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61 Monmouth Street

A Grade II Listed Building in Camden, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5132 / 51°30'47"N

Longitude: -0.127 / 0°7'37"W

OS Eastings: 530069

OS Northings: 181031

OS Grid: TQ300810

Mapcode National: GBR HC.NQ

Mapcode Global: VHGQZ.R779

Entry Name: 61 Monmouth Street

Listing Date: 15 January 1973

Last Amended: 16 March 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1322126

English Heritage Legacy ID: 477529

Location: Camden, London, WC2H

County: London

District: Camden

Electoral Ward/Division: Holborn and Covent Garden

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Camden

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Giles-in-the-Fields

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


CAMDEN

TQ3081SW MONMOUTH STREET
798-1/105/1141 (East side)
15/01/73 No.61

GV II

Terraced house with later shop. 1699, built by S Chase,
altered early C19 and 1978-85 by Terry Farrell as part of
refurbishment of Comyn Ching triangle. Brown brick with tiled
mansard roof behind added C18 parapet. Brick bands below
parapet and at 2nd floor level. 2 windows and 1 blind
half-window. Shopfront renewed or perhaps restored by Farrell
following early C19 design. To 1st and 2nd floor gauged flat
red brick arches to sash windows with slightly recessed frames
and exposed boxing. Rear elevation restored as part of Ching
Court development by Farrell. INTERIOR: not inspected.

Listing NGR: TQ3006881030

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Summary

Terraced house, now shop and offices, 1699, built by S Chase, altered early C19, restored and in part remodelled 1983-5 by the Terry Farrell Partnership as part of the regeneration of Comyn Ching Triangle.

Description

A terraced house, now a shop and offices, 1699, built by S Chase, altered early C19, restored and in part remodelled 1983-5 by the Terry Farrell Partnership as part of the regeneration of Comyn Ching Triangle.

MATERIALS: the front elevation is in red-brown brick, with red brick dressings, the rear also in red-brown brick in Flemish bond. To the rear it has stone paving and masonry parapet walls with steel rails and a timber and masonry porch.

The scale, forms and palette of materials and colours used in the new work complement and provide both a unifying identity and new vitality to the scheme. Traditional materials are interpreted in a forward-thinking way, while the bold rear entrance is coloured turquoise blue, black and deep red.

PLAN: terraced house, now shop and offices, in two storeys with an attic and basement, and in two bays, with the entrance to the left. The upper floors are fitted out as offices and served by rear entrance No 5. It is now in part inter-connected with No 63 Monmouth Street.

EXTERIOR: the ground floor has a shop front, created by Farrell, of five vertical lights with slender glazing bars, with a concave stall riser on brackets, and a renewed doorcase and part-glazed door, with a Farrell number plate above. The upper floors retain the late C17 brick facade, which has a plain plat band above each storey. First and second floor windows are of six-over-six panes with heavy glazing bars in late C17/C18 manner, in near flush frames in exposed boxes, and beneath flat gauged brick arches; to the right is a narrow blind recessed panel. The parapet is rebuilt in stock brick and set back behind it is a flat-roofed, four light dormer. To the right is a brick ridge stack.

REAR: the rear elevations enclose Ching Court, which slopes from N to S. Throughout, rear basement areas, clad in masonry, are set behind a shallow moulded masonry plinth with a tubular steel balustrade, with Farrell's signature reversed CC insignia.

The rear of No 61 Monmouth Street is in red-brown and stock brick, in three and a half storeys plus a basement, with a gabled parapet. Dominating the ground floor is Farrell's monumental porch, one of three serving the upper floor offices on this side of the Court. Each is a bold interpretation of a baroque C18 doorcase, flat-roofed and almost Mannerist in concept. The timber doorcases are painted turquoise blue, the outer face of the canopy picked out in deep red. Each is reached by a shallow flight of semi-circular masonry steps - two steps in this case, with an inset polished circular panel in the upper step, and a masonry threshold, between flared masonry parapet walls, here of unequal height. The entrance is recessed behind square-section openings, above a canopy with a central convex moulding, also picked out in a deep red colour, which responds to the concave cornice above. The door has four square glazed lights above flush moulded panels, at the centre of which is a door knob and a letter box set low beneath it. The returns have simple recessed panels beneath a shallow cornice. Each has a recessed fixed panel resembling a door or window, with four square glazed lights above flush panels.

