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10-12 Museum Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Holborn and Covent Garden, Camden

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Latitude: 51.5169 / 51°31'0"N

Longitude: -0.125 / 0°7'30"W

OS Eastings: 530195

OS Northings: 181440

OS Grid: TQ301814

Mapcode National: GBR JB.3D

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.S48H

Plus Code: 9C3XGV8F+QX

Entry Name: 10-12 Museum Street

Listing Date: 23 February 2023

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1485009

ID on this website: 101485009

Location: St Giles, Camden, London, WC1A

County: Camden

Electoral Ward/Division: Holborn and Covent Garden

Built-Up Area: Camden

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London


Terrace of shops, former offices and dwellings. Built in around the 1820s and re-fronted in about 1863-1865 probably by the Duke of Bedford’s surveyor, Charles Parker, to match the immediately adjacent buildings of the New Oxford Street development laid out in the 1840s to plans by Sir James Pennethorne, Joint Architect and Surveyor for the Metropolitan Improvements to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. The shopfronts and roofs were altered in the C20. Numbers 11 and 12 Museum Street were altered in the 1990s, including conversion to studio flats.


Terrace of shops, former offices and dwellings. Built in around the 1820s and re-fronted in about 1863-1865 probably by the Duke of Bedford’s surveyor, Charles Parker, to match the immediately adjacent buildings of the New Oxford Street development laid out in the 1840s to plans by Sir James Pennethorne, Joint Architect and Surveyor for the Metropolitan Improvements to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. The shopfronts and roofs were altered in the C20. Numbers 11 and 12 Museum Street were altered in the 1990s, including conversion to studio flats.

MATERIALS: London stock-brick faced in stucco to the front elevation with slate and tile roof coverings and clay chimney pots.

PLAN: a four-storey terrace with shops to the ground floor and former offices or residential premises to the first, second and third floors which have latterly been converted to studio flats. The basement contains former shop storage space and bathrooms, as well as former coal-vaults.

EXTERIORS: a terrace six bays wide and two bays deep formed of three properties with a stuccoed façade tooled to imitate ashlar stonework framed by rusticated quoins. Numbers 10 and 11 Museum Street each have a doorway beneath a transom light, and plate-glass shop windows. Number 12 Museum Street also has a doorway with a transom light but instead of a shopfront there is a roller shutter* occupying the former carriage entrance formed in 1863-1865 originally leading through to the rear yard. The ground floors of the properties retain stuccoed pilasters with fielded panels and large, highly decorative, scrolled consoles. The sash windows to the floors above are set in moulded architrave surrounds with fielded panels and have scrolled consoles enriched with floral decoration supporting moulded cornices. There are six-over-six sashes with narrow glazing bars to the first and second floors. The windows reflect classical proportions; the piano nobile at first floor and shorter sashes to the third floor, or attic storey, comprising three-over-six panes. Above the third floor is a heavy dentilled cornice beneath a parapet. There are later flat roofs covered in asphalt with C20 roof access porches. Built into the party walls are large chimney stacks with clay chimney pots.

The side (south) elevation onto West Central Street has a single entrance doorway with a transom light to the ground floor and then blocked windows with moulded architrave surrounds and cills carried on corbels to the floors above. There are rusticated quoins and a heavy dentilled cornice beneath the roof parapet. The rear (west) elevation is of rendered brick with six-over-six sash windows, although 11 Museum Street has been extended in about the 1990s by an additional bay in cream-coloured brick, which is blind (without openings) at the rear but with eight-over-eight sash windows to the sides.

INTERIORS: 10 Museum Street originally had a former shop to the ground floor with two rooms to each floor of the residence above. The ground floor retains some joinery, including moulded door surrounds, skirtings and an architrave containing modern shelves*, as well as a fireplace without a surround. An early-C19 dog-leg staircase with a twisted mahogany handrail and stick balusters provides access between the floors. On the first floor, the front room has a blocked fireplace with a fitted cupboard to one side and coving with foliate decoration to the ceiling, whilst the rear room has a blocked fireplace without a surround. The second floor is similar to the first with fitted cupboards flanking a fireplace with a timber surround and mantle shelf in the front room and another fireplace to the rear room. On the third floor is a cast-iron cooking range, with an oven (missing its door), open fire and hot plate, flanked by a cupboard to the front room, and a fireplace with a decorative arched cast-iron register grate and wooden surround to the rear room. Some original joinery survives to the upper rooms of 10 Museum Street, such as moulded door and window surrounds, cornices and skirtings. However, the doors are modern flush or panelled doors*, and small bathrooms with 1990s or 2000s fixtures and fittings* and sanitary ware* have been inserted. The basement probably originally included a kitchen, scullery and/or storage room but has largely been stripped of fixtures and fittings apart from a probable range, obscured behind modern formwork blocking a recess. A brick fireplace remains but its surround is missing and the opening knocked through to the adjacent property. There is a small bathroom with modern sanitary ware* and a room containing a modern sink unit* at the rear. The front room has sash windows to the basement light well, beyond which is a pair of original brick coal vaults.

