Nos. 1-9 Melton Street and attached railings
List Entry Summary
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
Name: Nos. 1-9 Melton Street and attached railings
List entry Number: 1113131
Nos. 1-9 Melton Street and attached railings, London Borough of Camden
The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District Type: London Borough
Parish: Non Civil Parish
National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.
Date first listed: 14-May-1974
Date of most recent amendment: 02-Aug-2011
Legacy System Information
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System: LBS
This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.
List entry Description
Summary of Building
Offices, built 1906-8 as the headquarters of the London, Edinburgh and Glasgow Assurance Company. Architect A Beresford Pite. Builders Foster & Dicksee of Rugby. Carved stonework by Farmer & Brindley. Roof extended 1913 by Pite; extended to rear and to N in 1923, again by Pite. The extension to the west (Nos. 194-8 Euston Road), added in 1932 by WH Gunton, does not form part of this listing.
Reasons for Designation
Nos. 1-9 Melton Street is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: a distinctive Edwardian office building designed in a scholarly and inventive Greek manner * Authorship: a major work by the distinguished architect A Beresford Pite * Materials and craftsmanship: fine-quality stonework with carved decoration by Farmer & Brindley, the noted firm of architectural sculptors; elaborate ironwork * Interiors: the entrance hall is one of the most remarkable tiled interiors in an Edwardian commercial building; good office fittings, chimneypieces and stairs; extensive survival of tiled finishes * The 1923 extension, also by Pite, is a carefully considered adjunct to the earlier block, with the same high-quality stonework and ironwork
This was the national headquarters of the London Edinburgh & Glasgow Assurance Company, which specialised in welfare insurance for low-income workers and their families. The LE&GAC became part of the National Amalgamated Approved Society in 1912, a joint venture by a number of assurance societies, after which the building became the NAAS headquarters. Welfare insurance companies became obsolete following the National Insurance Act (1946) and the advent of the National Health Service (1948), after which the building was acquired by the Government as the premises of the Ministry of National Insurance, and subsequently the Department of Health & Social Security. The LE&GAC building is regarded as the first and only scholarly building in the Greek style since the work of CR Cockerell (1788-1863), and considered to be one of the most important works of the distinguished architect Arthur Beresford Pite (1861-1934). It was intended as the first stage of a much larger scheme with a long elevation in Euston Road, but Pite was not retained to complete the last phase, built in 1932 to the design of WH Gunton (Nos 194-198 Euston Road).
MATERIALS: Load bearing Portland stone and brick masonry; steel and concrete floors; slate roofs; windows steel or timber casements.
PLAN: Comprises a long rectangular block facing E into Euston Square and Melton Street with a short S return into Euston Road, and a deep rear wing on the N side forming an L-plan. The internal plan comprises an entrance hall to the S leading through to a large open L-plan office. The first floor has a board room above the entrance hall, followed by a series of offices along a corridor, and an open-plan office in the rear wing. The floors above have open-plan offices. The attic, which originally contained a club room, dining room and a caretaker's flat, is now open plan. There are 3 stairs: at the rear of the entrance hall serving the Euston Road entrance, with a lift and spiral stair adjacent; in the N entrance bay, and in the SW corner of the rear wing.
