3 Cochrane Street to Regents Park
Continue down Finchley Rd past StJohn’s Wood station and Acacia Road, then turn left into Circus Road and first right into Cochrane Street.
5 blocks of flats built for the St Marylebone Housing Association (1945 –1950)
(architect Louis de Soissons 1890 – 1962) Careful planning on a restricted site gave a varied frontage on the street. In George Eyre House the open archways which originally led to the rear courtyard to gain access to the upper storey flats had to be replaced by front doors as unfortunately in the 1990s the balconies and gardens at the back became a haunt of drug users to the distress of the residents. At Cicely Davies House there is a plaque commemorating its opening by the Association’s Patron, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
Post war council flats built by St Marylebone Borough Council
3-5 Cochrane Street 1936-37
Architect David Stokes (1908 – 1990) built a pair of semi-detached houses here, one of which was for himself. They are faced with grey sand-lime bricks and the vertical joints are pointed with grey mortar, the horizontal ones with white. New features at the time were the central placing of the garages, the screening of the kitchen window and service door without loss of light and an elimination of superfluous hall and passage space. The main staircase in the dining room leads directly up to the drawing room. A secondary staircase is provided ascending the full height of the house. The main bedroom suite is approached from the drawing room on the first floor, through a small intervening lobby. (Architect and Building News September 1937 )
Either: Walk south through the church gardens , turn left and walk along the side of Regents Park past North Gate until you reach Oslo Court or take a shorter but less pretty walk turning left into Wellington Place, crossing St Johns Wood High St and going along Barrow Hill Road, past the 1930s Barrow Hill estate, first right into Greenberry Street, left into Newcourt Street and then right down Charlbert St following the side of Oslo Court.
In the Thirties, St John’s Wood became a prime area for luxury flats, many of them small service flats, which were thought desirable by young married couples at the time. Most of these flats gave a passing nod to Modernist architecture but not in a threatening form that might upset middle class tenants. There were Art Deco features and sunbathing balconies and windows with rounded corners but not too much concrete or communal living. Because of improvements in the provision of air-conditioning and electricity, internal bathrooms were allowed for the first time, which made planning small flats easier.
Many of the houses in which local working class people lived were demolished over the years after 1914 in order to find a large enough space for blocks of flats. The final remaining 30 workmen’s cottages with views of Regents Park were removed in 1936 to enable Oslo Court to be built.
Oslo Court (1936–38)
Listed Grade 2 by English Heritage (architect Robert Atkinson)
This consists of seven floors containing 125 two roomed flats, 112 of which have a direct view of the park. Each flat had a living room, bedroom, kitchen, internal bathroom and a small hall with coat cupboards. Each flat had a balcony and a restaurant was provided on the ground floor for the use of tenants. (The restaurant still survives and is open to the public). The steps and surround to the entrance doorway are in travertine marble with the outer lobby doors in teak and the inner swing doors in walnut. The rents varied from £140 to £250 per annum, according to position. The block is built of reinforced concrete and brick infill and cladding with a flat terrace roof, and there are Crittall metal casements. The basement was used through the war as a shelter for local residents as well as the flat owners. Olga Lehman(1912 – 2001)was an artist known for her murals and portraits, and was permitted by the War Office to make sketches of London bomb damage, air raid shelters and ARP personnel; her own flat in Hampstead was destroyed in the Blitz in 1940.