49 Heath Street, Hampstead, London NW3

From: Edward Walford, ‘Hampstead: The town’, in Old and New London: Volume 5 (London, 1878):

“…At the junction of Heath and High Street is the Fire Brigade Station, an attractive building of coloured bricks, with a lofty watch tower and clock, erected by public subscription in 1870; it commands a view over a large extent of country. Mr. G. Vulliamy was the architect.”

From the Historic England entry:

“Fire station, later bank, now building society with accommodation over. c1873. By GJ Vulliamy as head of the Metropolitan Board of Works’ Architects’ Department. Red brick with stone and terracotta dressings. Tiled gabled roof with stone bracketed eaves cornice. Venetian Gothic style.

EXTERIOR: 3 storeys with irregular 3-5 storeys return to Holly Hill. Irregular fenestration. 3-stage rectangular clock tower rising from 1st floor on left hand return. Heath Street facade with C20 stone faced shopfrontage. 1st floor, 5-light arcaded window of attached columns carrying pointed arches; centre light blind with patterned terracotta plaque; stone sill string. Arch heads break into enriched stone and terracotta band at 2nd floor level inscribed “MBW AD 1873”. Half-hipped gable with 2-light 2nd floor window in pointed arch recess with enriched tympanum and apron. Clock tower with dentil cornice at roof level and above narrow opening on each facade. Clock face on each facade with continuous projecting modillion cornice above. Return with gabled end bay having cornice at 3rd floor level; mostly paired sashes.

INTERIOR: not inspected.

HISTORICAL NOTE: the watch tower was also a water tower, one of the first buildings for London’s new horse-drawn fire brigade to have one. Originally also with steeple. The fire station closed 1915 when a new one opened in Lancaster Grove.”

From: London Picture Archive

Old Hampstead Fire Station


Viewed from outside Hampstead Station, looking towards Holly Hill. Hampstead Fire Station was built in 1871 under the Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1885. The London County Council replaced the MBW in 1889. During World War One the tower was used as a look-out during air raids. This fire station was closed when fire appliances became mechanised and the need for multiple fire stations in some areas of London grew smaller. In 1923 the building was purchased by Messrs. Hampton and Sons Ltd.”

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