The aims of this latest appraisal are to describe the historic and architectural character and appearance of Holland Park, first to help us make successful planning applications, and second, to help the powers-that-be assess our planning applications. Whether you want to have a say or not, it makes for an interesting read, here’s the summary: ‘Holland Park Conservation Area was designated in 1981 when two smaller conservation areas were amalgamated. The area contains many important buildings and groups of buildings of high historic and architectural significance. The area is based around the seventeenth century, grade I listed, Holland House and the development around it that was built to fund the house and the life of the Holland family. The house was almost destroyed in World War II but was bought by the council and conserved as a ruin and vestige of Victorian aristocratic life, with its large area of parkland (grade II on Historic England’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens) including woodland, formal gardens and playing fields being opened to the public.
The houses that were built to fund the estate have also become important examples of mid Victorian speculative development of various types. To the north, Holland Park contains highly decorative, stuccoed houses that are listed, along with the mews that run between them, listed at grade II for their significance as an important group of this exuberant style. To the west are three streets of large detached villas of which so many other examples have been lost. These Classically designed houses – stucco fronted with parapet roofs in Addison Road and stock brick with hipped roofs in Holland Park Road – form an important group that are enhanced by their attractive settings of large gardens with mature trees.
The area also contains an extremely significant collection of purpose-designed artists’ studio-houses towards the south. Many artists’ studios are present in the borough, but Melbury Road and Holland Park Road form one of the enclaves where there is a concentration of studio-houses. These were commissioned by successful artists from renowned architects who designed buildings in avant-garde styles where the artists could live, work and hold salons. Renowned architects, Philip Webb, Richard Norman Shaw, Halsey Ricardo and George Aitchison designed studios here and the home that Gothic architect, William Burgess, built for himself, The Tower House, is also in this area. All these are listed for their importance not just to the area, but to the nation as a whole.
The area continued to be developed in the 1960s with several high flat blocks being built. The core of the conservation area was redeveloped with a swathe of inward-looking 1960s housing and there was regrettably some loss from the Melbury area too. The jewel from this period, however, was the Commonwealth Institute (now the Design Museum) designed by Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners to emulate a tent with a enormous sweeping roofs seemingly held down by giant tent pegs. If you want to read more or comment on it all, click here … planningconsult