Forest Gate's listed buildings (1)

Friday, 18 December 2015

In our recent feature on what may become Forest Gate's first £2m house (here) we noted that it was "listed", by English Heritage and gave the grounds for its status.

There are, in fact ten "listed" buildings in Forest Gate. We feature the other nine in a two-part series, of which this is the first.

The borough of Newham boasts 116 such buildings, many associated with the former Docks, Tide Mill in Stratford, Abbey Mills pumping station, churches or cemeteries. Three have Grade 1 listing (All Saints, Strafford, Tide Mill, itself, and St Mary's the Virgin, East Ham). The other 113 are Grade 11 listed.

"Listing", in lay terms, means that the conservation body English Heritage recognises that the building has features of architectural interest which are worthy of preservation. These are highlighted in the citation for listing and are included, in each case, in this article.

Local authorities have a responsibility to ensure that, as far as possible, these features are preserved and will not, under normal circumstances, give planning permission to attempts to disrupt them. 

For their owners this can be a double edged sword: kudos of owning a listed building, but often real difficulty in changing its design or appearance which can cause difficulties if looking to sell - presumable an issue for the owners of ex-pubs the Spotted Dog and Earl of Essex - see next episode.

The text below is (slightly) edited from the English Heritage website and can, in places, be very architecturally technical. But even a lay reader can get the drift of what is being appreciated by those responsible for the listings, from their citations.


89 Dames Road - listed 1981


House probably circa 1840. Two storeys, four bays wide with asymmetrically placed entrance, all under hipped and slated roof set back from road frontage. Of stock brick, double fronted with additional bay to north.


89 Dames Road
Segmental headed ground floor sashes set in recessed semicircular stucco arched surround tied together at window head level by a profiled stucco string. First floor segmental headed sash windows lie below closed overhanging roof eaves.

Main entrance accentuated by entablature supported by Doric columns. Interior not seen.

Now residential flats.


Church of St Antony and Monastery, St Antony's Road - listed 1984


Church and Monastery 1884 (foundation stone) finished in 1891. Architects Pugin & Pugin (Of Houses of Parliament fame). Early English and Geometrical Gothic Church. Yellow stock brick with ashlar dressings. Slated roofs.

 Austere. 7-bay nave with tall clerestory. Lean-to aisle roofs, double to (liturgical) south, to incorporate confessionals. Gabled chapel to south. South-eastern apsed chapel. Rose window over High Altar. 6 light traceried window to west end above gabled entrance. Cuspless three-light clerestory windows. Lancets to confessionals.


Church and monastery of St Antony

Monastery 2-storeyed with transverse gable to left and smaller gables to centre and right. Similar materials to church, but blue, chamfered engineering bricks to window openings. Lower windows paired lancets with leaded lights.

Beneath gables three light tracery windows, pointed head to left, the others with stepped, square, heads. Walls buttressed. Building linked to church. Gabled entrance, porch to left, with Mother & Child statue in canopied niche above.


Duke of Fife public house, Stafford/Katherine Roads - listed 1984


Public house circa 1895. Frederick W Ashton. A richly ornamented corner public house. 2 storeys with slated mansard and attic storey. Yellow stock brick with painted stone or stucco dressings. Jacobean motifs. Balancing elevations to Katherine Road front and to Stafford Road flank with 2-storey wing on flank.

Front has two segmental arches to ground floor, two 3-light windows to first floor, and balustraded with buttresses gabled dormers above. Ornamental panels above and below first floor windows with panelled pilasters between. Octagonal corner turret, (dome now missing) with linked female caryatids to drum.


Duke of Fife, ex-pub, now 
restaurant and banqueting hall
Arched entrances between ground floor, windows and to corner, with carytid-ornament above. Chimney stacks have pilaster ornament, and those on south side are gabled and buttressed like attic window. Similar gabled window to slated wing. Later single-storey wing at back. Interior not seen.

Now Asian restaurant.


Emmanuel Church, Vale Road - listed 1984


Church 1852. Sir George Gilbert Scott. Decorated Gothic style. Kentish ragstone. Tiled roof to eaves. No clerestory.


Emmanuel church, 1907

Perpendicular north aisle of 1890, the same height and width as original nave. Short tiled broach spire over chancel arch. Lady Chapel to south side balances organ chamber to north. Lean-to south aisle. South porch. Aisles are buttressed. Low turretted north transept. Vigourously foliated columns to 6-bay nave arcading.


Former Congregational church (now Azhar Academy), Romford Road - listed 1984


Former Congregational Church of 1880 by T Lewis Banks with church hall of 1883. Later known as United Reformed Church. Converted in 2002-3 to a school, the Azhar Academy Girl's School. 

Materials: Knapped flint with red stone and red brick dressings, tiled roof.

