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Monday, 15 September 2014

Open House 2014: The Ministry Recommends


It's that time of year again when we stare out our Time Out in shock- is Open House this weekend?! Yes it is this weekend, which means you have only a few days to game plan how you are going to spend your Saturday and Sunday getting behind London's locked doors. If you are like us, then you were probably too caught up with other things to remember to get your name down for the pre-booking only events. But fear not! With over 800 amazing buildings to see all over London, plus guided tours and walks, there is still plenty for you to do and see.


In case this is all knew to you, Open House is an initiative run by OpenCity which aims to engage the public with London's built environment. Once a year they organise for London landmarks, museums, galleries, office buildings, and even private homes to throw open their doors for us noisy lot to wander around. There is literally something for every taste this weekend: whether you swoon for the Brutalists or get down with the Victorians, you can tailor your visits for your interests. Or mix it up and learn something new!

One of the things that was really stressed at the launch event on the 8th was the organisations desire to encourage people to explore not just individual buildings, but urban environments as a whole. To that end they've also added in some pretty sweet treasure hunts, photo tours and walks. To find out more visit: http://events.londonopenhouse.org/Venues?q= 

We think our top picks might give away our love for all things Victorian and macabre, but here's what the Ministry Recommends you see:

18 Stafford Terrace - The Sambourne Family Home
18 Stafford Terrace, W8 7BH, London, England
Open House Says: From 1875, the home of the Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his wife Marion, their two children and their live-in servants. Today, the house is recognised as the best surviving example of a late Victorian middle-class home in the UK. It is remarkably well-preserved and complete with its original interior decoration and contents.
The Ministry Says: Love the sitting room stuffed full of knick-nacks, wonder if I could hire their decorator...
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10:30am-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
First come basis. Entry at set intervals - cards will be given out with entrance time.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 4pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: ground floor and basement only.
How to get there
Tube: High Street Kensington;
Tube/Rail: Olympia;
9,10,27,28,49,328
68 Dean Street
68 Dean Street, W1D 4QJ, London, England
Open House SaysFine example of early 18C London domestic architecture by local carpenter/builder, with separate cesspits for the Meards and servants, and largely panelled hidden rooms.
The Ministry Says: Cesspits? Sold. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10am-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
Tours on the hour (not 1pm), first come basis.
Last Entry Time
Last tour 4pm.
How to get there
Tube: Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road;
Tube/Rail: Charing Cross


Abbey Mills Pumping Station

Abbey Lane, E15 2RW, London, England
Open House SaysView the Abbey Mills pumping station A, built by engineer Joseph Bazalgette, Edmund Cooper and architect Charles Driver. Built between 1865 and 1868 it has been described as the cathedral of sewage.
The Ministry Says: Can't go wrong with a catherdral of sewage. Who doesn't love Bazalgette?
Event/Entry Details
Sat & Sun tours at 10am, 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm & 3pm. Pre-book ONLY on londonopenhouse@thameswater.co.uk clearly marking the subject ABBEY MILLS: Open House Please do not turn up on the day without pre-booking.
How to get there
Tube: Bromley-by-Bow, Bow Road;
DLR: Pudding Lane;
25,86

Apothecaries' Hall

Black Friars Lane, EC4V 6EJ, London, England
Open House SaysA courtyard building with some of the best-preserved 17C livery hall interiors, on the site of the Blackfriars Priory on which the original hall burnt down in 1666.
The Ministry Says: Have always wanted to visit here and see the Great Hall, maybe this weekend is the time to finally get to it!
Event Days/Times
Sunday | 10am-to-3pm
Event/Entry Details
First come basis.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 2.45pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: parlour, court room, great hall.
How to get there
Tube: Monument;
Tube/Rail: Blackfriars;
4,11,15,23,26,45,63,76,172

