Alexandra House, High Street, Brentford
In 2019 Liz Bryant provided two deckle edge family photos of the newly-built Alexandra House taken seconds apart. Local historian Janet McNamara has provided the following notes and a corresponding view in 2019.
It opened in 1938 on the site of the British (later Rothschild) School as a health centre and employment exchange. Pevsner describes it as 'low brick in the Dudok manner popular in the 1930s for progressive social building by the Middlesex County Council'. It was designed by the MCC architects department.
When my doctor moved from a house in Windmill Road near St Faiths Church and joined a group practice that was my Health Centre. It must have been in the early 1970s. I'm sure the employment centre had moved well before then.
The Health Centre closed in 1996 when the new one opened on the site of the 1920s hospital opposite Brentford Station. I suspect the Health Authority had hoped to sell the site but the building was listed as Grade II in 1994.
So what could they do with it?!
It was the Resource Centre for several years where various organisations and charities had offices. Age UK were there and I remember giving a few talks there and going to a yoga class. For the past 3 or 4 years it's been an extension for St Paul's School when they became a 2 form rather than a 1 form entry. Albany Road has been closed off at the top of Alexandra Road and is pavement right across and you see groups of kids moving between the sites without having to cross a road.
Local heritage guide, Peter King, had found that Willem Marinus Dudok (1884-1974) had done military training at Breda and spent 10 years constructing defensive forts and barracks for the Dutch Army. In 1927 he became the city architect for Hilversum near Amsterdam and designed the principal public buildings. It seems he borrowed extensively from Frank Lloyd Wright and the American Prairie School.
There are now quite large trees to the east and a block of flats circa 1960s then what I call Kings Arms Alley running through to Albany Road - see below.
(Webmaster: note the advertising signs: Coca Cola just beyond Alexandra House and Players on the bus shelter)
Alexandra House in 2019 (Janet McNamara).
Along from Alexandra House are Berkley House with the trees in the garden - Waterman's Court with the entrance on to Albany Road - Charlton House, Albany Parade on the right.
Newspaper account of the opening of the Health Centre from David Shailes.
Notes about properties in this area.
A pre-Alexandra House postcard view; the houses look the same as those in the older photos.
Published August 2019; updted August 2023