The ground floor window is a six-over-six pane sash with very slender glazing bars, painted black, beneath a flat, gauged brick arch, and with Farrell's window guard. The upper floor windows have shallow segmental or cambered arches, with similar six-over-six panes on the first and second floors, with a taller stairwell window, and three-over-six panes above.

INTERIOR: a rear stairwell has a pine, closed-string stair, amalgamated from the remains of original staircases. It has square newels, a square section moulded rail and turned balusters. As elsewhere in the scheme, the stairwell has restored and recreated three quarter height panelling and doorcases with robust Farrell architraves and flying cornices, in a mannerist, postmodern interpretation of an C18 decorative scheme, where the stair also cuts across the stairwell window. The original roof trusses are said to be exposed (AJ, 6 March 1985, 53).

NOTE: the mapping of the rear porches, parapet walls and railings is not drawn to scale.

History

SITE HISTORY
Comyn Ching Triangle in its present form is the result of a regeneration project, executed in three phases from 1978-91 by the Terry Farrell Partnership. The project integrated the restoration of existing C17, C18 and C19 listed buildings and shop fronts with the design and erection of new buildings and the creation of a new public space, in a mixed use development. It occupies one of the triangular blocks that radiate from the Seven Dials, laid out in 1692 by Sir Thomas Neale, and is bounded by Monmouth Street to the W, Mercer Street to the NE and Shelton Street to the SE, and at its core is Ching Court, and a public thoroughfare through it, created in 1983-5.

The regeneration of Comyn Ching Triangle was central to Farrell's work in the Covent Garden area, following Clifton Nurseries (1980-1). It is a significant example of his approach to urban contextualisation from the 1980s, in its pragmatic elision of a new urban plan and structures with the existing scale, fabric and patina of the essentially C17, C18 and C19 streetscape.

Farrell created a new landscaped, public space in the centre of the site, an area which had previously been gradually built over, obscuring the original building line. New entrances from Monmouth Street and Shelton Street provided access to this courtyard, and a diagonal public route across it, while a series of added entrances at ground floor level within the courtyard provided access to the upper floors of the existing buildings and gave prominence to the rear elevations which had been previously hidden by extensions and years of accumulated buildings. At the corners of the site new buildings replaced redundant commercial premises, while the intervening street frontages of existing commercial premises, most of them listed buildings of C17 and C18 origin, were renovated. Integral to the project was the reinstatement and refurbishment of the premises and showroom of the longstanding occupants, Comyn Ching ironmongers, at 17-19 Shelton Street.

The historic streetscape is made up of traditional three and four storey buildings, now mostly with added attics or mansards and with basements. Most are conventionally constructed in red, plum and stock brick, some with red brick or engineering brick dressings, some stucco rendered or painted, and have slate and tile roofs.

The scale, forms and palette of materials and colours used in the new buildings at the corners of the site complement and provide both a unifying identity and new vitality to the scheme. They are clad in traditional materials interpreted in a forward-thinking way, while windows and bold Mannerist entrances are coloured turquoise blue and deep red. Throughout, the scheme is unified by Farrell’s interpretation of the Comyn Ching logo – paired inverted ‘Cs’ which are a signature of the metalwork.

At the core of the site, Ching Court is a discrete and tranquil paved court, which creates a seamless connection with the buildings. Sloping from N to S, it is reached by semicircular steps descending from the N entrance and shallow stepped paving rising from the Shelton Street entrance. The corner rotundas, prominent rear entrances, modelled rear windows, masonry parapet walls, kerbs and a built-in seat to the rear of Mercer Street, place the buildings within the landscape. Varied forms of steel balconies, window guards, and later planters also designed by Farrell, and bearing the CC logo, provide context within the idiom of the site.

RECEPTION
On completion the scheme was admired and well received, notably in a critique in the Architects' Journal (6 March 1985), which praised its architectural assurance and ingenuity. 'Where old fabric has been kept it is revered and treated seriously, but in the final result we are not so much aware of the old and the new co-existing side by side as of one single lively identity embodied in the still recognisable historic streets' (AJ 6 March 1985, 58). The project won a Civic Trust Award in 1987 and on 26 March 1999 the Seven Dials Renaissance Project was awarded an Environmental Design Award by the London Borough of Camden.