Numbers 11 and 12 Museum Street probably originally also had a kitchen and a scullery and/or storage room to the basement. However, Number 11 now largely contains later C20 fixtures and fittings, including floor surfaces, some false ceilings*, fixed shelving*, kitchen units* and bathroom sanitary ware*, whilst Number 12 has been stripped out and altered as part of the nightclub. Nonetheless, the basement light wells and brick coal vaults remain. The ground floor of 11 Museum Street is currently empty and largely stripped of fixtures and fittings with some steel RSJs inserted, although some joinery, such as skirting boards remain. A nightclub exit occupies the former carriageway running through the ground floor of 12 Museum Street, which originally led to the rear yard. The front doorway to 12 Museum Street leads into a hallway, which has a tiled floor and modern fitted mirrors*. The upper floors of 11 and 12 Museum Street have been converted into studio flats. A 180 degree turn winder staircase with 1990s treads*, panels* and handrails* leads up to the first floor and provides access to one flat on each floor of 12 Museum Street and two flats on each floor of 11 Museum Street. The studio flats contain 1990s or 2000s fixtures and fittings throughout, including six-panelled doors*, plasterboard partitions*, fitted cupboards*, modern kitchen units*, bathrooms*, showers* and sanitary ware*.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned structures and/or features are not of special architectural or historic interest. However, any works to these structures and/or features which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.


Numbers 33-45 New Oxford Street, 10-12 Museum Street and 16, 16A, 16B and 18 West Central Street form an urban block. The streets initially developed in the C17, although many of the buildings date from around the mid-C19 when the area was shaped by the cutting through of New Oxford Street as part of some major metropolitan improvements.

New Oxford Street was by far the most important and ambitious of four new streets laid out by (Sir) James Pennethorne and Thomas Chawner in the 1840s (Tyack 1992, 50). The two men were appointed by the government to work jointly as architects and surveyors for metropolitan improvements to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, with Pennethorne undertaking most of the work on New Oxford Street. Pennethorne was the protégé of John Nash and proved a key figure in a transitional phase of metropolitan improvements post-dating those carried out by John Nash in the early C19 but preceding those of the Metropolitan Board of Works created in 1856. He proved to be one of the most accomplished architects of his age who played a crucial part in shaping mid-Victorian London (Tyack 2008). New Oxford Street was designed to cut through one of London’s most notorious slums, known as the St Giles Rookery; the setting for Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’. It would run eastwards from Oxford Street, bypassing St Giles High Street, a major bottleneck, and send horse-drawn traffic in a more direct route to Holborn, the City and the north-eastern suburbs.

In 1840, the stretch of Museum Street running between Brewer Street (now West Central Street) and Castle Street formed a row of seven brick-built properties; Numbers 10-16 Museum Street. However, the construction of New Oxford Street (replacing Castle Street) would lead to the demolition of several of the buildings at the northern end of the street. In autumn 1841, Pennethorne and Chawner began negotiations for the acquisition of property along New Oxford Street and by early 1843 demolitions commenced. In February 1845, 35 plots on New Oxford Street were advertised on 80-year building leases. Drawings and specifications were subject to prior approval and leases were only granted when Pennethorne had certified the completed carcass of the building (i.e. the structural shell, complete with roofs, floors and drainage). Pennethorne decided against a uniform frontage, fearing that such a requirement would supress rental values, but required that each plot receive a unified architectural treatment, allowing a measure of stylistic diversity while recognising that in some cases lots would be amalgamated into an urban block. The elevations were submitted to be vetted by Pennethorne and the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, Lord Lincoln, who both insisted on alterations from time to time, and, according to Tyack, in its finished form the street embodied Pennethorne’s taste in an indirect way (1987, 102). By the start of 1847 enough buildings had been erected to form ‘a tolerably connected vista’ (Illustrated London News, 2 Jan 1847, 15). The new road clipped the south-west corner of Castle Street and Museum Street, necessitating the redevelopment of properties to the east of Castle Brewery, including the Crown public house. The building leases advertised in February 1845 included Lot 16, a shallow and irregularly shaped plot with an 87-feet frontage to New Oxford Street and a short return to Museum Street. The freehold of Lot 16 was sold to the Bedford Estate, who amalgamated it with 13 Museum Street to the south. Numbers 13-16 Museum Street were demolished, and Numbers 33-41 New Oxford Street erected on the plot between 1845 and 1848. However, Numbers 10-12 Museum Street appear to have been left untouched, probably because they had been relatively recently rebuilt. In the 1830s, 10 Museum Street appears to have been leased by William Watkins, a locksmith, and was described as a ‘new dwelling’ in insurance records in 1831 and 1835 (Sun Fire Office policy register - see Sources. The staircase is also consistent with an early C19 date). The adjoining property, 11 Museum Street, was similarly described in 1828, when an insurance policy was taken out by an engine turner, Adam Frederick Loyer. Either he or John Baptist Fiacre Loyer, whose address was also given as 11 Museum Street that same year, may have been the lessees. In 1835, 12 Museum Street was insured along with the adjoining Castle Brewery premises by Thomas and Thomas Augustus Mantell.

