The annual Open House weekend is fast approaching, where hundreds of buildings are open for us nosey types to peer around.

It’s one of my mandatory weekends where everything else is cancelled in favour of near-military planning to cram in as many properties as is humanly possible.

Anyhow, some of the properties need pre-booking, and the top properties “sell out” incredibly fast.

Therefore, you should set your alarm clocks as an email wafted my way and told me that the booking website will go live on Monday morning (10th Aug) at around 10:30am.

I had planned to be super prepared with a spreadsheet and computers ready and waiting, after pre-ordering the hefty catalogue earlier this year, but the postal strike means it wont arrive over the weekend. Gahh!

However, those lovely people over at Open House have given me a heads-up as to which properties will need pre-booking.

Point your browser at on Monday, and don’t you dare get places that I want!

Updated Sat 8th Aug.

To make the list of properties more meaningful, I was tempted to dig out my 2008 guide and type in the descriptions. Being lazy, and have a memory flash, I did a hunt in my emails, and found a PDF version of the guide from 2006.

Therefore, below are the descriptions from 2006 – so it is important to note that what is available in 2009 may differ from what I have put below. Caveat emptor!

If it is marked as new, it may have been open in 2007/8, but either it wasn’t open in 2006, or possibly, the name listed below is different from what I have in the old guide and so finding it was not possible.