Exterior: Early English Gothic style. Externally the former church is largely as constructed, having an nave with lean-to aisles, south-eastern vestry and 3-stage buttressed and pinnacled tower with short spire to the south-west; the former church hall abuts the church's east end.


Former Congregational church,
 now Azhar Academy
The tower has triple arcading to top stage with a gabled centre panel of louvres and blind arcading below. To Romford Road, the west end has two gabled, porched entrances with arcades between on the ground floor above which are three lancets with brick mullions flanked by trefoil arches and single lancets; the uppermost portion of the gable has triple lancets, flanked by blind single lancets, and a decorative cross set into panel of red stone at the apex, the pinnacle of which is missing.

To the right of the entrance is a projecting vestry, which resembles a short tower at the lower levels with arcading to ground floor and buttresses to corners, triple mullioned windows to first floor, and parapet above. It is surmounted by a steeply pitched, curved-hipped, tiled structure, almost semi-circular, with continuous timber mullioned glazing with leaded lights. Twin gabled transepts project to either side of the nave with round-arched, stepped lancet windows, moulded brick mullions and stone pilasters.

The two-storey, gabled former church hall to the rear of the building has gabled porches facing west. The lancet windows to the west and north have all been infilled with breezeblocks. The single bay joining the former church to the hall has been converted into a stair and heightened with glazed clerestory and a modern roof.

A two-storey former clergy house with gables to north and south abuts the rear of the hall to the east. It is of flint with brick quoins, chimney stacks and window dressings, and the gable to the north is rendered. The window to ground floor has been blocked which is adjacent to a small brick porch with pitched roof. 

Interior: None of the original fixtures and fittings remain. Classrooms and offices have been inserted into the former nave, arranged across two mezzanines, fronted with glass to the central hall areas. The upper floors are reached by a stair and lift in the tower and the stair at the rear between the school and old hall.

The nave arcading - large sandstone pillars - and aisle and clerestory window mouldings remain exposed and the contrast between modern and historic materials means the old arrangement is roughly readable, assisted by the use of glass partitions. The windows have red brick and red stone arched dressings with red stone pilasters and moulded motifs, some have stained glass in the upper sections.

At first floor the timber wall posts, hammer beams and arched braces on stone corbels are visible in the modern classrooms. A floor inserted at the impost level of the roof vault has created a large prayer hall in the roof space where the impressive original hammer-beam roof is visible.

A second prayer hall is accommodated in the former church hall to the rear; a suspended ceiling has been inserted here but window openings and wall posts to the roof structure are visible. The former clergy house is used for utilities.

History: The building was constructed in 1883 to designs by T Lewis Banks for the Congregational Church. The foundation stone was laid by Henry Wright Esq JP, and the builder was Charles Sharpe. It abutted a church hall, built by the same congregation and architect, dating from 1880 which survives to the rear of the former church.

The building became known as the United Reformed Church in the second half of the C20 and in 2002, having become redundant as a church, was granted listed building consent for conversion to a school. The Azhar Academy Girl's School opened in 2003. 

Reasons for designation: The former Congregational Church is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* it is a landmark on Romford Road, in particular its impressive tower with pinnacled buttresses and short spire;
* good composition and detailing in the Early English style;
* the use of materials is good, including knapped flint, sandstone and red brick dressings (the former untypical in this area);
* an interesting ensemble of buildings, as was common in non-conformist churches, including a slightly earlier church hall of 1880 and a clergy house.


Carnegie Library, Plashet Grove (in Plashet Park) - listed 1994


Public library, now Newham's registry office. 1898-9 by Silvanus Trevail. Red brick with stone dressings, slate roof with three-stage cupola bearing clock. Two storeys, with gabled attic over entrance bay.

Three bays, the outer bays with five-light mullion and transom windows under parapets sporting trefoil headed panels. Central entrance composed like a Diocletian window, pair of blue marble Ionic columns carrying arch, spandrels with bas-reliefs of seated figures with scroll and book. Aprons of first-floor windows inscribed in raised letters 'Passmore Edwards Public Library'.
Carnegie Library, Plashet Park

Gabled two-storey returns with windows at first and attic storey. Lower rear section contains reading room (low projecting bay on east side originally contained the ladies' bay). Interior contains a hammer-beam roof to rear reading room. The first and attic storeys originally housed the chief librarian. 
Opened by Herbert Gladstone, MP, 30 November 1899. Largely paid for by John Passmore Edwards, philanthropist and proprietor of the Building News, who promoted libraries in the poorer parts of London. This is an uncommonly richly decorated example of his patronage in a suburban area.

Source: Building News, 11 November 1898.

We are deeply indebted to English Heritage for their efforts in attempting to preserve key aspects of our architectural history.  We acknowledge and are most grateful for their Listed Buildings website (here), from which we have taken most of the material (though not the photos) in this article.  We recognise their copyright of the material.

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