The former Waterloo Road Fire Station

From the Historic England entry:

“The former Waterloo Road Fire Station is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * It has special architectural interest as one of a remarkable series of fire stations built by the LCC between 1896 and 1914, which are widely admired as being among the most accomplished achievements of this exceptionally rich and prolific period of LCC civic architecture; * Individually, it is an imposing Baroque design modulated by careful use of materials and by subtle irregularities in storey height and in the treatment of the ground floor.

150 Waterloo Road was built in 1910 as Waterloo Road Fire Station for the London County Council, possibly by HFT Cooper under the superintendence of Owen Fleming and Charles Canning Winmill. By 1986 its original use had ceased, and the building had become the headquarters of the London Ambulance Service. The latter subsequently transferred its headquarters to a new building further down Waterloo Road; no. 150 is now a restaurant and bar, known as The Fire Station, with offices on the upper floors.

The first fire stations in the mid-C19 were in the Gothic style typical of Victorian municipal buildings. The 1880s saw a move towards bolder architectural statements with applied decoration and compositional quirkiness. It was the building boom of the 1890s-1900s, however, that was to transform fire station architecture and give the Brigade its most characterful buildings. By 1889 the Fire Brigade was part of London County Council and from 1896 new stations were designed by a group of architects led by Owen Fleming and Charles Canning Winmill, both formerly of the LCC Housing Department. They brought the highly-experimental methods which had evolved for designing new social housing to the Fire Brigade Division, as the department was called from 1899, and drew on a huge variety of influences to create unique and commanding stations, often built to a bespoke design and plan. Some of the stations built in this period retained the arrangement of earlier stations, whereby accommodation for firemen was in flats above the appliance bays, accessed via external balconies from a projecting central staircase bay. Yet while derivative in plan, the treatment of the facades of these stations was always distinctive.

150 Waterloo Road is a four-storey, red-brick building with a granite base and glazed brick to the ground floor, Portland stone dressings and a slated mansard roof. The style is a free version of the Edwardian Baroque. On the ground floor are segmental-headed sash windows and three asymmetrically placed vehicular entrances with folding doors and a lettered frieze in two sections above, reading LCC FIRE BRIGADE STATION A.D. 1910 and WATERLOO ROAD. A datestone announcing the opening of the fire station is located between the double doors beneath the LCC frieze. On the first floor, above a moulded cill band, are seven closely spaced windows with paired sashes under segmental heads with advanced triple keystones. On the second floor are three groups of three taller sash windows with Gibbs surrounds and advanced keystones, between which are two smaller circular windows. The fourth floor, above a plain cill band, has seven smaller windows with paired sashes. The roof has a deep projecting dentil cornice, four big brick stacks and seven tall dormer windows under alternating segmental and triangular pediments. The short north elevation to Holmes Terrace is similarly treated; the south elevation to Pear Place has wholly irregular fenestration, a side door with a Gibbs surround, and a flat-roofed two-storey block in glazed brick projecting to the rear. The rear elevation has a brick stair tower and a series of open metal balconies giving access to the firemen’s accommodation on the upper floors.”

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