Open house London

What’s not to love about Open House London, that annual peek behind the city’s closed doors? From grand and historic buildings to modernist housing estates and private homes, more than 700 buildings are opening their doors on 21 and 22 September. Here’s our pick of three Open House London highlights in Clerkenwell…

Order of St John
Step back in time at the Order of St John (above). This historic landmark in the centre of Clerkenwell is opening the doors to its Chapter Hall, Council Chamber and Old Chancery. The Priory Church and Crypt will also be open, and there will be performances from Brother Hugh, a Hospitalier who will regale visitors with tales of the Siege of Malta. (For more on the history of the Order of St John see Post, issue 8.)

Spa Green Estate
This modernist housing development was awarded Grade II-listed status in 1998. Designed by the Russian émigré architect Berthold Lubetkin and opened in 1949, Spa Green Estate was his vision for social housing, with balconies, a roof garden and plenty of daylit spaces. These days Spa Green is a mixture of council and private housing and is acclaimed by many architects.


Finsbury Town Hall
The grand dame of Rosebery Avenue (above) is opening up its doors for Open House Weekend. Its spectacular late-Victorian interiors, including the Clerkenwell Angels, female figures on the walls bearing sprays of foliage, are a must-see for fans of Art Nouveau. (For more on the history of Finsbury Town Hall, see Post, issue 11).