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Whittington Lodge, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Wandsworth

Description: Whittington Lodge, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Grade: II
Date Listed: 16 December 2014
Building ID: 1418208

OS Grid Reference: TQ2890777148
OS Grid Coordinates: 528907, 177148
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4786, -0.1451

Locality: Wandsworth
County: Greater London Authority
Postcode: SW8 4AA

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Listing Text


Former cattery, Italianate style with Arts and Crafts detailing, built c1907, architect Clough Williams-Ellis.

Reason for Listing

Whittington Lodge, a rendered brick-built cattery, designed by Clough Williams-Ellis and completed c1907 in an Italianate style with Arts and Crafts detailing, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:* Architectural interest: designed by the eminent architect Clough Williams-Ellis, Whittington Lodge is built in an Italianate style, with Arts and Crafts detailing that was intended to be both eye-catching and functional; * Historic interest: Whittington Lodge is a physical manifestation of a point in time when the care of lost and sick animals had gained acceptability as a worthy cause. At the time, its design set new standards and principles in the care of lost and abandoned animals;* Rarity: Whittington Lodge is a very rare example of a cattery dating to the early-C20 and may be the first purpose-built cattery in England;* Intactness: apart from the loss of the internal cat cages, the original structure is complete.


The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs was originally founded in 1860 by Mary Tealby at a site in Hollingsworth Street, Holloway and it moved to its present location in 1871. From the outset, the ethos of the Home was whenever possible to bring sick dogs back to health, re-unite owners with their lost pets, and to place dogs with new owners, if a re-union was not possible. Initially the Home only took in dogs, but from 1883 cats were also received. The Home received a major boost to its standing in 1885 when Queen Victoria became its patron. Space was always at a premium and following a Police muzzling order in 1896, which was introduced to contain the spread of rabies, the demands placed on the Home grew dramatically. To relieve the pressure, the Duke and Duchess of Portland opened the Home’s first country site at Hackbridge, Surrey in 1898. The need to up-date and improve the facilities at Battersea was becoming ever more apparent and in 1906-7, Clough Williams-Ellis was employed to draw up improvements to the site and he oversaw the re-conditioning of a number of buildings and facilities, the provision of new drainage systems, re-surfacing of paths using Stuart’s Granolithic blocks and slabs, and the construction of new kennels in five of the railway arches to the west of the site. One of the pressures on the Home that was addressed at the time was the growth in the numbers of cats that were being cared for. Clough Williams-Ellis was renowned for his idiosyncratic Italianate architecture, but even he seemed to have been surprised that he was permitted to build the cattery called Whittington Lodge – “ I was permitted to do a little face-lifting of the office blocks’ street front and slightly to embellish the entrance and board rooms, whilst on some pretext or other I did get away with a little two-storied pavilion with a cupola and weather vane atop its steep pantiled roof, and an elegant outside timber stairway round it.” During the Second World War the Home received a direct hit in a bombing raid; fortunately Whittington Lodge only received minor damage and was repaired. Throughout the 1950s, the Home’s funding was restricted and only minor alterations were made to the building stock, but ever since the 1960s there has been substantial modernisation and re-construction; nevertheless, Whittington Lodge survived. Initially built as a cattery, it has had many uses, including a storeroom, a keeper’s rest-room, and as an exhibition space, and over the years, it has gained an iconic status in the minds of many visitors to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.


Former Cattery built c1907; two-storey rendered Italianate style with Arts and Crafts detailing.ARCHITECT: Clough Williams-Ellis.MATERIALS: lime washed rendered brickwork with painted tile dressings, and a terracotta pantile roof. PLAN: trapezoidal-plan, two-storey structure. EXTERIOR: Whittington Lodge is a delightfully whimsical building, typical of the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. It is located centrally within a crescent-shaped courtyard formed by the former London Chatham and Dover Railway (High Level) to the west and the two-storey glazed elevation of the main Battersea Dogs and Cats Home buildings to the south and east. The main (south) elevation is symmetrical in design with central doorways to each floor, flanked by windows. The first-floor is approached by a rebuilt external timber stairway supported by timber posts with a half-landing and a principal landing. The stairs have plain splat balusters and square-section newel posts with ball finials. The timber casement windows are two-leaved, each of six panes, have depressed segmental arches with raised tile impost blocks and keystones, and those at first-floor have slatted timber shutters. The head of the right-hand ground floor window is laid in horizontal tiles. The doorway to the first-floor is recessed, together with a round-headed fanlight, beneath a rendered brick arch with a pronounced keystone. The ground-floor door, which is situated under the principal landing of the external stairway, is square-headed and approached by two steps down from the courtyard and has a glazed upper panel. Both doors are framed with vertical boards. The west elevation has a pair of single recessed rectangular pivot-hung six-pane timber casement windows to the ground-floor. At first floor is a triple flush timber casement window, each light of twelve panes, beneath a depressed arch with projecting tile impost blocks and keystone. The rear north elevation has a first-floor oculus with projecting rendered and painted keystones. The east elevation is blind. The flared hipped pantile roof has an octagonal glazed cupola beneath a lead covered dome finished with a feline weather vane. The roof projects beyond the wall surfaces and has a deep timber lined soffit raised on a cornice with cast-iron rainwater goods, supported by long, scrolled wrought iron brackets.INTERIOR: the interior to both floors is occupied by trapezoidal-plan rooms with plain rendered walls. The first floor now has a suspended ceiling but in addition to the daylight received from the windows, it may have been naturally lit from above by the lantern of the cupola.Two C20 air conditioning units located against the south wall beneath the half-landing of the stairway are not of special interest.

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