Swains Lane Lodge, Waterlow Park, London

Picking up where I left off last time, here’s another building located on the edge of Waterlow Park. While Lauderdale House, the subject of my previous post, overlooks the eastern entrance from Highgate Hill, visitors who enter the park from the southwest are greeted by this fine 19th-century lodge on Swains Lane. A rendered brick contsruction, it was built around 1840 when the park was still a private estate. About that same time Highgate Cemetery was opened just across the street. (In fact, the tall white pillar at the left of the above photo is one of the gateposts to the western part of the cemetery.)

Swains Lane Lodge is a building very much of its time. While the design was clearly inspired by Tudor architecture, the unknown architect was more interested in creating a picturesque appearance than in ‘historical accuracy’. Thus, the lodge presents a fanciful array of Tudor and Gothic details, such as buttresses, battlements and pinnacles – with the obligatory bay window thrown into the mix – still very much in the tradition of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill House. This is perhaps most evident in the group of terracotta chimneys rising above the roof line like a showpiece of their own: Looking at their rich ornamental details, one finds it hard to decide whether they are copied directly from the Tudor chimneys of Hampton Court Palace or from Walpole’s 18th-century imitations thereof.