A Virtual Museum - Your Town, the Borough and its History

building front detail
building front detail
General Description

In addition to Lansdowne Square itself, this Conservation Area includes Nos. 42 to 52 Pier Road, and the Old Sun Public House and part of the G.E.C. Henley Building in Crete Hall Road. It extends northwards as far as Mean High Water Mark.   

 

History

bracket detail
bracket detail

The area owes its existence and character to a certain extent to the former Rosherville Gardens, a Victorian pleasure ground which lay immediately to the west of Lansdowne Square. The Gardens were a popular destination for visitors from London who arrived by steamer at the Rosherville pier, of which only the steps now survive. This fashionable resort prompted the development of a "new village" at Rosherville, which was to be built to cater for "an affluent and respectable class of person" to live in a spacious environment with views over the river. However, the only part of this ambitious scheme to be completed was a group of four large houses in the square and terraces of villas in Pier Road and Burch Road. In 1900 Rosherville Gardens closed and became derelict. The G.E.C. Henley factory and offices with their Art Deco frontage, were built on the last remaining part of the Gardens in the 1930s. The Rosherville Hotel, which once dominated the north western corner of Lansdowne Square was demolished in 1968, having been converted into flats.

cranes on the river
cranes on the river

Character

chimney
chimney

This Conservation Area has one of the finest river frontages on the Thames below Tower Bridge. There are many fine views out over the river to Essex beyond. A riverside walkway extends to the full width of the Area.

The principal built feature is the group of buildings in the centre of the square which take the form of grand villas, (one of which has been demolished) and alongside its eastern side, a terrace of paired villas stepping gracefully up the rising ground away from the river. Although the Area currently contains no listed buildings, all are considered to be at least of local interest.

gec henley sign
gec henley sign
There is considerable scope for the preservation and enhancement of this Conservation Area. Priorities include the reinstatement of the missing building in Lansdowne Square and the restoration of others, including those in Pier Road and a scheme of environmental enhancement of the square itself, including the river frontage.


GEC Henley building
GEC Henley building
49-51 Pier Road
49-51 Pier Road