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
Designs for the enabling stage were prepared from 1978 and executed on site from 1981 to 1983. Following the granting of listed building consent, the corner buildings at Seven Dials were demolished and the C17 panelled interiors and stairs from 51 Monmouth Street were removed and stored, to be reinstated in 55 Monmouth Street.

Phase 1 (on site June 1983, completed May 1985), entailed the restoration, conversion or part-reconstruction of 15 listed C17-C19 houses and shopfronts; and the creation of Ching Court and new entrances within it to the upper floors of Shelton Street and Monmouth Street buildings. It encompassed 53-63 Monmouth Street, laid out as a mix of offices on three storeys above retail on the ground floor and basement levels; 11-19 Shelton Street, arranged as a mix of flats on three storeys above retail at ground floor and basement levels; and 21-27 Mercer Street, arranged as four houses, for private sale.

Phase 2 (on site 1985, completed c1987) comprised a new building on the corner of Seven Dials, at 45-51 Monmouth Street and 29-31 Mercer Street, which provided four storeys of offices above ground and basement level retail premises. A new building on the corner site at 19 Mercer Street and 21 Shelton Street provided flats on six storeys and a basement.

Phase 3 (on site c1989, completed c1991), addressed the southern apex of the site, 65-75 Monmouth Street and 1-9 Shelton Street. The restoration, conversion or part-reconstruction of four listed buildings (65-71 Monmouth Street) and four unlisted C17-C19 houses and shopfronts on Shelton Street, integrated with a new building at the southern corner of the triangle, provided retail accommodation on the ground floor and basement, three storeys of offices above, with a residential top floor.

ARCHITECT
Sir Terry Farrell (b 1938) is a pre-eminent British architect and urban designer, of international standing. He has been a leading force in establishing postmodernism as an architectural presence in this country. After graduating from the University of Newcastle School of Architecture, Farrell took a Masters in Architecture and City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, where tutors included Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, whose work would later have a bearing on the postmodernist movement in Britain.

While working briefly for the LCC in 1961-2, Farrell was responsible for the Blackwall Tunnel Ventilation Towers (constructed 1961-4, each listed at Grade II, National Heritage List for England 1246736 and 1246738). After 15 years in partnership with Nicholas Grimshaw, which included the Herman Miller Factory, Bath (1976, listed Grade II, NHLE 1415261), Farrell set up practice independently. At that time he was also involved in Charles Jencks' Thematic House, London (1979-84), an early and important essay in postmodernism. Notable projects in Britain, the majority in London, include Clifton Nurseries, Covent Garden, (1980-1), TV am studios, Camden Lock, 1982, now altered; Comyn Ching, Seven Dials (completed 1985); Landmark House, City of London (1985-7), Charing Cross Station (Embankment Place), Westminster (1990); Alban Gate, 125 London Wall (1990-2); MI6 headquarters, Vauxhall (1993); also the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (1995). More recent projects range from the Home Office, London (completed 2005); the Great North Museum, Newcastle (completed 2009) to Bicester Eco Town, Oxon (ongoing). He established an office in Hong Kong in 1991, leading to a prolific practice in Asia, noted for Beijing South Station (completed 2008).

Farrell continues to be an important voice, contributing through published works to current architectural opinion. The Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment (2014) followed a commission from the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

Reasons for Listing

61 Monmouth Street, a terraced house, now shop and offices, 1699, built by S Chase, altered early C19, restored and in part remodelled 1983-5 by the Terry Farrell Partnership as part of the regeneration of Comyn Ching Triangle, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architect: a significant, formative scheme by a leading British architect and exponent of postmodernism;

* Architectural interest: a dated late C17 house, retained as part of a spatially powerful, mixed-use regenerative scheme, marked by bold form and detail, notable in Farrell's new rear entrance, based on an intellectual understanding of historic precedent, interpreted in a witty postmodern idiom;

* Contextual placemaking: a masterly exercise in placemaking, eliding the old and new, that recognised the scale and patina of the original buildings and spaces in the creation of Ching Court;

* Degree of survival: very little altered, retaining Farrell's restored facades and interiors, their detail, fixtures and fittings;

* Historic interest: an early and exemplary project in urban contextualism, reflecting the emerging philosophy of conservation and regeneration.

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