Architect: Berthold Lubetkin
Cruikshank Street, London WC1
A rare opportunity to acquire an exceptional one-bedroom Ex-Local Authority apartment in this landmark Modernist building in Islington. Bevin Court was designed in the early 1950s by the revered Modern Movement architect Berthold Lubetkin, in conjunction with Francis Skinner and Douglas Bailey. It has been given a rare Grade II* listing by English Heritage in recognition of its architectural significance.
The flat is located on the second floor of the building (there is lift access). Accommodation measures approximately 476 sq ft, and comprises one double bedroom, reception room, kitchen and bathroom. There are communal gardens, which include allotments.
Major works have been carried out by Islington Council that have greatly improved the building. These include a new warm roof system, window repairs, structural repairs and communal decoration, a door entry system, lift renewal and replacement of heating risers.
Bevin Court has a triaxial plan consisting of three ‘wings’ with a central staircase. This striking staircase forms the centrepoint of the building and offers views across the city through the openings on each floor. It is in the process of being restored to its original colour scheme of grey, yellow and red. In John Allan’s book Berthold Lubetkin, he writes that, “it is difficult to cite any public staircase in the whole Modern Movement that can rival Lubetkin’s masterpiece at Bevin Court”. The entrance hall is also home to a mural by the artist Peter Yates.
Bevin Court has a quiet Finsbury location with exceptional transport links: it is a short walk from the Underground stations at Angel and King’s Cross, which also offers National Rail and Eurostar services. The shops and restaurants of Upper Street, Amwell Street, Exmouth Market and Clerkenwell are all within easy reach.
Lease: approx. 95 years remaining
Service charge: £1,341.60 (2011/12) including heating and hot water
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
Berthold Lubetkin is one of the most important figures of the Modern Movement in Britain. Born in Georgia in 1901, he studied in Berlin and Paris, before moving to London in 1931. The following year he founded the famous Tecton practice with the Architectural Association graduates Anthony Chitty, Lindsay Drake, Michael Dugdale, Valentine Harding, Godfrey Samuel and Francis Skinner.
Lubetkin and Tecton’s buildings are among the most iconic of the period, and include the penguin pool at London Zoo (designed in conjunction with the engineer Ove Arup) and Finsbury Health Centre, which is a short walk from Bevin Court.
Lubetkin designed Bevin Court in conjunction with Francis Skinner and Douglas Bailey, following the dissolution of the Tecton practice. The works were completed in 1954.
It occupies the site of the 1902-03 home of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, where he lived in exile while editing the socialist newspaper Iskra (Spark). The building was to be named “Lenin” in his honour, but this idea was abandoned after the War. Lubetkin had planned to incorporate a memorial to Lenin in his scheme, but the remains of this were buried under the central core of the staircase. The proposed site of the monument (to the right of the main entrance) and a viewing aperture designed to allow the building’s porter to oversee its wellbeing exist to this day.
Before the building was completed, the Cold War had intensified and it was renamed Bevin Court, honouring Britain’s anti-communist foreign secretary Ernest Bevin. The building was given Grade II* listed status in December 1998, and has recently undergone restoration by the London Borough of Islington.
Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990) was one of the most important figures of the Modern Movement. Born in Georgia in 1901, he studied in Berlin and Paris, before moving to London in 1931. The following year he founded the famous Tecton practice with the Architectural Association graduates Anthony Chitty, Lindsay Drake, Michael Dugdale, Valentine Harding, Godfrey Samuel and Francis Skinner.
Amongst Tecton’s first commissions, led by Lubetkin, were the iconic penguin pool and gorilla house for London Zoo – both unique early examples of Modernism in the UK. Lubetkin and Tecton’s buildings went on to become some of the most iconic of the period, and include private houses in Sydenham, one of the UK’s only Modernist terraces in Plumstead, south London, Finsbury Health Centre and the Highpoint apartments in Highgate. The latter is described by the architectural historian Alan Powers as “perhaps the single most celebrated Modernist building of the 1930s in London.”