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Inventory Site Record

Friends House Garden (Camden)

Brief Description

The Friends House was built between 1924-27 as the headquarters for the Religious Society of Friends, an award-winning design by Quaker architect Hubert Lidbetter. The site had previously included private open space of Endsleigh Gardens, and from an early stage the plans for the new building incorporated a garden to the east of the Meeting House. This is enclosed by a low Portland stone wall with railings on the north and south side and is laid out with two square lawns with a central path and roses, shrubs to the north and south, and a magnolia tree alongside Euston Road.

Practical Information
Site location:
173-177 Euston Road
Postcode:
NW1 2BJ
What 3 Words:
appeal.spine.splash
Type of site:
Private Garden
Borough:
Camden
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Events:
Friends House has opened for London Open House
Public transport:
Rail/London Overground/Tube (Northern, Victoria): Euston. Tube: Euston Square (Northern, Victoria). Bus: 10, 18, 30, 68, 73, 91, 168, 205, 253.
Research updated:
01/09/2009
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.quaker.org.uk/friends-house

Full Site Description

The Friends House was built between 1924-27 as the new headquarters for the Religious Society of Friends, who in 1923 had organised an architectural competition for its design open to 5 Quaker architects. The successful design was by Hubert Lidbetter, and the classically-inspired building won an RIBA bronze medal for 'best building erected in London' in 1927. The Society had previously met at Devonshire House in Houndsditch and the need for larger premises had been under discussion from at least 1911. The brief for the new headquarters required that it had a large meeting room that could hold 1500 people, and it also has committee rooms and offices as well as the Quaker Library with manuscripts relating to the Society's foundation in Pennsylvania in 1673. The site for the new building was previously occupied by the private open space of Endsleigh Gardens, once part of Euston Square (q.v.). It was owned by Sir Alfred Butt, who had offered the site to St Pancras Borough Council for a public garden, but the asking price of £50,000 was deemed too high. Butt subsequently sold the site for £45,000 to the Society of Friends, who approached the MPGA with the suggestion that it purchased the two end sections of the site for laying out as gardens. This was not taken up but the plans for Friends House from an early stage incorporated laying out a garden area to the east. The small garden that was created is enclosed by a low Portland stone wall with railings on the north and south side. Landscaping consists of two square lawns with a central path and roses, shrubs to north and south and with a fine magnolia tree alongside Euston Road.

Sources consulted:

Open House information; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ297825 (529660,182493)
Size in hectares:
0.0955
Site ownership:
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain
Site management:
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain
Date(s):
1927
Designer(s):
Herbert Lidbetter
Listed structures:
LBII: Meeting House; walls, railings to garden
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Bloomsbury
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character: Central London Area
Other LA designation:
Private Open Space
Photos

Friends House Garden

Friends House Garden, looking north, Euston Square Lodge in background, July 2002. Photo: S Williams

Friends House Garden, July 2002. Photo: S Williams
2002

Click a photo to enlarge.

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.