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Waterlow Court (Hampstead Garden Suburb) Barnet
   
Summary: Waterlow Court is an enclave of cloistered flats designed in 1904 by architect M H Baillie Scott, his only multiple housing scheme for Hampstead Garden Suburb. It was built as a communal residence for professional single women by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company Ltd, whose chairman was Lord Sidney Waterlow. Around the buildings are five landscaped areas with lawns, beds, a wild garden with 35 fruit trees and a 1939 pre-cast shelter. The layout remains similar today to that of Baillie Scott's original plan; it is likely that the planting scheme was inspired by Gertrude Jekyll.
Previous / Other name:
Site location: Heath Close, off Hampstead Way
Postcode: NW11 > Google Map
Type of site: Housing/Estate Landscaping
Date(s): 1904-9
Designer(s): M H Baillie Scott
Listed structures: LBII*: Waterlow Court
Borough: Barnet
Site ownership: Waterlow Court Residents Association Ltd
Site management: Gardener employed by Waterlow Court Residents Association Ltd
Open to public? By appointment only
Opening times: Has opened for OGSW (guided tours). Otherwise private, for residents only
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Public transport: Tube: Golders Green (Northern)
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2008
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.hgs.org.uk

Fuller information:

Grounds of cloistered flats designed in 1904 and completed in 1909 by the distinctive English architect M H Baillie Scott (1856-1945), his only multiple housing scheme for Hampstead Garden Suburb that was built. It was erected by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company Ltd, whose chairman was Lord Sidney Waterlow, as a communal residence for professional single women. Baillie Scott, one of the Arts and Crafts Movement architects, adhered to the principle of 'Truth to Materials', and all door and window furniture at Waterlow Court, for example, were specially designed and made. In his book 'Houses and Gardens' (1906) Baillie Scott describes flats as country houses stacked one above the other, with all rooms off a hall. The interiors of some of the flats have exposed timbers and dowelled joints. 'The materials derive from Voysey, the cloisters from Lutyens's house ‘Orchards'. The courtyard shows Baillie Scott at his starkest, with sheer unbroken white plaster walls and smooth undecorated round-arched cloisters yet there is softness and gentleness in the proportions.' (OGSW booklet, 2008).

When it was built Waterlow Court comprised 50 individual flats of 3 to 5 rooms, with a communal dining room and small Common Room, housekeeper's and servants' accommodation and a kitchen where communal meals were prepared. Porter's accommodation was either side of the main entrance. The cloisters around the central courtyard allowed covered access from all the flats to the dining room and other communal rooms housed in a gabled block at the centre of the rear range facing the courtyard. The communal rooms were later converted to flats and the complex now has 54 flats in all. The first man came to live here in 1943 and there is now at least one family; the residents are all shareholders in Waterlow Court Residents Association Ltd, which was set up in 1986 to acquire the freehold and manage the property, by then falling into disrepair following neglect by successive freeholders. A policy of lessee-occupiers only preserves the character of Waterlow Court.

There are five landscaped areas with lawns, beds, a wild garden with 35 fruit trees and a 1939 pre-cast shelter. The layout is very similar today to that of Baillie Scott's original plan; it is likely that the original planting scheme was inspired by Gertrude Jekyll. From the entrance gate a covered way leads to the housing, either side of which are lawns with shrub borders and trees, including a mulberry and a black walnut. The central courtyard has a square lawn surrounded by paved paths along which are a number of benches, backed by flower borders to the cloisters, planted with flowers, shrubs, climbing roses. Surrounding the housing are more lawns: that on one side is terminated by a bungalow and that on the other by a garden shed with grandiose portico; originally there were one or two croquet lawns here. Along the border to the north lawn is a row of pollarded Lombardy poplars, planted when the adjacent site was built. As elsewhere in Hampstead Garden Suburb, hedges with arches were an important feature and most of those at Waterlow Court have been restored in recent years. The garden area at the back is likely to have been used for growing food; this was certainly the case during WWII. The large number of fruit trees recalls Dame Henrietta Barnet's ambition for every house in Hampstead Garden Suburb to have its fruit tree. The mound at the back of this area may possibly have been formed from building spoil, and is a wilder area with self-seeded trees and shrubs. A flight of steps leads up from a small formal garden behind what was the communal dining room; this was created in celebration of the Millennium and has a sundial and box hedging.

Sources consulted:

Leaflet produced for OGSW 2008; Diane Haigh 'Baillie Scott: The Artistic House' (Academy Editions, 1995); Mervyn Miller and A Stuart Gray, 'Hampstead Garden Suburb' (Phillimore, 1992); 'Fighting the battle of Waterlow Court', Chartered Surveyor Weekly, 17 April 1986
Grid ref: TQ256875
Size in hectares:
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: Yes
Conservation Area name: Hampstead Garden Suburb
Tree Preservation Order: Not known
Nature Conservation Area: No
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: No
Special Policy Area: No
Other LA designation: Article 4 Direction
   

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