  • Barking and Dagenham: Castle Green
    • A brand new PFI school and community facility in the heart of the borough, opened Sept 2005. Design encourages imaginative teaching methods. State of the art facilities have been developed in line with new pedagogy focusing on importance of communication. Architecture plb with Bouygues 2005.
  • Barking and Dagenham: The Broadway
    • Grade I listed St Margaret’s Church (1215 onwards) has interesting monuments, art and impressive stained glass, and includes Arts and Crafts work by William Morris & Co. Captain Cook married here. Abbey dates to 666 AD and includes ruins and recently restored Curfew tower and Chapel of Holy Rood.
    • Regular tours up Abbey Curfew tower (max 15 at one time) and St Margaret’s bell tower (max 10 at one time). Tower tours not suitable for infirm. Bell ringing demonstrations.
  • Barnet: Wrotham Park
    • A privately-owned Grade II listed Palladian mansion with grand interiors restored in 1883, set in 250 acres of parkland estate and built for Admiral The Hon. John Byng. Isaac Ware 1754. Entry: entrance hall, dining room, drawing room, saloon.
  • Bexley: Hall Place
    • Grade I listed early Tudor three-sided mansion built for a Lord Mayor of London c1540-1650 with later extensions. Set in formal gardens on the banks of the River Cray with splendid 18C gates. Entry: great hall, minstrels’ gallery, new exhibition galleries.
  • Brent: Brent Museum Collection Store
    • New?
  • Brent: Underground Bunker, Neasden
    • Underground 1940s bunker used during WWII by Winston Churchill and the Cabinet.
  • Bromley: Bromley and Sheppard’s College
    • Founded to house the widows of clergymen, the original building consisted of 20 houses built around a classically-styled quadrangle. Captain Richard Ryder – one of Sir Christopher Wren’s surveyors – was in charge of design and construction. Captain Richard Ryder 1666. Entry: grounds, quadrangle, chapel.
  • Bromley: Camden Place (Chislehurst Golf Club)
    • A guided walk around the estate focusing on the historical development and works of key architects in this impressive Arts and Crafts estate.
  • Bromley: The Berresford House
    • New?
  • Bromley: The Churchill
    • Wonderful example of a repertory theatre in style of European opera houses, with vast stage, sub-stage workshops and auditorium seating 785. Ken Wilson 1977. Entry: auditorium, stage, wings, dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces.
  • Bromley: The Odeon, Beckenham
    • Art Deco cinema with proscenium arch, stained glass windows and typically Deco mouldings. Robert Cromie 1930. Entry: main foyer, auditorium, projection room.
  • Camden: 19 North End
    • New?
  • Camden: 2 Willow Road
    • Unique Modern Movement home. Controversial when built because of its flat roof, reinforced concrete structure and expanses of glass. House contains original fittings and furniture designed by Goldfinger and important modern art collection including works by Bridget Riley, Max Ernst and Henry Moore. Ernö Goldfinger 1939.
  • Camden: 8 Kendalls Hall
    • New?
  • Camden: British Library
    • Highly acclaimed building of red brick with colourful window details and roof, the British Library is the ultimate in post-modernity. The design follows the English Free Style of architecture. Colin St John Wilson & Associates 1998. Entry: all public areas, Oriental Collections reading room.
  • Camden: Centre Point
    • No description from 2006, but based on personal visit last year, included guided tour around the building plus visit to empty office floor for photographs.
  • Camden: Government Art Collection
    • No description from 2006, but from memory, is visit to warehouse holding art collection.
  • Camden: Gray’s Inn
    • New?
  • Camden: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
    • Drama school’s home since 2003, recently refurbished with plans to develop site into a world-class drama campus. Black box studio theatre and special student common room area. Niall McLaughlin Architects 2003.
  • City of London: 1 Finsbury Circus
    • New?
  • City of London: 10 Queen Street Place
    • New?
  • City of London: Barbican Centre
    • A fascinating insight into the history, original concepts and designs for the Barbican by the architects of the recent refurbishment. AHMM will also highlight their new work to the public areas. Chamberlin Powell & Bon/Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (refurb) 1963/2006.
  • City of London: Clothworkers’ Hall
    • New?
  • City of London: Leathersellers’ Hall
    • Post-war building in neo-Georgian style, this is the 6th hall in the Leathersellers’ Company’s history since its foundation in the Middle Ages. Louis de Soissons Partnership 1960. Entry: Assembly room, Reception room, Livery Hall
  • City of London: Mansion House
    • Residence of the City of London’s Lord Mayor, retaining its 18C character, with superb plasterwork and wood carving. George Dance the Elder 1739-52. Entry: public areas of house on ground & 1st floors. (NB, open to paid tours on Tuesdays anyway)
  • City of London: Tower 42
    • New!
  • City of London: Watermen’s Hall
    • Only remaining Georgian Hall in the City of London, and perfect example of domestic architecture of the period. William Blackburn 1780. Entry: parlour, freemen’s room, court room, hallway.
  • Croydon: Croydon Town Hall and Clocktower Complex
    • Walk around Munro Tibbald’s Victorian library with modern extension and Town Hall gardens, plus Fairfield theatre. Entry to some areas of buildings on walk.
  • Croydon: Old Palace, Croydon
    • Grade I listed manor house and summer residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury from 13-18C. Medieval Great Hall with original roof, Great Chamber & Chapel, Tudor bedroom and Long Gallery. Entry: Great Hall, Great Chamber, domestic chapel.
  • Croydon: Tudor Croydon Tour
    • New?
  • Croydon: Whitgift Almshouses
