The art nouveau pale green and white faience facade of the Fox and Anchor PH (1898, architect Latham Augustus Withall), Charterhouse Street, is signed by both Doulton’s and their designer W. J. Neatby; its motifs include a fox, an anchor and assorted gargoyles.

The exterior of the late nineteenth century former dairy (now studio spaces) at 30a Great Sutton Street is decorated with a frieze of framed Minton China Works picture tiles of rural scenes designed by William Wise.
Finsbury Health Centre (1935-8, architects Berthold Lubetkin and Tecton), Pine Street, had plain tiles lining its internal walls in accordance with Lubetkin’s views on the positive effects of clean and bright surfaces. Its exterior was partly clad with cream tiles, which by the early 1990s had become cracked and filthy. Restoration by Avanti Architects during 1994-5 included the replacement of some tiling on the left hand entrance wing; after trials with samples from Shaws of Darwen, the architects finally used tiles glazed in northern France, which were blander and not an ideal match.[1]

Inside the George and Dragon PH (now Peasant), 240 St John Street, is good turn-of-the-century tilework including a depiction of St George and the dragon.

Finsbury Park

In the café of the Centre for Lifelong Learning, City and Islington College, which is housed in a renovated nineteenth century school building on Blackstock Road, is a wall of around 3,000 ceramic tiles made by the London textile designer Kate Blee (b1961); the wall is in shades of white and its design was inspired by Victorian institutional tiling.


The red terracotta ornament of the huge former Leysian Mission (1901-6, architect J. J. Bradshaw, now lofts and flats), City Road, was supplied by Dennis Ruabon; the building was mentioned in the firm’s catalogue.

The faience of the temple-like Egyptian facade of the former Carlton Cinema (1930, architect George Coles, now Mecca Bingo), Essex Road, was made by the Hathern Station Brick and Terra Cotta Company and included much polychrome decoration.[2]2

The architect and speculative builder Herbert Huntly-Gordon (1864-1926) used terracotta for several of his (now mostly demolished) London buildings including the combined shops and offices at 140-3 Upper Street (1891, on the corner with Almeida Street), which has a terrifically ornate salmon-pink terracotta facade. Huntly-Gordon worked in association with Doulton’s to produce a rough-faced brown terracotta specifically suited to renaissance architectural ornament.[3]


Inside the Killick Street Health Centre, 77 Killick Street, is a large W. B. Simpson & Sons hand-painted tile panel entitled ‘Playing Bowls on Copenhagen Fields in the Reign of George III’; this was originally at the Star & Garter PH in adjacent Caledonian Road, and was restored by the Jackfield Conservation Studio in 1996. 

Upper Holloway

The former William Plumb’s butcher’s shop at 493 Hornsey Road has a magnificent turn-of-the-century art nouveau tiled interior by Burmantofts including two pictorial panels of pastoral scenes on the front of the marble-topped counter; the building underwent conversion to living and working spaces during 2003-4.


1.^         Michael Stratton, Clad is bad? The relationship between structural and ceramic facing materials, in Structure and Style: Conserving Twentieth Century Buildings, ed Michael Stratton (E. & F. N. Spon, London, 1997), pp164-92.
2.^         Kevin Wheelan, The History of the Hathern Station Brick & Terra Cotta Company (Mercia Cinema Society, Birmingham, 1982).
3.^         Walter R. Jaggard, 'Obituary: Herbert Huntly-Gordon', RIBA Journal, 34, 4th December 1926, p116.