Northwood Hall, built in 1935, was designed in a unique, cruciform shape and set in 4.5 acres of gardens. Intended to offer 'maximum comfort and luxury at minimum inclusive cost', nearly 200, 2-3 bedroom 'ultra modern labour-saving flats' of 6 different types were available – originally – to rent, with central heating, fitted kitchens, 'de luxe' bathrooms and also private 'sun balconies' with French windows.
The block featured a restaurant for residents, guest rooms and outdoor amenities including a tennis court. Indoors, there were uniformed porters available 24/7 and an optional maids' service charged at hourly rates. In kitchens, double door cupboards opening onto the corridors were used to provide additional services including rubbish collection, shoe cleaning and delivery of papers, food and even cooked meals.
Today there remain the services of a porter at certain times during the day Monday to Friday, plus the two lifts for residents and visitors and, accessible from the side entrance, a goods lift for all deliveries.
Set at 300 feet above sea level at one of the highest points in London, Northwood Hall still offers 'the maximum of sun and fresh air with beautiful views' across the city – 'on a clear day as far as Crystal Palace'.
All images and quoted text are from the brochure 'Practical Flats at Northwood Hall' published by Herbert Fitch & Co. Ltd, London, 1935. Courtesy of The Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University.
The Architect: George Edward Bright 1906-?
The architect of Northwood Hall, George Edward Bright, studied at University College, London and gained experience as an assistant to Herbert Baker, Edwin Lutyens and Guy Dawber. He set up in practice in 1933 and his first project was Delta Court, a block of 32 flats in Cricklewood, followed by Benhurst Court in Streatham. He then started work on Northwood Hall for which planning permission was granted by Hornsey Borough Council in November 1934.
Bright subsequently designed Beech Lawns in Friern Barnet, worked on two conversions – 11 & 12 Chesham Place and 7-10 Lowndes Street – and was a consultant to the Dolphin Square development in Pimlico. In World War II he served with the Royal Engineers during which time he worked on the restoration of the King’s Chapel in Gibraltar.
We know little about his post-war life apart from the fact that he became a RIBA Fellow in 1947.
(reproduced by kind permission of The Architects’ Journal)
The original Northwood Hall (lower right), photographed in 1928, facing south over the east end of Fitzwarren Gardens.
Photo reproduced with kind permission of London Metropolitan Archives, City of London
(item reference Highgate Archway 1928, SC/PHL/02/1275).