    • Tudor almshouses around a courtyard, dating from 1596 and founded by the Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift. Chapel with original 16C clock. Entry: courtyard, chapel, audience chamber.
  • Ealing: Northala Fields: A Recycled New Park
    • New?
  • Enfield: Forty Hall
    • Grade I listed Jacobean house built 1629-36. Home of Sir Nicholas Rainton, Lord Mayor of London 1632-33. Last private owners were the Parker-Bowles family. Entry: ground & 1st floors.
  • Enfield: Gunpowder Park: A Blast from the Past is New Green Space
    • The Field Station is a striking environmentally friendly working space for exhibitions, workshops and special events supporting Gunpowder Park’s experimental programme of arts and the environment. Randall Shaw Billingham 2004. Entry: all areas and park.
  • Enfield: Priory Hospital North London
    • Grade I listed neo-classical villa designed for Walker Gray. Grounds laid out by Repton. Elegant trompe l’oeil breakfast room. John Nash 1797. Entry: main house, ground and 1st floors, ice house.
  • Greenwich: St Alfege Church, Greenwich
    • New?
  • Hackney: Adelaide Wharf
    • New?
  • Hackney: Eds Shed/Sunken House
    • New?
  • Hackney: Talk: 20 Dalston Lane
    • New?
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: 16 Ellingham Road
    • New?
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: 26 Rylett Crescent
    • New?
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: 7 Hammersmith Terrace
    • The home of Emery Walker, printer, antiquary and mentor to William Morris. A unique Arts and Crafts domestic interior. Entry: main rooms, garden.
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: Charing Cross Hospital
    • New?
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: Fulham Palace
    • New?
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Imaging Centre
    • New?
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s Hospitals
    • New?
  • Hammersmith and Fulham: Lyric Theatre Hammersmith
    • Beautiful gilt and velvet auditorium rebuilt inside concrete exterior of 1970s development. New striking glass and steel entrance extension illuminated at night to create glowing box. Frank Matcham/Rick Mather Architects 1895/2003. Entry: backstage, auditoria.
  • Haringey: Highpoint
    • Grade I listed Modernist apartment blocks retaining many original features such as cork floors, concertina windows and metal doors. Tecton & Lubetkin 1935/1938. Entry: common parts (by accompanied tour only) and interiors of two flats. NB. No photographs within the buildings or gardens, please.
  • Harrow: Grim’s Dyke
    • One of Shaw’s best known ‘Olde English’ style country residences and once the home of WS Gilbert. Listed gardens. Richard Norman Shaw 1872.
  • Harrow: Sweetmans Hall
    • New?
  • Havering: The Round House
    • Grade II* listed late Georgian elliptical 3-storeyed stuccoed villa. John Plaw 1792-4.
  • Hillingdon: Ickenham Manor
    • Four-bay timber-framed Tudor Manor House, connected to a Medieval hall. Later additions include 16C stair tower and two 18C brick wings. Entry: ground floor, gardens.
  • Hounslow: Cavalry Barracks
    • Historic London barracks with notable mid 19C additions under L B Ewart. James Johnson 1793. Entry: selected buildings.
  • Hounslow: St Mary’s Convent
    • Convent in 18C Grade II listed house with original features. Various additions including west wing (1913-15) and harmonious care home facilities and chapel by PRP Architects (1998-2001). Entry: lobby, community room, chapel. Heritage room and Foundress’ room (no wheelchair access).
  • Islington: 30 Thornhill Road
    • New?
  • Islington: 83 Calabria Road
    • New?
  • Islington: London Metropolitan Archives
    • New?
  • Islington: Sadler’s Wells Theatre
    • New?
  • Kensington and Chelsea: 26 Victoria Road
    • New?
  • Kensington and Chelsea: Kensington Palace
    • New?
  • Kensington and Chelsea: Michaelis House
    • Low-build 5-bedroom house with swimming pool, incorporating grass/sedum roof, borehole/heat pump hot water/heating system with solar panels (thermal and PV) and electric car. Michaelis Boyd Associates 2006. Entry: all areas except borehole.
  • Kensington and Chelsea: Royal Court Theatre
    • New?
  • Kensington and Chelsea: The LuxPod
    • New?
  • Kensington and Chelsea: Trellick Tower
    • Trellick Tower’s older, shorter, and lesser known sister. Apartment restored to expose original features such as lighting and linoleum flooring. Ernö Goldfinger 1965. Entry: apartment.
  • Kensington and Chelsea: Upside Down House
    • New?
  • Lambeth: Beefeater Distillery
    • Not in 2006 guide, but from memory, guided tour of the distillery, explanation of botanicals and a visit to their in-house bar.
  • Lambeth: BFI IMAX
    • New?
  • Lambeth: Conservation Extension
    • New?
  • Lambeth: Garden Pavilion
    • New?
  • Lambeth: The London Eye
    • The London Eye is the world’s tallest observation wheel and has rapidly become a much loved symbol of modern Britain. RIBA Award Winner. Marks Barfield Architects 1999.
  • Lewisham: Horniman Museum – Behind the Scenes of Natural History
    • New aquarium facing the challenges of building a sustainable eco-system in the basement of a museum. Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams 2006. Entry: aquarium, behind-the-scenes areas.
  • Lewisham: Manor House Library
    • New?
  • Lewisham: Stone House
    • New?
  • Lewisham: The Capitol (formerly Forest Hill Cinema)
    • New?
  • Merton: 31b St Mary’s Road
    • New?
  • Merton: Baitul Futuh Mosque
    • New?
  • Merton: New Wimbledon Theatre
    • Striking Edwardian theatre with beautiful main auditorium in classic three-tier design, seating 1,665. Recent major refurbishment. Cecil Massey & Roy Young 1910. Entry: main auditorium, museum. NB. Tours include many steps.
  • Newham: London 2012 Olympic Park
    • Not in 2006 guide, but probably a bus ride around the building sites.
  • Newham: Olympic Park Viewing Gallery at Holden Point