In about 1863 to 1865, Chaplin and Horne’s railway goods receiving yard was created at the rear of the properties. A carriageway was placed through the ground floor of 12 Museum Street, providing access to the yard, whilst the rear boundaries of 10-12 Museum Street were also altered. This seems to have also presented the Bedford Estate with the opportunity to re-front 10-12 Museum Street, which probably took place at this time. The re-fronting of properties in stucco was in keeping with Estate practice, as referred to in a letter written to the architectural press in 1875: ‘… any one may see, on pacing for a few days those portions of the Bedford Estate which have, within the last dozen years, had their old brick fronts ‘done up’ in compo, from the designs of the Duke of Bedford’s surveyor, the Late Mr Charles Parker… the mean stone coping[s] have been replaced by mutuled and modillioned cornices; moulded ‘dressings’; with and without pediments may make us forget the mean, square brick openings of the old windows; and rustication and long lines of moulded stringcourses, all do their best to charm…’ (The Architect, 5 June 1875, 330).

Numbers 10, 11 and 12 Museum Street originally had two rooms to each upper floor, accessed by a dog-leg staircase at the south-west corner of each property. In 1993, the ground floors of 10 and 11 Museum Street were used as shops, whilst the upper floors of 10 Museum Street were occupied by offices and those to 11 and 12 Museum Street were in residential use. In the following few years, the upper floors of 11 and 12 Museum Street were converted to studio flats. This involved the removal of the main staircase from Number 11, with access provided from the staircase at Number 12 which appears to have been replaced at this time; entrances being cut through the party wall, whilst 11 Museum Street was also extended by an additional bay at the rear. This enabled two studio flats to occupy each floor of 11 Museum Street. The dividing walls between the front and rear rooms of 12 Museum Street were removed so that they could accommodate a single open-plan flat. Modern plasterboard partitions were inserted to create a bathroom in every flat and modern fitted kitchen units also installed.

A nightclub, known as ‘The End’, was constructed on the site of the former receiving yard to the rear of the buildings in 1993 to 1995 and extended to the east in 1997. This entailed alterations to the basement of 12 Museum Street, and the former carriageway through the ground floor which subsequently formed the exit to the nightclub. In 2019, the ground floor of 11 Museum Street and all the floors of 10 Museum Street were used as part of the ‘Variant 31’ zombie game, stated to be one of the largest live action experiences in the world, employing large numbers of actors. The walls were painted and some false finishes applied to provide a deliberately grimy, derelict appearance as part of the experience. The upper floors of 11 and 12 Museum Street appear to have remained in use as studio flats at this time. In 2022, the buildings were unoccupied.

Reasons for Listing

10-12 Museum Street, London, built in about the 1820s and re-fronted in about 1863 to 1865, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic interest:

* as a Georgian terrace subsequently re-fronted in the mid-C19 to match the architecture of the adjacent buildings of the New Oxford Street development, a major urban thoroughfare and important element of London’s early Victorian metropolitan improvements.

Architectural interest:

* for the architectural quality and detailing of the street elevations with their stuccoed pilasters, decorative consoles, moulded architrave surrounds to the windows which reflect classical proportions, rusticated quoins and heavy dentilled cornices;

* for the largely surviving plan form and internal features of 10 Museum Street, including a high-quality dog-leg staircase with a twisted mahogany handrail, some fireplaces, a cast-iron cooking range, a pair of brick coal vaults, and a range of joinery such as moulded door and window surrounds, coving, cornices and skirtings.

Group value:

* a terrace which forms part of a strong grouping of C19 buildings to this urban block, most of which are given matching or similar architectural treatment in association with the New Oxford Street development.

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