The Elizabeth House Campaign
ELIZABETH HOUSE Grade II listed
In 2005 after many years of campaigning to preserve this local building we received notice from Haringey Council that the owners of Elizabeth House, Winchester Place, had applied for Conservation Area Consent to demolish the building in order to implement a previous planning permission granted in 2001. Elizabeth House had long served a useful function in our local community providing low cost accommodation for key workers in the area, and its destruction and conversion to luxury flats would have caused untold damage in this part of the Highgate Conservation Area, let alone the loss of a unique and historically significant building at the centre of our CARA neighbourhood.
After months of lobbying, letter writing and seeking legal and planning advice we realised that the only way to reverse a planning permission already granted would be to attempt to get the building listed, and began detailed research into its architecture and history. We revealed that what the council thought was a post- war purpose built police section house is in fact a 1920’s design by highly reputed architects Richardson and Gill, and that it had been built with funds raised by national appeal as an annexe to Cromwell House which was then the centre for The Mothercraft Training Society. This was the movement started after the terrible loss of life in World War I, to build up the nation’s reserve of healthy babies by training nurses and mothers in the basic principles of successful child-rearing at a time when many babies died in infancy. The hostel was named after its Royal patroness Princess Elizabeth of York, wife of the future King George VI and mother of our present Queen.
We were able to find archives, plans, photographs and many early documents about the society and the building at Great Ormond Street, the Guildhall Library and in particular at The Highgate Scientific and Literary Institute, which gave a full picture of the history, original architecture and national importance of the building, and with the help of a dedicated research expert compiled a full report for English Heritage with some wonderful photographic records of its original design and history.
Due to the real and imminent threat of demolition, our application was processed with the utmost speed and efficiency by English Heritage, and Haringey agreed to defer any decision while the application was considered by the Secretary of State. On August 31st we finally received the news that Elizabeth House had been given Grade II listing for its notable architecture, specific and original design and national historical importance.
We also received encouragement from The Highgate Society, and from SAVE Britain’s Heritage who have assured us of their help in the future preservation and protection of the building. We would like to thank all CARA members and everyone else involved for their help and support in this really worthwhile campaign.
Elizabeth House has been acquired by a company who restore buildings to provide graduate housing, and who with the support of the Highgate Conservation Area Committee and English Heritage obtained planning permission in 2008 to restore and convert the building for this purpose. Elizabeth House should be restored and opening as student accommodation from September 2009.
2016 NEWS : Princess Elizabeth House UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
Student Management CONTACT: [email protected]
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