Edwardian Architecture in Hampstead

15 May 2019

By A P Monblat – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Edwardian architecture has a home nestled deep within the history of Hampstead. Characterised by fewer rooms (unlike the Victorians who needed the extra chambers for their servants) but greater halls, more elaborate gardens, and an eccentric mix of influences from the Baroque, Georgian, Arts and Crafts, and other movements, the Edwardian Hampstead architects largely followed the explosive population growth of the city.

Here, we’re going to take a look at the Edwardian craze that swept through Hampstead, some of the most famous examples of early 20th century architecture in town, iconic Edwardian Hampstead architects and some of the more interesting stories behind them.

The rise of Edwardian Architecture in Hampstead

The Edwardian style began as a direct result of the economic and population boom that all of London underwent in the very early twentieth century. The middle class was filling out the edges of the city in droves, which led to the creation of suburbs, a style of residential housing that was revolutionary at the time.

The Garden Suburb was created as a direct response to the need for this housing and, as the population of Hampstead swelled, it became a metropolitan borough and demanded more infrastructural development. This ranged from the building of the Hampstead Underground Station to the relocation of the University College School.

The Garden Suburb

However, the suburb was a project initially founded by Henrietta Barnett, wife of Canon Samuel Barnett, vicar of St Jude’s, Whitechapel. Inspired by a passion to improve the living conditions of the poor, her aims of catering to all classes, creating a quiet area of low housing density of homes separated by hedges, rather than walls, was adapted into a master plan by Hampstead architects Barry Parker and Sir Raymond Unwin.

The Garden Suburb is the clearest example of Edwardian style in the entire borough. It is also where famed Edwardian Hampstead architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, started finding success with some of his earliest works, also some of his most innovative. His contributions including not just the private houses of the suburbs, but two churches (Free Church and St. Jude’s Church), as well as the Henrietta Barnett School.

Lutyens would go on to become perhaps the most famous name of all in Edwardian architecture, largely responsible for the Baroque influences seen across the style, characterised by the exaggerated rustication seen in the Free Church, or the lively rooftop silhouettes of the domed towers seen on the Henrietta Barnett School.

Hampstead Underground Station

The more practical stylings of the Edwardian phase are even more clearly seen in Hampstead Underground Station, which first opened in June 1907 to accommodate an increasingly busy middle class that needed organised, effective commuting routes into the city centre. As such, it was built with clutter reduction in mind, facing in tiles with separate entrances and exits leading to a spacious station hall.

The Underground Station was designed by Hampstead architect Leslie Green, whose use of ox-blood red tiled faces and pattern tiled interiors can be seen all across the London Underground. Compared to the work of Lutyens, the station bears a more Arts and Crafts influence, but adapted to the local style, seen in a more open, multifaceted design compared to the often-boxy architecture seen in Green’s other stations.

The University College School

Originally located a part of University College London, University College School was first moved to Hampstead in 1907. The main building was designed by Arnold Mitchell and built by the Dove Brothers. Though much of the main block was destroyed by fire, Michael Foster worked closely to restore it.

Another example of the Baroque Edwardian Style, it’s characterised by rusticated red brick and stone pilasters, with an eye-catching round-arched entrance with attached columns supporting elaborately carved broken scrolled pediment with festoons and central cartouche. The spacious interiors of the Edwardian Style, making use of electric lighting in a way never before possible, are seen through the barrel-vaulted main hall, overlooked by Diocletian windows.

See the Edwardian transformation

The Edwardian transformation of London’s suburbs brought about the city as it’s known today, providing the elegance and stylings of Baroque and Georgian architecture, but with the necessities of “modern” 20th century life, making for more spacious, better lit, and more practical building design.

Hampstead has a wide collection of listed Edwardian architecture dotted throughout. It’s alive and well in the Garden Suburb, while providing a snapshot of London’s explosive development throughout the ages through the University College School and the Underground Station that contributed to the building of the city as the metropolis it’s known as today.

Renovating Edwardian architecture

At XUL, we’ve been renovating Edwardian homes in and around Hampstead for over 10 years.  We have taken our clients projects from their initial sketch through to their successful completion – including project management and interior design. Located in North London, we are commercially minded, client centred Hampstead architects. We are efficient and responsive, and put particular focus on the client’s experience as well as in finding ingenious ways of bringing light into architecture.

If you have a project you would like to speak to us about, please get in touch or 020 7431 9014.


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