British Listed Buildings

History in Structure

If you log in, you can comment on buildings, submit new photos or update photos that you've already submitted.

We need to upgrade the server that this website runs on. Can you spare a quid to help?.

The Cottage on the Heath, Camden

Description: The Cottage on the Heath

Grade: II
Date Listed: 23 April 2008
Building ID: 1417879

OS Grid Reference: TQ2684585972
OS Grid Coordinates: 526845, 185972
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5584, -0.1716

Locality: Camden
County: Greater London Authority
Postcode: NW3 1BL

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text

The Cottage on the Heath


Former stables in Vernacular Revival style, converted to house. Circa 1885 by HS Legg for No 6 Gainsborough Gardens.

MATERIALS: Ground floor in red brick in Flemish bond, upper floor tile hung in alternating bands of plain and fish-scale tiles. Half-hipped roof is plain tiled. Windows are timber casements or sashes.

PLAN: Rectangular in plan, the outer wall forming part of the boundary with the Heath. The land drops steeply at the rear. One and a half storeys, with flush gabled dormers to the north and west elevations. Off-centre axial ridge stack, and tall internal stack at the rear.

EXTERIOR: The building occupies a prominent, bastion-like position in Gainsborough Gardens. Courtyard elevation: This is the most altered elevation of the building. Three irregular bays. The entrance and flanking windows are under tiled canopy supported on pierced iron brackets. The door, vertically boarded with chamfered rails and muntin under a 4-light overlight and flanked by an integral small-paned horned sash to the right and smaller similar sash to the left. The outer bay has a small-paned horned sash under a cambered brick arch. Above a, probably inserted, 2-light casement. To left a shallow 2-light casement dormer. To right the former ground-floor openings have been altered to fit C20 glazed French windows. Above, the dormer has a 3-light casement. All dormers have pebbledash rendered gables. Right hand return has inserted ground-floor door. The left-hand return has single-storey outshut under a tiled roof. Above is a tall 2-light dormer. The rear elevation has irregular small-paned casements and fixed lights on both storeys. The upper-floor windows flank a tall internal stack. Stacks are square with vertical moulded strips and dentilled caps. Each gablet of the main roof is surmounted by a terracotta finial.

The courtyard is contained within red-brick walls with a tile coping, fronting onto the road. Access is through a pair of brick gatepiers each with a square chamfered base, square piers chamfered at the upper angles and octagonal moulded stone cap surmounted by a ball finial.

INTERIOR: The former stables fittings have been removed and the interior partitioned for domestic use. The building's special interest therefore lies principally in its external architectural quality and group value.

HISTORY: Gainsborough Gardens was laid out between 1882 and 1895 on land belonging to the Wells and Campden Charity Trust. Plots were developed speculatively under the close scrutiny of the Trust and their surveyor H S Legg. The development adopted the newly heralded ethos shown at Bedford Park Chiswick, developed from 1875, where different styles of building cohere informally in a planned leafy environment. EJ May, recently appointed as principal architect at Bedford Park, designed the first building, Nos 3 & 4, Gainsborough Gardens, in 1884. Both architecturally and historically, this is a significant step in changing attitudes towards the emerging suburbs.

This is set against the background of steps to limit expansion onto Hampstead Heath and the preservation of Parliament Hill Fields, an achievement attributed to CE Maurice who built and lived at No 9A. He was married to the sister of Octavia Hill, philanthropist and founder of the National Trust.

The history of Gainsborough Gardens is prominent in the history of the protection of open spaces, particularly in Hampstead where the seeds of national awareness were sown. The whole scheme and individual houses are well documented giving an important record of the development of the Gardens. The outcome is a scheme of significant historic and architectural importance and particular aesthetic quality, based on a fine balance between building and open space, both of which survive almost intact.

Legg's buildings in Gainsborough Gardens group well and show a fitness for purpose using the vernacular revival idiom which he practised so creatively.

The Cottage on the Heath is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Quality of design and materials, despite the conversion to residential use
* Strong group value with No 6 Gainsborough Gardens and the other houses in the Gardens
* Strong contribution to the overall planning interest of Gainsborough Gardens

London Suburbs, English Heritage, 1999
Gainsborough Gardens Hampstead and the Estate of the Wells and Campden Trust. An account of their development with houses, 1875-1895, David A L Saunders, 1974
Proof of Evidence, Public Enquiry, No 9A Gainsborough Gardens and land Adjacent, London NW3, Victor Belcher, December 2006

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.