The Whittington hospital has a new aspect - or an old aspect revealed. The demolition of an undistinguished building on the east side of Dartmouth Park Hill (I think a nurses' home) has revealed once again the full magnificence of the building at the heart of the Whittington estate.
So here in its majesty - well, it's a pity about the fire escape - is the west facing side of the Smallpox and Vaccination hospital. It's the oldest part of what is now the Whittington and was built over 1848-1850.
Grand as this Italianate facade is, this is not the front of the building. That's the south facing side, complete with portico, clock and inscription.
It is so much more stylish than modern hospitals, don't you think?
By the end of the nineteenth century, a new smallpox hospital has been built, and the old smallpox hospital became the administration block for the adjoining Islington workhouse infirmary (which is also part of the Whittington these days).
What is now the Whittington combines three former workhouse infirmaries. On the east side of Highgate Hill there's what the was the Holborn and Finsbury infirmary. And on the left side of Dartmouth Park Hill is the St Pancras infirmary, now a mental health centre, altogether more distinguished and dating from the late 1860s. Some clearing of trees and shrubs in Waterlow Park, plus the weight of the snow on the branches, offers just at the moment a marvellous view of what was the imposing administration block of St Pancras infirmary.
And below is what this western section of the Whittington once looked like - taken from the Camden History Society's excellent Streets of Highgate.
Holly Village is a wonderful piece of 'full-blown' Victorian gothic, hidden away in Highgate New Town just three minutes' walk from Hampstead Heath and even closer to Highgate Cemetery.
It's private so you can't venture past the entrance arch - which explains why some of the photos that follow are taken over walls and through hedges.
The village dates from 1865. It consists of eight buildings - four detached houses and four adjoining pairs of cottages - round a small green. The community of buildings was designed by Henry Darbishire for the extravagantly wealthy heiress and philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts.
Coutts lived nearby on Holly Lodge - a grand house with large grounds which, several decades after her death, was demolished and is now the sought after Holly Lodge Estate.
The elegant iron gates in the entrance arch of the gate house have prompted the description of Holly Village as London's first gated development.
Pevsner describes Holly Village as a 'picturesque eyecatcher' and comments on one of the really stand-out features of the development: 'All immaculately kept, down to the rustic lattice fencing and thick holly hodges.'
It's just a pity it's so difficult for the rest of the world to see and appreciate it.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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