110 Fascinating Places in London and the South East Listed in 2019
The London filming location for Monty Python’s infamous Mr Creosote sketch, an Elizabethan playhouse in Shoreditch and the shipwreck of the SS Faith are included in line up of unusual buildings and places that have been listed, scheduled or upgraded across London and the South East this year.
Over 500 historic places have been added to the National Heritage List for England in 2019. As the year draws to a close, Historic England celebrates the 28 sites that have gained protection in London, and the 82 sites that have gained protection in the South East.
Across the country, 553 new entries in total have been added to the National Heritage List for England. This includes 513 new Listings, 37 newly Scheduled Monuments, 2 newly protected Parks and Gardens, and 1 newly Protected Wreck.
These highlights show the range of interest above and below ground in London and the South East. We see how buildings enabled our work – in the delightful Cabmens’ Shelter and the remarkable Nursemaids’ Tunnel – and helped us play – in the extraordinary Curtain Playhouse. Our crucial relationship with water is expressed in the Water Hydrant on the Isle of Wight, the Porchester Centre’s rare surviving baths, and the early iron steamship SS Faith. Together these places offer a glimpse into our history and its relevance to our lives today.
England is home to many historic, iconic, and sometimes quirky sites. Protecting our heritage is of huge importance so future generations can better understand all the things that have made this nation great. I'm delighted that such a diverse range of important and interesting places were protected by Historic England in 2019.
Harwarth Mausoleum, Fulham, London
Listed Grade II | 1463196
This free-standing, stone mausoleum in the churchyard of St Thomas of Canterbury church was built around 1918 by the notable architect Arthur Henry Durand (1875-1958) who assisted on the design of the Eiffel Tower and was responsible for the interior design of the Titanic and her sister ship. It is the only known mausoleum designed by the architect, and was built by Simon Harwath for his wife, who died in 1918. The couple were successful hoteliers in London, owning both the Curzon Street and Stafford Street hotels.
The mausoleum is virtually unaltered and features good-quality, neoclassical elevations, an elaborate interior with carved stone sculpture, fixtures and fittings; and a copper-domed roof.
The Curtain Playhouse, Shoreditch, London
Scheduled | 1463328
The Curtain was an Elizabethan playhouse, built around 1577, where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was staged during the playwright’s lifetime as well as Ben Jonson's 'Every Man in His Humour' - in which Shakespeare himself is listed as a performer. Substantial archaeological remains of the Curtain were discovered during excavations from 2011-16, becoming some of the earliest physical evidence for playhouses in London at this time.
Parts of the stage, the wings, galleries and yards were found along with 17th century structures showing the later use of the site as tenement housing. An Elizabethan ‘bird whistle’, perhaps used for sound effects during productions, and a floor made from cattle knuckle bones were among the objects and features unearthed. The historic remains are being preserved in situ and will be visible as part of a new exhibition and performance space in The Stage development.
Porchester Centre, Queensway, Bayswater, London
Upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*| 1262987
The Porchester Centre in Bayswater is an unusually elaborate civic building of the 1920s which survives with little alteration. The centre’s Turkish bath complex is now exceptionally rare, and the opulent main hall was famously featured in Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life’, with the Mr Creosote sketch filmed here in 1982.
The first Victorian Turkish bath in England opened in 1857, and London’s first complex followed soon after in 1860. Porchester Baths reflect the continuation of the essential Victorian Turkish bath arrangement into the 1920s, with three dry-heated chambers, a plunge pool, a body wash area and a distinct, upper-level cooling-room all surviving with original features intact. Since the original listing in 1994, understanding of the history of the Turkish bath in Britain has been greatly enhanced. From over 500 Turkish baths which once existed in England, there are only five that are still in use today. Porchester Baths is considered to be the best example, in terms of the quality of the scheme and its extent of survival.
Nursemaids’ Tunnel, Regent’s Park, London
Listed Grade II | 1465464
The Nursemaids’ Tunnel is one of the earliest surviving pedestrian subways in London. It was built in 1821 after local residents petitioned for a tunnel under the New Road (now Marylebone Road) to link Park Crescent from the south to the gardens in Park Square. The busy road was considered dangerous, especially to children who were often taken to the park by a nursemaid.
