Status: Listed Grade II
Condition: Good condition
Architect: Giles Gilbert Scott, acting as associate architect with Gordon & Viner
Owners: Salvation Army
Location: Champion Park, London, SE5 8BQ
Scott’s college soars above Denmark Hill station and the Georgian and Victorian terraces of Camberwell where I live. Camberwell has been called the original garden city, in the sense that it was a city built in people’s gardens. When the great Regency villas that dotted the area were demolished in the last century institutions wanting to expand moved south of the river. The College was one, conceived as a practical monument to the Salvation Army’s founder William Booth.
It has a family resemblance to Scott’s more famous works, the dominant central tower with the low ranges to either side echo Cambridge University Library and to a lesser extent Bankside Power Station. But unlike its eminent siblings it has a certain modesty. The plain brick with its little froth of Gothic detail, like braid on a Salvationist’s uniform, makes it a building of which, despite its massiveness, its neighbours have grown fond.
by Rosemary Hill
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