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Glen House Princess Christian's Hospital, Hildenborough

Description: Glen House Princess Christian's Hospital

Grade: II
Date Listed: 19 February 1990
English Heritage Building ID: 179635

OS Grid Reference: TQ5734550513
OS Grid Coordinates: 557345, 150513
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2321, 0.2523

Location: Hildenborough, Kent TN11 9LH

Locality: Hildenborough
Local Authority: Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: TN11 9LH

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Listing Text

TQ 55 SE
2/202 Glen House, Princess
- Christian's Hospital


Residential home for the mentally handicapped, originally designed as the
girls' home at Princess Christian's Farm Colony, a farming community funded by
the C19 National Association for Promoting the Welfare of the Feebleminded.
1916, designed by Clough Williams-Ellis with additions and alterations before
1923 by Conrad Birdwood Willcocks (information from the RIBA library). Circa
1930s addition built by the colonists. Roughcast with a probably late C20
tiled roof; brick stacks. The style is plain early C18 and although the north
elevation has some similarities to an almshouse the garden elevation is closer
to a small country house. The later addition is out of scale with the
original but uses matching materials and windows.

Plan and Development: A long, approximately rectangular north-facing
building, the circa 1930s addition at the east end. The original range is
symmetrically-planned double depth with 2 span roofs, the centre block set
slightly south of the flanking wings, forming a recessed entrance block to the
north and containing a large room (probably the original dining room)
projecting forward to the south. The east and west wings have longitudinal
corridors with small rooms off them to north and south, the first floor
corridor lit by roof lights. Identical flights of stairs rise at the outer
end of each wing, the west wing preserves a doorway, facing the stair, in the
west end. There are symmetrically-positioned blocked doorways into the wings
on the north side, close to the stairs. The 1930s addition is a large,
rectangular block adjoining the east end and projecting to the south.
Although there have been some alterations to the original plan, including some
new internal partitions and the removal of one chimney stack, these changes
have not destroyed the overall layout of 1916.

Exterior: Long, low north (entrance) elevation, single storey and attic.
Roof hipped at ends; the stacks with tall, slim, rectangular shafts with
hollow-chamfered coping. The 1916 building preserves its original 12-pane
sash windows with thick rectangular glazing bars. The 3-bay entrance block
set back in the centre is under a big gable in the form of a moulded pediment
with a platband below. Central round-headed outer doorway with a keyblock,
flanked by paired pilasters with 12-pane sashes to left and right. In the
gable above the doorway 12-pane sashes flank a round-headed niche containing a
large statue representing one of the original farm 'colonists'. It is a high
quality realist sculpture of a girl in which was presumably the uniform of
1916, a cotton cap, long dress and apron. The girl holds a scroll. The
windows and niche, which is crowned with a ball finial, form a cartouche with
scrollwork in relief to left and right. Above the entrance block on the main
ridge, there is an openwork timber bellcote in the form of a bell-shaped
cupola, bell missing. 6-bay flanking wings with a platband below the deep
eaves, each wing with 3 flat-roofed attic formers. evidence of a blocked
doorway to each wing, replaced in the west wing by a 12-pane sash. Originally
symmetrical south elevation, the 2-storey 4-bay centre block projecting
forward, the 6-bay wings single-storey and attic, with platbands below the
deep eaves. The centre block has rusticated quoins and a parapet above a deep
cornice with a dentil frieze; 12-pane first floor sashes, 6 over 9 pane ground
floor sashes, one converted to a door; first floor oculi to the returns. The
wings have flat-roofed attic dormers with paired sashes and an additional
dormer to the east wing. The 1930s east block repeats the details of the
centre block with rusticated quoins, a cornice and similar sash windows but
with moulded glazing bars.

Interior: Some original 1916 joinery survives: 2-panel early C18 style doors
with fielded panels. The stairs have alternating splat and turned balusters.

The Princess Christian Farm Colony was established by Queen Victoria's
daughter Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, her sister Princess Marie
Louise and four local residents, including Dr Langdon Down who first described
Down's syndrome. They purchased land and a farmstead from Lord Derby and
founded a largely self-supporting farm community for the mentally handicapped,
whose parents contributed according to their means. The complex was opened in
1910 and absorbed into the National Health service in 1948.

Plans and a photograph of the front elevation were published in 'Recent
English Domestic Architecture', Vol. 5, ed. Macartney (n.d., circa 1916). The
photograph shows that the doorways have been altered.

Clough Williams-Ellis, best known for his development at Port Meiron
in Wales was not a prolific architect. Glen House is an interesting example
of philanthropic Edwardian architecture, its scale and detail designed to
accord with the philosophy of a community which did not incarcerate the
mentally handicapped.

Listing NGR: TQ5677549415

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.

Source: English Heritage

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