The tunnel’s portals are approached by gently sloping ramps which are perfect for prams. The portals are well-executed in stucco, each with fluted Doric columns flanking the arched entrance. The tunnel demonstrates a high degree of survival of its original fabric, even retaining iron hooks and chains embedded in the walls, thought to be fixtures for oil lamps from the original lighting scheme.
Cabmen's Shelter, Northumberland Avenue at the junction with Embankment Place, London
Listed Grade II | 1462592
Cabmen's shelters are rare survivors of an ornamental building type very specific to the operation of hansom cabs in London. The Northumberland Avenue cabmen’s shelter was built in 1915 and is a fine example of a shelter erected by the Cabmen’s Shelter Fund, based on Maximilian Clarke’s original design of 1882.
It is one of 13 examples to survive in London – the majority of these are listed. It represents one of the few relics of the horse age to remain in use, albeit now for taxi drivers. The internal fittings of the oak-framed building are predominantly modern, as is common amongst the remaining London cabmen’s shelters. However, the original open-plan galley kitchen and cabmen’s mess arrangement remains, as does the original roof structure beneath the suspended ceiling.
East Lodge and Gateway, Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham, West Sussex
Listed Grade II | 1462525
East Lodge was built in 1905 as an accomplished work by architects Sir Aston Webb and Edward Ingress Bell. The Elizabethan style design recalls the school’s 16th-century origins in London, its exterior almost completely intact. The attached gatepiers, carved with sculpted figures of uniformed scholars, were originally part of the old school’s Newgate Street entrance, and underlines the historical continuity between the old and new school sites.
White Lodge, St Mary’s Convent, Wantage, Oxfordshire
Upgraded to Grade II* | 1048574
White Lodge, St Mary’s Convent, Wantage, built c 1896-1897, is a house designed by the renowned architect M H Baillie Scott. This high quality building retains many of its original, handcrafted Arts and Crafts fittings including beaten copper fire hoods and fire ornaments in the drawing room, dining room and study, finger plates to many of the doors, and stained glass panels. It was created at a turning point in Baillie Scott’s career and is a key example of English ‘vernacular revival’ architecture which attracted international interest.
It joins other listed buildings in the area on the convent site, including St Mary’s Convent by GE Street, JL Pearson and W Butterfield (Grade II) and the Chapel attached to St Mary’s Convent by JL Pearson and Ninian Comper (Grade II*).
Wreck of the SS Faith, Isle Of Wight
Scheduled | 1462141
The SS Faith was an early iron steamship, built in 1852. It sank in 1855 off the coast of the Isle of Wight, after springing a leak in heavy weather. Its identity was confirmed in 2002, and it has been a popular dive site for decades.
One of only five early iron steamships that sailed in English waters from 1840-60, it retains unique information regarding screw driven steamships, during a time of significant technological changes as shipping moved from sail fully into the steam age. The deepest of the known iron-hulled vessels, this wreck also lies within seabed sediment conducive to preservation, so is likely to be the most complete surviving example of its kind.
Water Hydrant, Whitwell, Isle of Wight
Listed Grade II | 1465413
The water hydrant at Whitwell, Isle of Wight, was created in the late 19th century in decorative cast-iron, and remains fully intact. Although water hydrants were once a common feature of the street scene, original examples, especially of this quality and intactness, are increasingly rare. It comes from an age when a reliable and clean water supply was not universally available, and is a reminder of the philanthropy shown by some Victorian landowners to their local community.
It is part of a system of eight hydrants located throughout Nettlecombe and Whitwell, the other seven of which are also listed at Grade II.
First World War Practice Trenches, Tolsford Hill, Saltwood, Kent
Scheduled | 1463181
First World War practice trenches were developed to build the physical strength and resilience of new recruits, to establish bonds of teamwork and trust, and to teach them how to construct and maintain trenches, before all these skills were needed on the battlefield. The features at Tolsford Hill are well-preserved and include lines of fire trenches, communications trenches and mock craters. The trench system was constructed around 1914 and is now filled in – a number were backfilled whilst the site was in use and the remainder shortly after 1919.
The large-scale training of recruits prior to their departure to the Western Front in the First World War was very important and although these trenches leave few visual marks above ground, they can be understood through buried archaeology. These trenches enhance our understanding of national defence policy and are a poignant memorial to the young men of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, RAF Cadets, 31st Middlesex regiment and the Russian Relief Force who trained here before going on to fight in the trenches in Europe.