    • See spectacular birdseye views of the Olympic Park from the viewing gallery, constructed for the International Olympic Committee’s visit during London’s bid to host the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Project team professionals on site to answer questions. Olympic Park Architects – Foreign Office Architects, HOK, EDAW, Allies & Morrison. NB. Site sits on 21st floor of housing block, please respect residents.
  • Redbridge: Temple House
    • New?
  • Redbridge: The Gazebo
    • Brick-built gazebo standing upon small cruciform grotto, all that remains of Wanstead Grove. Early 18C. Entry: gazebo, grotto
  • Richmond: Richmond Theatre
    • A typical Matcham design, this beautiful 840 seat theatre was exhaustively researched and then restored in 1989 to a fabulous crimson, cream and gold. All original mouldings restored and renewed. Frank Matcham 1899. Entry: auditorium, backstage, foyers.
  • Richmond: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Architectural Tour
    • New?
  • Richmond: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Jodrell Laboratory
    • New?
  • Richmond: Sandycombe Lodge
    • New?
  • Richmond: The Glasshouse
    • New?
  • Southwark: Dulwich College
    • Founded in 1619 and rebuilt in the 1860s, the buildings are large, symmetrical and ornate, in the Italian Renaissance style. Charles Barry Junior 1866-70. Entry: great hall, lower hall, boardroom, Masters’ library.
  • Southwark: Landscape Institute Walks
    • New?
  • Southwark: Talk: Peckham Space – by Architects Penson Group
    • New?
  • Southwark: The South Bank: Improving London’s River Relations
    • New?
  • Sutton: Parity Projects House
    • New?
  • Tower Hamlets: Museum of London Docklands
    • Grade I listed, late Georgian sugar warehouse now housing the Museum in Docklands. Sensitively restored, the new multi-media displays coexist with the massive timber and stone structures of the original building. Unknown/Purcell Miller Tritton (conversion) 1802/2002
  • Tower Hamlets: Talk at Wilton’s Music Hall: Reimagining Buildings
    • New?
  • Tower Hamlets: Tower Bridge Exhibition
    • New?
  • Tower Hamlets: Tower of London
    • New?
  • Tower Hamlets: Whitechapel Gallery
    • New?
  • Westminster: Architectural Highlights of Paddington
    • New?
  • Westminster: Big Changes in Paddington and Heatherwick’s Rolling Bridge
    • New?
  • Westminster: Brunel – Designer, Engineer, Legend
    • New?
  • Westminster: Dover House, Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland
    • Elegant Whitehall façade and domed entrance commissioned by the Duke of York. Interesting original interiors. J Paine & H Holland 1754-8/1787. Entry: Ministerial rooms only.
  • Westminster: Eco House Monmouth Road (Gap House)
    • New?
  • Westminster: Former Conservative Club (HSBC offices)
    • Grand and monumental building with rich carvings and spectacular decorated saloon at its heart. Conserved and refurbished to replace 2 wings and provide new glazing to atrium at junction of new and old sites. Grade II* listed. Sidney Smirke & George Basevi/Squire & Partners 1844/2004. Entry: Grade II* listed areas.
  • Westminster: Grosvenor House
    • New?
  • Westminster: Park Lane Hotel
    • London’s finest monument to Art Deco features original marble bathrooms, fireplaces and recently restored Grade I listed ballroom. Henry Tanner 1927. Entry: rooms selected on day.
  • Westminster: Reform Club
    • Built as a Whig gentleman’s club and inspired by Italian Renaissance palaces. Lobby leads to an enclosed colonnaded courtyard with ‘complementary’ glazed roof and tessellated floor. Tunnelled staircase leads to upper floor. Sir Charles Barry 1841. Entry: ground & 1st floor principal public rooms.
  • Westminster: Royal Albert Hall
    • New?
  • Westminster: Royal Astronomical Society
    • New?
  • Westminster: St Martin-in-the-Fields
    • One of Britain’s finest churches, built in the Italian Baroque tradition. Currently undergoing multi-million pound renewal project. James Gibbs/Eric Parry Architects (modernisation) 1726/2006. Entry: nave, porches, crypt, other areas on specific tours only – include special access to roof space, bell ringing room and royal box. OR close-up of Walker organ and liturgical aspects of church
  • Westminster: St Marylebone CE School Performing Arts Centre
    • New?
  • Westminster: Talk at Margaret Howell: Celebrating the Modern Swimming Pool
    • New?
  • Westminster: The Dorchester
    • New?
  • Westminster: The Naval Club
    • Grade II listed Georgian town house c1748-1750 reputed to have been 18C residence of William Pitt the Younger. First floor suite decorated in ornate white and gold ‘Louis XVI’ style. Dark stock brick building with Ionic porch and moulded architraves to sash windows. Entry: ground, 1st, 2nd floors & public rooms.
  • Westminster: University of Westminster
    • New?
  • Westminster: Vibrant Victoria
    • New?

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  1. so many! what do you recommend? I need guidance…

  2. I can’t believe that they want £6.50 for a guide book! I’ll be picking mine up at the library for nothing.

    • IanVisits says:

      I got mine for a fraction of the price as they were offering early buyers a discount.

      That said, I tend to keep the book as a year-long inspiration guide for places that might be worth looking at. Also, Open House is a charity, and I don’t mind the donation one bit.

  3. Rob says:

    Some good ones on the list! I’m very interested in 31b St Mary’s Road in Wimbledon. I live not too far away and had no idea that there is something worth visiting situated there. I’ll have to go past again and take a second look.

    Thanks for publishing this

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "London Open House Weekend – Bookings"
  1. […] I have been eyeing it for some editions now but never got round to actually going, when IanVisits wrote about it earlier in the year I made it a point to note down the day the bookings will be opened. Even with […]

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