ornament,
double consoles and archivolt decorated with foliage; the
recessed tympanum having the armorial scimitars of Middlesex
surrounded by foliage; two entrances on the facing wall with
architraves of pilasters with nailhead ornament, and dentil
cornice on consoles. Arcaded drum having circular and
semi-circular windows, some blank, and royal coat of arms in
high relief over the entrance to the Court Room; the spandrels
filled with motifs in roundels enriched with oak leaf
ornament; coffered dome, and lantern added by Pownall.
The former Court Room, now Lodge Room no. 2 has decorations
partly the work of Pownall, including an elaborate panelled
plaster ceiling, the ribs decorated with guilloche ornament
and egg-and-dart and modillion details, the nine panels filled
with roundels apparently of recent date. The principal room to
the west, in the 1860 extension, has been divided
horizontally, but the remains of the ceiling can be seen in
Lodge Room no 5: frieze of roundels in scrolling foliage with
fasces and caducei alternately; modillion cornice and panel of
Vitruvian scroll ornament to ceiling light. Lodge Room no 3,
in the south wing of c.1900, has a dentil cornice, and
octagonal panelled lantern surrounded by bands of foliage.
Staircase in the north-west corner of the building, to four
storeys, with scrolled iron balusters and ramped handrail;
another staircase on the south side, from first to third
floors, with curtail step, wreathed and ramped handrail,
cast-iron newels and balusters, the balusters of scrolled
(Historians' file, English Heritage London Division).

Listing NGR: TQ3150582098

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

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