Block of flats with ground-floor shops, 1892-3, by W S Joseph and C J Smithem.
Reason for Listing
Crusader House is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the main façade is a rich and sophisticated essay in the French Renaissance manner, with excellent carving and ironwork and high-quality shop-fronts.
* Group value: with other listed buildings on Pall Mall (including the Athenaeum, Travellers' and Reform Clubs) and Nos. 11-17 Waterloo Place.
The building now known as Crusader House was built in 1892-3 as a block of service flats and business premises, part of the rebuilding of much of the north side of Pall Mall during the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. The architects were W S Joseph and C J Smithem, better known for their working-class housing - for example the Guinness Trust buildings in Bethnal Green, and the Samuel Lewis Trust estate on Liverpool Road, Islington. Their later Ada Lewis Women's Lodging House (now Driscoll House), opened in 1913, is listed Grade II.
The builders were Mark Patrick & Son and J T Chappell. The building was later converted into offices, but returned to residential use in 1996; all the interiors apart from the entrance hall and central stairwell date from the latter renovation.
PLAN: Five and a half storeys above a basement, with shops and entrance hall at ground level and flats on the upper floors, arranged around a central top-lit stairwell. Caretaker's flat and light-well to rear.
MATERIALS: Portland stone facing over brick construction. Mahogany shop-fronts with granite piers. Railings of wrought- and cast-iron. Slate roof.
EXTERIOR: The Portland stone façade to Pall Mall is in a highly ornate French Renaissance style with much carved work. The overall composition is tripartite: the central section is recessed, and the outer bays treated as slightly projecting towers, their verticality countered by continuous balconies and loggias across the upper floors. The ground floor contains four shops, two on each side of the main entrance; these have mahogany shop-fronts with moulded uprights and carving in the spandrels and stall-risers. The dividing piers are of grey granite, with freestanding Doric columns in the same material supporting bas-relief panels of cherubs, cornucopias and arabesques. The two central columns frame the entrance porch, whose superstructure rests on outsize scroll brackets with bas-reliefs of male half-figures emerging from foliate volutes, supporting an entablature surmounted by a balustrade with urns. The lintel over the main doorway has a female head in high relief with palm fronds and a strapwork surround. The first floor is of channelled masonry, with engaged columns dividing the tripartite windows in the outer bays. A heavy balustraded balcony on massive scroll-brackets runs the full width of the second floor, breaking forward across the outer bays where a giant pilaster order rises into the floor above, framing carved arabesque panels between the storeys. The central section has a third-floor balcony fronted with wrought-iron scrollwork; the French windows behind are set beneath scrolled pediments on brackets. The fourth floor, above a deep modilion cornice, has channelled masonry to the outer bays and paired Ionic columns forming a loggia in the central section, with a dentil cornice above. The attic features a row of shaped dormers , larger in the outer bays with engaged columns and carved tympana. Twin stacks with banded rustication crown the roof-ridge.
INTERIOR: A small entrance lobby with carved mahogany panels leads to a barrel-vaulted passage floored in black and white marble, which in turn opens into a large central hallway where a broad flying stair rises through the full height of the building. The stair has shaped- stone treads, an ornate balustrade of scrolled ironwork and a moulded hardwood handrail; the lower flight is curved, while the upper flights rise around a top-lit rectangular well. The interiors of the flats all belong to the 1996 renovation.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Area railings in wrought and cast iron, made up of panels of complex scrollwork with foliate terminations, framed by square-sectioned uprights bearing palmette decoration.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.