Open House Festival

Isleworth Public Hall


S. Woodbridge, 1863

South Street, Isleworth, TW7 7BG

Recently refurbished well-executed and colourfully detailed example of Victorian reading and vestry rooms (1863) with added public hall by S Woodridge 1887.

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Official List Entry

Reading Room, 1863; public hall added 1887-8, by S Woodbridge; C20 alterations.

Yellow stock brick in English bond with coated Welsh slate roofs and brick stacks. The 1863 block, at the front, is of 2 storeys, 3 x 1 bays, and is decoratively treated with a blue-brick plinth with off-sets; red brick to bands and to diaper-work between floors and to parapet; white herring-bone brick tympana to upper windows; and chamfered ashlar dressings to door, windows and verges.

Windows, of 3 lights to ground floor and 2 Caernarvon-arched lights to 1st floor, have mullions, transoms and horizontal glazing bars. Entrance on left has flight of 4 stone steps, half-glazed double-doors and 3-pane over-light. 1st floor: panels flanking windows have blue-brick offset bases and stepped cogged heads; windows are set under pointed arches which rise above parapet into gablets with crested ridge tiles; continuous hoodmould.

Parapet and raised verges with flat coping. Returns in same style, right return having a 3-light window to each floor and marble date stone recording the building of the extension; left return one 2-light window to 1st floor.

The 1887 rear block is of 2 tall storeys and 4 bays and is linked to the front block by a lower bay with entrance at each side. The 1887 work is plainer. Openings have segmental red-brick arches. The windows are large 4-pane sashes, paired on the ground-floor. On the left (west) side, 2 doors take the place of windows, and give direct access to meeting rooms; two corbelled lateral stacks. Roof half-hipped to rear.

INTERIOR: 1863 block: entrance hall has colourful tessellated floor; marble Boer War memorial comprising decorative, classically-treated, corniced, plaque with pointed-arched recess inscribed with names; wide cantilevered stone stair with open treads, decorative cast-iron balusters, panelled wooden newels and moulded wooden handrail. Panelled doors. Reading room, on ground floor, has dado rail and simply-moulded fireplace.

Vestry Hall on 1st floor has bolection-moulded fireplace and waggon-vaulted roof with exposed rafters. 1887 block has panelled doors; simple fireplaces; back-stair with wooden balusters, alternately plain and moulded; 1st-floor hall with stage, dado rail, cornice, chamfered principal rafters and collars, under-boarded roof.

This is a well-executed and colourfully-detailed example of a mid-C19 Reading Room which survives in a little-altered condition.

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