Arts Lav

180 Kennington Lane, SE11 4UZ, London, England
Open House Says: Once a Victorian Gentleman's lavatory, ArtsLav is now a thriving arts hub in a listed and semi-restored Kennington landmark. Original features include marble urinals, glass water tank, mosaic floor, ventilator shaft and horse trough.
The Ministry Says: Are we on an accidental toilet and sewage theme for our picks? Maybe- but the Victorians loved their water and sanitation reform, so much they covered it in marble. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10am-to-5pm
Sunday | 10am-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
First come basis, queuing outside if necessary.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 4.45pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: all areas.
How to get there
Tube: Kennington;
Rail: Elephant & Castle;
3,59,159,196,360


Bells and Belfries at St Botolph Aldgate

Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AB, London, England
Open House Says: Rare opportunity to see the bells and belfry of this church by the architect of Mansion House, with demonstrations taking place. Inside is London's oldest organ
The Ministry Says: Ring my beeeeeeelll, ring my bell. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10am-to-4pm
Sunday | 10am-to-4pm
Event/Entry Details
Bell ringing demonstrations and limited belfry tours on Sat only (10am-12noon & 2pm-4pm). Max 20 in belfry.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 3.30pm.
How to get there
Tube: Aldgate;
Tube/Rail: Liverpool Street; Rail: Fenchurch Street;
42,78,100,67,15

Bethlem Royal Hospital

Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, BR3 3BX, London, England
Open House Says: The first opportunity to see the 1930 hospital administration building, currently undergoing refurbishment to open in 2015 as the Museum of the Mind.
The Ministry Says: Sneak peek! Yes please, can't wait for the Museum of the Mind!
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10am-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
Tours of administration building at 10am and 11am, first come basis.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 4.30pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: archives and museum (10-5), main building by tours only.
How to get there
Rail: Eden Park;
356,119,194,198

Billingsgate Roman House and Baths

101 Lower Thames Street, EC2R 6DL, London, England
Open House Says: Some of London's best Roman remains, comprising late 2C house with a 3C bath house built within its courtyard. First discovered in 1848.
The Ministry Says: Back to ye olde Londinium. Way way back. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 11am-to-4pm
Sunday | 11am-to-4pm
Event/Entry Details
Museum of London curators on site.
How to get there
Tube: Monument;
Rail: Fenchurch Street, Blackfriars;
15,35,40,43,47,48,78

Boone's Chapel

Lee High Road, SE13 5PH, London, England
Open House Says: Grade I listed former almshouse chapel restored in 2008 as an architect's studio and exhibition space. Brick and Portland stone chapel (1682) with contemporary service building and small garden in grounds of the Merchant Taylors' Almshouses. Green features include recycled materials, sheep's wool insulation and lime plaster.
The Ministry Says: Where history and art meet- that's where you'll find us. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 12pm-to-5pm
Sunday | 12pm-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
First come basis. Exhibition material on the social history of the building.
Entry Areas
Entry: chapel.
How to get there
Rail: Blackheath, Lewisham, Hither Green;
321,178,261,122

Brixton Windmill

Blenheim Gardens, SW2 5ET, London, England
Open House Says: One of very few windmills in London. Built 1816 when Brixton Hill was open fields and a working mill until 1934. Restored to working order 2011.
The Ministry Says: That pub is named after a real thing?!
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 1pm-to-5pm
Sunday | 1pm-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
Half-hourly tours, duration 40 mins, max 3 per tour, pre-book ONLY on 07587 170 029. 'Short' tours to first floor, first come basis, duration 20 mins, max 6 per tour.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 4.40 pm.
Entry Areas
NB. steep ladders, low beams, heavy machinery and confined spaces. All children must be able to climb stairs unaided.
How to get there
Tube/Rail: Brixton;
45,59,109,118,133,159,250,333


Caroline Gardens Chapel

Asylum Road, SE15 2SQ, London, England
Open House Says: An extraordinary centrepiece of a large almshouse complex, the chapel was originally intended for retired publicans and brewers. It was severely damaged in WWII, but a collection of funerary monuments and painted glass windows survived. Sealed up until recently it is now an arts centre.
The Ministry Says: Tres chic arts venue in Peckham, cool kids only. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 8am-to-3pm
Entry Areas
Entry: chapel, general estate.
How to get there
Rail: Queens Road Peckham;
P12

