Kirkdale Centre, Kirkdale, Sydenham, Lewisham
1859-61 by Henry Dawson, possibly with Sir Joseph Paxton; extended 1904 by William Flockhart
Listed Grade II
"The Kirkdale Centre has its origins in the Sydenham Public Lecture Hall, established in the late 1850s by a committee of local philanthropists including Sir Joseph Paxton, engineer-architect of the nearby Crystal Palace. The original design for the hall, resembling a north-Italian palazzo with twin cupolas and extravagantly banded brickwork, was reputedly supplied by Paxton himself, although the more modest version actually completed in 1861 was by the young architect Henry Dawson. The Sydenham Working Men’s Association ran the programme of evening lectures and also maintained a library and reading room; during the daytime the building was used by the Sydenham British School. The latter was taken over by the London School Board in 1875, and in 1904 the building – now wholly in school use – was enlarged and remodelled by the architect William Flockhart. Tall extensions were built on either side of the original hall, as well as an idiosyncratic new entrance porch resembling a compressed bell-tower, and the vibrant polychromy of the 1861 brickwork was toned down with a coat of grey roughcast. The result is an intriguing blend of the High Victorian and the Arts and Crafts, the combined product of mid-C19 philanthropy and early-C20 state education."
Former Prudential Building, 187-197 Lewisham High Street, Lewisham
1908 by Paul Waterhouse
Listed Grade II
"Alfred Waterhouse’s sequence of buildings for the Prudential Assurance Company was continued after his death by his son Paul, to whose designs the Lewisham branch was built in 1908. Here, the Pru’s signature palette of pink granite and flame-red brick and terracotta – prominently displayed at Waterhouse senior’s headquarters building on Holborn – has been carefully kept up, but the style has shifted in accordance with contemporary taste from High Victorian Gothic to Edwardian Baroque. The building makes dramatic use of its corner site: the entrance porch, boldly rusticated like the rest of the lower storey, grows upward into a balustraded niche adorned with swags of fruit and flowers, which contains a three-quarter size figure of Prudence; in the attic above, the building’s name is displayed in gilded lettering between the huge broken pediments that crown the flanking wings. The interiors have been altered, but retain some original fittings including panelled doors, armorial panels in terracotta, and the principal staircase with its decorative iron balustrade."
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