The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

1930s Hampstead gem threatened

The Twentieth Century Society has opposed a scheme to alter beyond recognition one of Hamstead’s great inter-war houses. 18 Frognal Way was built in 1930 to designs of CHB Quennell as a combined house and studio. A current scheme to substantially extend the building would severely damage its character.

The building appears as an elegant single storey pavilion on the Frognal Way side – this impression would be lost completely. A proposed additional floor would alter this important aspect of the building beyond recognition. Much of the interior would be replaced and hence loose its meaning within the stringently designed layout and plan. The rear would be completey redesigned, again replacing a high quality façade with a new design of little imagination.

Quennell built extensively in the area and some of his buildings have been added to the statutory list. But it has only very recently come to light that 18 Frognal Way is a building by Quennell and the building was put forward for listing in December 2004.

The house is a mature work of the architect that skilfully illustrates his ideas of reduced decoration combined with excellent craftsmanship. The building remains largely unaltered and many of the original fittings survive in situ, including flooring, main stairs and fire place. The exterior is carefully composed, the front onto Frognal Way in the appearance of a Palladian Villa, the rear a disciplined two story symmetrical façade. The building makes an important contribution to the conservation area which also includes some of Britain’s most remarkable 1930s houses by the modernist architects Maxwell Fry and Connell Ward Lucas. The Quennell building represents a more classical strand of the 30s and enhances the area considerably.

We are convinced that the proposed remodelled building would have a negative impact on the Conservation Area and would mean the loss of a mature and largely unaltered building of merit. We urge Camden Council to refuse consent for this application.

For further information and images please contact: Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker, The Twentieth Century Society, tel: 020 7250 3857,