City Alleyways

Meet: Outside Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, EC2V 5AE, London, England
Open House Says: A walk through some of the old alleyways of the City of London, passing Wren churches, Livery Halls and many little known historical places, finishing at the Monument. Walk led by qualified City of London guide.
The Ministry Says: Wander the windy streets of London, and not just when you are looking for a night bus.
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10:30am-to-3:30pm
Sunday | 10:30am-to-3:30pm
Event/Entry Details
Regular departures every 45minutes from 10.30am. Duration approx 2 hours. First come first served.
Last Entry Time
Last tour 3.30pm.
How to get there
DLR/Tube: Bank;
Tube: Barbican, St Paul's; Tube/Rail: Moorgate;
8,21,23,25,43,133,141,242

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street, SW1A 2AH, London, England
Open House Says: Grade I listed Victorian government office buildings. Former India Office includes the magnificently decorated Durbar Court.
The Ministry Says: Phwoar, the Empire is alive and well in London's architecture!
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10am-to-5pm
Sunday | 10am-to-5pm
Last Entry Time
Last entry 4.30pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: Durbar court, India Office council chamber, Locarno suite and Foreign Office grand staircase.
How to get there
Tube: Westminster;
Tube/Rail: Charing Cross, Victoria;
3,11,12,24,53,87,88,159,453

Home House

19, 20 & 21 Portman Square, W1H 6LW, London, England
Open House Says: Built in 1776 by Wyatt with very fine interiors by Adam. Was the London base of the Countess of Home and is probably the greatest surviving Georgian town house.
The Ministry Says: Shout out to the Georgians. Plus Home House for Open House? Too good. 
Event/Entry Details
Sun tours at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, pre-book ONLY by email on openhouse@homehouse.co.uk, confirmation sent by email.
Entry Areas
Entry: Drawing rooms.
How to get there
Tube: Marble Arch;
Tube/Rail: Paddington;
2,13,82,139,159


Langham House Close, Flats

Langham House Close, Ham Common, TW10 7JE, London, England
Open House Says: A landmark in 'Brutalism'. Exposed shuttered concrete and brick construction with iconic oversized concrete 'gargoyles' and geometric fenestration. Interior features exposed brick chimney/mantle/squint and architect-designed cupboards.
The Ministry Says: For all you Brutalist fans out there. Or Westerners. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10am-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
First come basis, queuing if necessary.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 5pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: entrance hall to flats 25-30, interior of flat 7.
How to get there
Rail: Richmond, Kingston;
then 65 bus to Ham Common

Nunhead Cemetery

Linden Grove, SE15 3LP, London, England
Open House Says: Magnificent Victorian cemetery with Gothic chapel and ruined lodge. One of London's wildest and most overgrown cemeteries, a square mile of inner city forest. Restored with the help of a lottery grant. Unique in London - 50 acres of wilderness, complete with bats, owls, foxes and squirrels.
The Ministry Says: A lesser known of the Magnificent Seven - for all you morbid kiddies. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 1pm-to-5pm
Sunday | 1pm-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
Tours at 2pm, 3pm of the cemetery and chapel.
Entry Areas
Entry: cemetery, chapel.
How to get there
Rail: Nunhead;
484,P3,P12

Sandys Row Synagogue

4 Sandys Row, E1 7HW, London, England
Open House Says: Hidden gem at the very heart of London. Built originally as Huguenot chapel in 1763, this extraordinary building has been in continuous use as a synagogue since 1860. Oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in London.
The Ministry Says: We had no idea this was here! Oh London, what secrets do you keep...
Event Days/Times
Sunday | 12pm-to-4pm
Event/Entry Details
Regular tours, first come basis. Films will also be shown.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 3.45pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: synagogue sanctuary, vestry, ladies gallery.
How to get there
Tube/Rail: Liverpool Street, Shoreditch High Street;
100,214,205,23,153