EXTERIOR: Four storeys, attic and basement, with rusticated ground floor, an enriched band between ground and first floors and a bracketed cornice at attic level. The front (E) elevation of 1906-8 has 9 principal bays arranged 3-3-3, plus a recessed entrance bay to the N. The piers to the ground-floor flanking bays break forward to form pedestals supporting a giant order of attached fluted Ionic columns in the Bassae order (derived from the interior of the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae), carrying an entablature breaking forward above the columns. Second-floor windows have roundels on aprons and a moulded band beneath; those to third floor have pediments with keystones. The main entrance in the penultimate bay to the south has a porch with square granite pillars supporting an enriched frieze and segmental hood, and upswept wrought-iron gates attached to piers with cast-iron wreath hinges. The three central bays have paired windows to each bay; those at first and second floors divided by giant order of Ionic columns and set within a moulded frame, with cornice above. The third floor has tripartite windows divided by Ionic columns, flanked by pilasters. The S return to Euston Road is similar to the flanking bays of the main elevation except that the columns support a straight entablature and a pediment, and the first-floor windows have cast-iron balconies. Entrance has glazed timber door with iron grilles. The attic storey, originally rising above the outer flanking bays only, is in the form of an open loggia with Ionic columns. Stonework details are derived from Greek stele heads, sarcophagi and other sepulchral monuments. Above the central bays are three triangular gables, added 1913, each with a Serliana. The N entrance bay has a slightly bowed porch with plain transom and mullion detail, and glazed timber doors with iron grilles. Above, a round-arched recess rises through two floors, with Diocletian windows at top and bottom, and a mezzanine window with paired round arches separated by an Ionic half-column. This bay terminates with a complex attic feature with three small rectangular windows, a tiny Diocletian window and plain transoms and mullions.
The 1923 extension, also designed in the Greek idiom, is 3 storeys plus a set-back attic and a mansard roof. Façade of 2 bays, with pilastered ground-floor windows; upper-floor windows are set under broken pediments with stylised Ionic drops to the upper floors, separated by roundel spandrel panels.
INTERIOR: The entrance hall has a glazed timber lobby in the form of a kiosk with canted sides (glazing replaced), antifixae and an urn finial. The walls and ceiling are lavishly finished in green and cream Doulton Parian ware tiles with moulded relief patterns, the ceiling has elongated console brackets. The elaborate tiled chimneypiece has a black marble moulded surround and black and white tiled slips and fireback; the overmantel has three roundels with the arms of London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, surmounted by a stylised Greek entablature and pediment with antefixae. The black and white mosaic floor is laid out in grid pattern with large central roundel of guilloches containing the 12 signs of the zodiac, in centre of which a roundel of letters reads "Founded Anno Domini MDCCCLXXXI" encircling the intertwined initials LEG'. A black marble wall tablet records names of company members who fell in the Great War. A pair of arches leads through to the office, which has a beamed plaster ceiling supported on series of paired arches clad in green and white relief tiles, similar to entrance hall. The walls are clad in brown and dark yellow tiles to dado height, and cream and yellow tiles above. The first-floor offices have oak panelled doors with pedimented architraves. The board room has three-quarter height oak panelling, a coffered plaster ceiling and ribbed frieze, and a handsome chimneypiece in the Greek style with white marble surround and yellow and black marble slips, by Farmer & Brindley. Windows are set into arched recesses. Two other offices have oak chimneypieces. There are glazed doors to either end of the corridor. The rear wing has green and cream tiled piers and brown tiled dados, matching those to ground floor office; the third floor also has these features. The attic storey has no original features except for one fireplace. The S stair has a closed string, carved drop finials, heavy handrail and turned balusters, and unusual newel posts in form of fluted obelisks. The inner string has brown and yellow tiling. The N stair has a close string and elongated finials with rounded caps, and triangular stick balusters set in groups of three; the SW stair has a simple handrail attached to the wall; both stairwells are clad in bands of banded brown and cream glazed bricks. The N extension has no interior features of interest.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Elaborate iron railings with Ionic column piers on low plinth. Euston Road entrance has stone gate piers with anthemion heads and iron gates of similar design to the main entrance porch; gates also to N entrance.
Books and journals
Gray, A S, Edwardian Architecture A Biographical Dictionary, (1985), 285-9
Hanson, B (ed), The Golden City: Essays on the Architecture and Imagination of Beresford Pite, (1993), 118-123
'Architectural Review' in The London, Edinburgh and Glasgow Assurance Building, London, , Vol. 22, (January - June 1908), 169-75
'The Builder' in The Builder, (19 September 1908), 304-5
National Grid Reference: TQ2951282501
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