August 7, 2017

Listed Buildings in London: Five of the Capital’s Hidden Gems

There are thousands of listed buildings in London, ranging from spectacular churches to rundown phone boxes.


What they all share is special architectural or historical interest. Listing marks and celebrates this, and protects the buildings for future generations.


Historic England maintains an interactive map of all listed buildings in England, but we’ve put together a list of five of the most unusual listed buildings in London.

Isle of Dogs Pumping Station


Stewart Street, E14 3YH


John Outram’s Isle of Dogs Pumping Station was given a Grade II* listing in June this year.


Built between 1986 and 1988, it’s the first postmodern building to be listed as part of a new project recognising the most significant architectural contributions to the late 20th-century movement.


The ‘Temple of Storms’, as Outram christened it, is a striking example of the architect’s playful and elaborate style.


Roger Bowdler, director of listing at Historic England, says: “It’s one of the most exciting buildings of the 1980s. Outram exulted in the panache and exuberance of classicism – and gave this utterly functional structure an exterior that is unforgettable.”


It is, without doubt, a worthy addition to the collection of listed buildings in London, and well worth a visit.


The Former Cauliflower Hotel, Ilford


553 High Road, IG1 1TZ


The Grade II-listed Cauliflower Hotel in Ilford was built in 1900, and is a spectacular example of an opulent Victorian gin palace.


The lavish interior was built specifically for selling gin. It’s a riot of carved wood, decorative plasterwork, etched and cut glass, brass rails and geometric tiles.


The panelled bar remains remarkably intact, with an elaborate timber shelving unit stretching from floor to ceiling in the centre.


The pub closed in 2013 but has since reopened under new management, having been refurbished and returned to its former glory.


If you like a bit of history with your gin, this is the perfect place for a tipple.


Penguin Pool at London Zoo




The penguin pool’s iconic elliptical shape and interlocking spiral ramps make it a key symbol of British modernist architecture.


Built in 1934 by Russian architect Berthold Lubetkin, it demonstrates remarkable structural and technical virtuosity for its time.


According to its listing, it aimed to create “a dynamic and almost abstract architectural showcase for the display of the penguins’ antics.”


Amazing architecture AND penguins? What are you waiting for – get yourself down there!


Bacon Smokehouse, Islington


44-46 St John Street, EC1M 4DF


Built in two phases between 1877 and 1890 by Charles Bell, this bacon smokehouse was given Grade II-listed status in 2014 due to the rarity of this type of building.


In fact, according to the listing, there are no other known examples of the building type on this small scale, due to the small-scale bacon smoking industry being superseded by larger-scale operations.


The building was converted into offices in the late 20th Century, but still retains evidence of its industrial function in its iron walkways, racks and smoke-dampening shutters.


78 South Hill Park, Hampstead




Architect Brian Housden built this extraordinary concrete house for himself and his family between 1963 and 1965.


It was given Grade II status in 2014. The listing calls it “a completely unique piece of architectural vision and ingenuity that synthesises a great wealth of influences and ideas, and is executed with an intensity and conviction that is entirely personal.”


Housden combined elements of pioneering European modernism with influences from classical and ancient African traditions.


The house features a striking concrete frame, glass mosaics and extensive use of glass lenses, as well as a beautifully lit interior.


Listed buildings in London – how many have you visited?


We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to listed buildings in London, but we think these five are some of the most interesting.


If you’re looking for something a little different to do this weekend, why not go exploring and check them out?


How much is your home worth?

Let's crunch the numbers