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Byron Court

A Grade II Listed Building in Ham, Petersham and Richmond Ri, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4324 / 51°25'56"N

Longitude: -0.3052 / 0°18'18"W

OS Eastings: 517909

OS Northings: 171739

OS Grid: TQ179717

Mapcode National: GBR 77.KQL

Mapcode Global: VHGR8.N8H8

Entry Name: Byron Court

Listing Date: 22 December 1998

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1051029

English Heritage Legacy ID: 471923

Location: Richmond upon Thames, London, TW10

County: London

District: Richmond upon Thames

Electoral Ward/Division: Ham, Petersham and Richmond Ri

Built-Up Area: Richmond upon Thames

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Ham St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Richmond upon Thames

Listing Text

TQ 1771 PARKLEYS, HAM COMMON

22/23/10049 Nos.1-16 Byron Court

22.12.1998

GV II


Block of sixteen flats. 1954-6 by Eric Lyons for Bargood Estates Ltd, subsequently Span Developments Ltd; Geoffrey Paulson Townsend developer, G Scoble project architect, Wates Ltd., builder. The lower block of crosswall construction, with brick partitions; the higher block with brick end walls and partitions, concrete and tile hanging, with Eternit block. Flat felted roofs. Brick stacks. 'H'-plan block of three storeys and twelve flats with centre entrance and stairwell; two-storey projection to left of entrance front of four flats with central entrance and stairs. Three-storey block has entrance front with centre of four fully glazed tiers of windows in metal panes, apart from open entrance to right side, the ground floor masked by covered walkway of timber which bears the block's name. To sides of entrance glazing are concrete lattice panels ventilating drying rooms. Rear centre facade a tripartite composition of concrete lattice ventilation panels incorporating projecting dustbin store. Flank walls with continuous horizontal glazing in timber frames, divided by tile hanging. The rest of the windows also timber. Four bay side walls with principal rooms, these denoted on first and second floors by each group of three windows having to right two deeper units with window box, divided at sill and one of the pair with top opening. The ground floor is an alternating composition of three windows per bay, one fully glazed with French windows, the other windows similar to those above with sill rail. Tile hanging between each storey. Brick end walls have one square window towards centre on each floor. Impressive staircase hall with open well concrete staircase serving flats 5-16, with terrazzo stairs and landing. Steel balustrades with timber panels to first flight and landings. Flats originally with timber floors but have not been inspected. Two-storey wing of five bays, divided by exposed ends of crosswall. Both facades with full-width windows of three square panes per bay, some with top-opening casements, the storeys divided by tile hanging. Central entrance has large plate glass windows divided at sill level to front, and, to rear, entrance-way to ground floor, vertical staircase window of two panes to first floor, louvres to both storeys. Other bays in mirrored composition round centre, front elevation has two deeper windows in corner bays, divided at sill level and with window boxes, outermost window blind; rear has innermost window blind, then tripartite composition with central top-opening casement, blind window in centre of end bays. Staircase hall to flats 1-4 with paved floors, terrazzo stairs, and steel balustrades with timber panels to first flight and to landing. Timber doors with green glazing to store rooms. Interiors of flats not inspected but not thought to be of special interest. Byron Court is one of the most complex groups within the Parkleys development, the first and largest of the influential private schemes by Span. Eric Lyons and Geoffrey Townsend met in the late 1930s and renewed their partnership after wartime service. They developed a number of small private developments in the south-west London and north Surrey borders, until in 1954 Townsend set himself up as a developer and was forced to give up his RIBA membership. This is their first mature work, and their first as Span Developments Ltd. It is on the site of a nursery, and the blocks of flats were carefully laid out so that existing trees were kept, and the nursery stock is and its gardener were taken over as part of the development. It is laid out as a series of cul-de-sacs, with the taller blocks as distinctive 'points' in the grid of lower development. The combination of two- and three-storey blocks is distinctive to Parkleys, while that of brick and tile hanging was repeated subsequently in Span works, particularly at Blackheath. The use of concrete panels in the taller block makes its design Lyons's most distinctive anywhere in the 'contemporary' idiom. In the lower block the mixture of old materials used in a modern manner makes for a particularly humane environment which was much admired. Lyons's terraces are a modern vernacular answer to the Georgian tradition of central London, set in lush suburban landscaping but at such relatively high densities (about 80 persons per acre) that Span were frequently in dispute with planning authorities. Parkleys was developed for first-time buyers, and Span was one of the first companies to promote the endowment mortgage. It is also the first example of the system of residents' management companies set up by Span which has kept many of their developments in such exceptional condition. Each leaseholder contributes to the funding of paid maintenance staff, and is a member of the management company that runs the estate.
Eric Lyons was admired for 'bridging the gap' between speculative work and the creativity most architects of his generation only found in the public sector. 'Twenty years ago he would have been regarded as barely respectable, today he is important. He may even come to be looked back upon as a key figure' (Architectural Review, February 1959. And so he is. The opportunity to work in such a close partnership with a sympathetic developer enabled Lyons to pursue his own ideas in materials, layout and design. Yet the blocks had to be simple, for 'the architect has to design and organise so that buildings can be produced at the same cost as a builder's scheme providing the same accommodation', or so Townsend reminded the Architects' Journal (20 January 1955).


Listing NGR: TQ1790971739

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