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Posts Tagged ‘Baron’s Court Area’

Yes, LAMDA or the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art is the next building west of the studios after Colet House, or more precisely it is a complex of three buildings.

LAMDA Building Main Entrance

LAMDA Building Main Entrance

The institutions that combined to form LAMDA actually date from 1861 and include the London Academy of Music making the Academy one of the oldest of its kind.  It moved here in 2003 (the site was formerly occupied by the Royal Ballet School, see my earlier entry on Margot Fonteyn).

For us the school has two advantages.  Firstly, there are constantly new productions to check out right in front of our door (see for upcoming productions on LAMDA’s site here).  And secondly, they have some grand plans for the site.  They chose Niall McLaughlin Architects and came up with this exiting idea:

The new building!

The new building!

I will be coming back  for some more drama even when it is not next door anymore…

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Barons Keep

Photo by Maggie Jones

Barons Keep is a nice apartment block.  Designed by Gunton & Gunton the property is five storeys in height and was designed to allow each of the 118 dual aspect flats a view of the open space to the West (presently occupied by West London College, see my earlier post for an image back then).

Barons Keep Layout

Here the layout, it has been built in a horseshoe shape around a central landscaped courtyard.

Barons Keep Art Deco Details

Photo by Maggie Jones

It has some excellent 1930s Art Deco features like the metal casement windows, in particular the fountain shaped staircase windows that run the whole height of the building, and swung balconies.  It is for those reasons Barons Keep has been listed by the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham as a building of merit.

Elevation Study from Courtyard

Barons Keep is managed by its residents and they have some cool ideas.  I particular like their proposed new 6th Floor made entirely of glas, it will look stunning!  Here an elevation study as seen from the courtyard.

One thing however I have not found out in my ten years here in Barons Court is the question of what is it with the missing apostrophe for Barons This and That.  Anybody knows?

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Barons Court Station East

The Station from the East

Here a brief history of the Conservation Area (from the Conservation Area Character Profile here):

The name of Barons Court is believed to have been devised by Sir William Palliser, who owned and developed the land, formerly part of a large agricultural holding. Use of the name to attract potential house buyers may have been suggested by nearby Earls Court or possibly in allusion to the Court Baron held by the Lord of the Manor, the Bishop of London. The 1865 Ordnance Survey Plan shows that most of the Barons Court Conservation Area was in agricultural use, although the main arterial thoroughfares of North End Lane (upgraded and renamed Talgsth Road), North End Road and Old Greyhound Road (renamed Greyhound Road), existed at this time.

By the time of the publication of the 1894/5 Ordnance Survey Plan much of the residential road framework was in place with the majority of the residential development having already occurred. Significant developments which had taken place since the earlier Survey are the construction of the over-ground District Railway and Barons Court and WestKensington Stations, and the laying out of Hammersmith Cemetery, then known as Margravine Cemetery.

The 1916 Survey shows very little change to the road layout, although a second phase of residential development had taken place. For example, to the west of the conservation area, Margravine Gardens had been extended to give access to St Dunstan’s Road facilitating further residential development creating an enclosed residential street block. Furthermore, at this time the remainder of the properties on Claxton Grove and Beaumont Crescent had been completed and the two mansion blocks on Palliser Road were built.  In the 1920s & 30s the green space between Barton Road and Barons Court Road was replaced by residential accommodation, including Barton Court.

and from the South

and from the South

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Colet House

Colet House

Originally 46 Colet Gardens and now 151 Talgarth Road Colet House is part of our terrace of houses that was originally known as 1-9 St Paul’s Studios. It was built circa 1885. The eight individual studios were built a couple of years later than Colet House. All nine houses have huge windows catching the north light. Colet House is much the largest and is differently designed from its neighbours. It has two spacious ground floor studios and an exceptionally large studio on the first floor – 10.5 metres by 22.5 metres (35ft x 75ft), comfortably long enough for a cricket pitch. There is a symmetry that is almost exact with one side of the house being virtually the mirror image of the other. The present main staircase was a 1938 addition, there being, originally, two staircases at the rear. There are still stone turret staircases at the east and west perimeters. Behind each ground floor studio is a rear room, probably once intended for domestic use and suggesting that the ground floor was originally suitable for division into separate accommodation.

Top Studio (22m x 10m)

Top Studio (22m x 10m)

Sir Coutts Lindsay, a painter and founder of the first Grosvenor Gallery in Bond Street, then something of a rival to the Royal Academy, is reputed to have been the builder of the studios. What is now Colet House, from the start, had a multiplicity of occupants, mostly painters. The best known was Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867- 1956). Son of a Welsh architect, he was born in Bruges, Belgium, and came to London, aged 10. He was apprenticed to William Morris, travelled widely, establishing himself first as an illustrator, but turning also to design of furniture, stained glass, metalwork and much else. By early 20th century Brangwyn had built a new reputation as a painter and etcher but also as creator of large – very large – works! His main studio was at his house just off Hammersmith Broadway and there it was big enough for him to handle most of his commissions, including a set of wall paintings for the House of Lords (these were never hung where intended but ended up in the Guildhall in Swansea). But one commission was clearly too large for his available space. In the early years of the 20th century, Gordon Selfridge was planning his huge department store on Oxford Street.   Brangwyn was commissioned to design mosaics for the building’s dome, which was to be 70 ft in diameter. It is thought that it was to create this work that Brangwyn acquired space at Colet House. He is reported to have described the ‘Baron’s Court Studio’ as ‘a wonderful place … the finest studio in London … a place fit for Michelangelo himself…’ In fact, the Selfridge dome was never built — its potential weight was judged to be so great as likely to cause the whole store to sink onto the Underground tracks running beneath!

One of the two Studios on the lower floor (8.5m x 10m)

One of the two Studios on the lower floor (8.5m x 10m)

Many artists continued to occupy Colet House studios until the mid-30’s when dancers began to have classes in its fine studios. Nicolai Legat, the Russian ballet master, held classes there with Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Anton Dolin and Serge Lifar reportedly amongst his pupils. The Russian influence in the house increased and in 1938 P D Ouspensky, the philosopher and writer chose it to be the headquarters of his work. It was at Colet House that he founded a society, today known as The Study Society, or to give it its full name, the Society for the Study of Normal Psychology. Large gatherings assembled in the top floor studio that was then equipped with plush tip-up seating. A printing press (since removed) was put into the basement. At the start of World War II the building was requisitioned by the Admiralty and returned in time for Ouspensky’s last lectures in 1947. Shortly afterwards it was leased to the Royal Ballet, their main school being next to Colet House (now housing the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art or LAMBDA) to the west. In 1957, with the ballet’s own premises enlarged, the house was for sale and was again acquired by Study Society.

There are lots of other rooms, like the Blue Room (6m x 6m)

There are lots of other rooms, like the Blue Room (6m x 6m)

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