Monday, February 9, 2009

Finsbury Health Centre, Finsbury

Finsbury Health Centre, ClerkenwellA buzz has been growing over the future of the Finsbury Health Centre (FHC) in North London. A bad buzz.

An article by Richard Waite in The Architects' Journal reports that Islington Primary Care Trust (PCT) has agreed to sell off this Grade I-listed building leaving its future uncertain.

Dating from 1938, the centre was designed by Tecton architect Berthold Lubetkin. It is a modernist gem bringing much needed health services to inner London. While nearby Clerkenwell and Islington are gentrified and trendy, Finsbury has remained relatively poor.

The entire front wall of the building is constructed of glass bricks flooding light into the interior spaces.

When the centre was originally openned it included a women's clinic, dental surgery, tuberculosis clinic and solarium.

For the past seventy years the centre has continued to provide health care which in recent time has included hearing tests, physiotherapy, podiatrist, speech therapy and family planning.

The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children operates from the FHC.

The joining of modernist architecture and socialist thinking is beautifully explained on

There is a Save the FHC website that is co-ordinating efforts to to put the decision to a judicial review. They are planning a Love Our Health Centre information day for St Valentine's day (Saturday 14th February) at the Holy Redeemer, Exmouth Market between 11am and 2pm.

A petition will be presented the Rt Hon Alan Johnson, MP, Minister for Health.

My photo doesn't do this building justice. I hope by exploring the other sites linked in this blog you will support this campaign. If, like me, you can't get there in person there is always the opportunity to sign the petition online.

Update - 16 February 2009
The Architects Journal report that the Finsbury Health Centre has received a reprieve from Islington Council who 'unanimously voted to refer the proposed sale of the 70-year-old modernist gem to the secretary of state for health, Alan Johnson'.


  1. I don't know the building, but this is a very complete and persuasive post. The United Kingdom has a very poor record when it comes to saving modernist architecture so I fear the worst, but it does look as if there are a lot of people involved in saving this one.

    I replied to your comment on my blog with a question - it would be great if you do have the answer!

  2. Thanks Adam. Yes they seem to have a good groundswell of people supporting the building but I too fear the worst.

    I pop over to you blog and see what I can do about this question you've left for me.