History in Structure

Elizabeth House

A Grade II Listed Building in Highgate, London

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Latitude: 51.5706 / 51°34'14"N

Longitude: -0.1424 / 0°8'32"W

OS Eastings: 528835

OS Northings: 187384

OS Grid: TQ288873

Mapcode National: GBR DT.QRT

Mapcode Global: VHGQL.HS2B

Plus Code: 9C3XHVC5+62

Entry Name: Elizabeth House

Listing Date: 30 August 2005

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1391376

English Heritage Legacy ID: 494491

ID on this website: 101391376

Location: Upper Holloway, Haringey, London, N6

County: London

District: Haringey

Electoral Ward/Division: Highgate

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Haringey

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Michael Highgate

Church of England Diocese: London

Tagged with: House

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Elizabeth House


Former Princess Elizabeth Hostel for the Mothercraft Society, now residential use. 1930 by Richardson and Gill.
Red brick in Flemish Bond with brick tile dressings, metal-framed Crittal windows and hipped mansard tiled roofs and brick chimneys. 3-storey-plus-attic and basement with a butterfly plan in a Neo-Georgian style.

EXTERIOR: Principal elevation to south east has central block of 5 window bays and 2 flanking wings, these projecting at a 45 degree angle and of 4 window bays. Prominent feature of 2-storey colonnaded veranda with 6 pairs of concrete piers then concave curved return to wings finishing in single engaged pier. Iron railings at first and roof level of this, in a revivalist diamond design. Fire escapes to each side are later additions. Roof in the south wing was rebuilt to original designs following WWII bomb damage. 5 sets of French doors with leaded panes and overlights with an arched detail open to the veranda at ground and first floor; a simpler single door to central bay of top level. Stall board lights at first and second floors provide additional light. Windows throughout are original rectangular metal casements with hoppers and leaded panes, these under tightly spaced brick tiles arranged to resemble finely gauged flat arches. The side and rear elevations have similar windows, as well as a pair of oval windows also with layered tile surrounds. To rear, on west side, a 1950s extension with arched opening that has similar tiled surround to the west, and a later concrete lintel; on north side, an original 2-storey tiled arch emphasising the stairwell, with a later entrance of brick piers capped with stone urns, reached by a sweeping stone staircase with metal railing.

INTERIOR: Ground floor plan altered by partitioning larger former sitting rooms in central section into bedrooms. First and second floors largely retain original plan, with some rearrangement. 2 open well staircases with metal balusters.

HISTORY: Elizabeth House was built in 1928-30 to the designs of Richardson and Gill and at the instigation of the Mothercraft Training Society (formerly the Babies of the Empire Society). The commission followed a public subscription appeal in 1928 which raised £25,000 for a new building in the grounds of the C17 mansion, Cromwell House, which the organisation had occupied since 1924. The new building was originally called the Princess Elizabeth Hostel and was opened by its namesake (the wife of George VI and mother of Elizabeth II) in 1930. The building remained in the Mothercraft Society's ownership until 1951 when it was sold to the Metropolitan Police and was used to house police officers. Since the late 1980s Elizabeth House has been in private ownership.

The Mothercraft Training Society built Elizabeth House to encourage innovative methods of baby-care. New and prospective mothers would stay in the hostel for a fixed term and, under the tutelage of live-in nurses, learn to breast-feed at regular intervals, look after babies in airy and light surroundings, follow dietary plans which enriched breast-milk, and recognise symptoms of common causes of infant mortality such as malnourishment and diarrhoea. A programme of lectures and open-days also trained external nurses and local new mothers in the principles of baby care. In addition, the Society managed a health clinic and day-centre. The matron of Elizabeth House was Mabel Liddiard CBE, author of The Mothercraft Manual (1924), president of the Royal College of Midwives and founder of the Mothercraft Training Society. Liddiard trained under Sir Truby King, a pioneer of child welfare movement. Royal patronage was important for the Society, particularly in their aim to encourage new baby-care techniques which demanded a change in attitude amongst new mothers. Princess Elizabeth, herself a new mother when Elizabeth House opened in 1930, visited the site in the 1930s and 1940s and was the President of the Mothercraft Training Society from 1923.

ASSESSMENT OF IMPORTANCE: The former Princess Elizabeth of York Hostel was built in 1930 for the Mothercraft Training Society, and opened by its namesake. It was designed in a clean and well-crafted Neo-Georgian style by the notable firm of architects Richardson and Gill. It survives mostly intact, with some internal alterations, and features a wide multi-storey veranda and suntrap plan as a formal representation of the work the Society promulgated. This work was the post-World War I campaign to build up the nation's stock of healthy babies through teaching techniques of regular breast feeding and fresh air. It merits listing at Grade II as an attractive Neo-Georgian building by an important firm of architects that survives well externally in its original purpose-built form to accommodate the nationally significant work of the Mothercraft Training Society that promoted then-innovative techniques in baby rearing and holds an important place in the history of mother and child welfare. The building also has strong historical links and group value with the Grade I Cromwell House.

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