The Tin Tabernacle / Cambridge Hall

12-16 Cambridge Avenue, NW6 5BA, London, England
Open House Says: 1860s corrugated iron chapel. Inside transformed after the last war into a ship by local people, complete with decks, portholes, bridge and even a bofors gun.
The Ministry Says: Community engaging with historic spaces, love it. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 1pm-to-5pm
Sunday | 1pm-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
Half-hourly tours, first come basis.
Last Entry Time
Last tour 4pm. Last entry 4.30pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: Chapel, roperoom, classroom, wardroom.
How to get there
Tube: Kilburn Park;
Rail: Kilburn High Road;
31,328,316,32,206,632

Trinity Buoy Wharf/Container City

64 Orchard Place E14 0JY, E14 0JW, London, England
Open House Says: Home to London's only lighthouse, fine stock buildings and examples of the innovative Container City buildings including the new Olympic Legacy - Clipper House. This former buoy manufacturing site is now a centre for the creative industries with Thames views and various sculptures and installations. 500th anniversary of Trinity House.
The Ministry Says: Container architecture of course - plus plenty of installations. 
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 11am-to-4pm
Sunday | 11am-to-4pm
Event/Entry Details
History & art and regeneration tour 12noon. First come basis, meet at lighthouse.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 3.30pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: Trinity Buoy Wharf, Container City, lighthouse, historic buildings, pier, lightship.
How to get there
DLR: East India; DLR/Rail: Canning Town;
277

V&A Study Centre, Blythe House

23 Blythe Road, W14 0QX, London, England
Open House Says: A glimpse of the Victoria and Albert Museum's study centre at Blythe House near Olympia, including new reception area by Haworth Tompkins and display of Eduardo Paolozzi's Krazy Kat Arkive of Twentieth-Century Popular Culture.
The Ministry Says: Unless you work in a museum or are doing research you probably won't ever get to step inside the imposing building that is Blythe House, home to the off-site stores of the V&A, British Museum and Science Museum. Stood in for the Circus in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A very cool museum behind the scenes!
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 11am-to-5pm
Sunday | 11am-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
Courtyard and reception areas only, including the krazy kat arkive. Tours of the Clothworkers' Centre at 12noon, 2pm and 4pm. Pre-book ONLY on 0207 942 2211.
How to get there
Tube: Kensington Olympia;
9,10,27,28
Wilton's Music Hall
Graces Alley, Ensign Street, E1 8JB, London, England
Open House Says: The oldest music hall in London to survive in its original form, complete with papier-mache balconies, barley sugar iron columns and unique atmosphere. Hall is fronted by five terrace houses; four Georgian and one 1990s.
The Ministry Says: One of our favourite spots in the whole city! Amazing building and a great bar for a rest from all your wanderings!
Event Days/Times
Saturday | 12pm-to-11pm
Event/Entry Details
First come basis, queuing outside if necessary. Audio tours available.
Entry Areas
Entry: main hall, foyer, upstairs foyer.
How to get there
DLR: Shadwell, Tube: Tower Hill, Aldgate East;
Rail/Tube: London Bridge;
100
The Old Mortuary
St Marychurch Street, SE16 4JE, London, England
Open House Says: Erected in 1895 and situated in Rotherhithe Conservation Area. Retains many original features including a vaulted ceiling in Russell Hall, original doors, lantern skylight and iron girder in Varney Room (formerly post-mortem room), wooden panelling in chapel. Now community centre with local history group (Time and Talents Association).
The Ministry Says: A mortuary built to house all the bodies washed up by the Thames in Rotherhithe. Or as you look at it now, community centre. Oh London, I love you. 

Event Days/Times
Saturday | 10am-to-5pm
Sunday | 10am-to-5pm
Event/Entry Details
Regular tours and special display of features of local history.
Last Entry Time
Last entry 4pm.
Entry Areas
Entry: former mortuary, post mortem room, chapel.
How to get there
Tube: Bermondsey, Canada Water;
Rail: London Bridge, Rotherhithe;
47,188,381,C10,P12




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