John Scott Health Centre, Green Lanes

Built 1949-52
By Elizabeth Robinson

This Health Centre and Nursery School were planned as part of the Woodberry Down Estate. They stand on the south of the estate, at the junction of Green Lanes and Spring Park Drive, with superb views over the New River and reservoirs. The centre was designed by or under A E Millar of the London County Council’s Hospitals and General Division in 1948, before the nationalisation of the Health Service. It is of considerable importance as ‘the first [post-war health centre] in London, and the first in the whole of the country to be approved by the Minister of Health’. It was planned as one of 10 clinics to serve London, and was the only one to be purpose built. Aneurin Bevan, the Minister of Health, cut the first turf in March 1949, and the building was opened in October 1952.

The design resulted from discussions between the medical and architectural departments of the LCC and other interested parties. The aim was to provide a comprehensive range of local health authority services (GP, maternity, child welfare and school health) to about 20,000 residents from the Woodberry Down area and further afield. Facilities included GPs consulting rooms, chiropody clinic, lecture hall, dental surgery, child guidance unit, ophthalmology unit, pathological laboratory and administrative rooms. Next door is a day nursery which was planned for 42 children.

The building is two storeys high, and built of brick with fine detailing. It is roughly C-shaped, on a 1.5 acre plot of land. Large windows help create an airy, light interior and capture the Fifties feel. It survives complete and largely unaltered, even down to the Crittall window frames, and in this lies much of its attractiveness.

It was first known as Woodberry Down Health Centre, but in 1965 it was renamed after Dr John Scott, a Medical Officer of Health in the LCC who died earlier that year.

This essay originally appeared in 'Twentieth century buildings in Hackney' (The Hackney Society, 1999). To buy a copy of the book email . Since this article was written in 1999 some of the Crittall windows have been replaced with uPVC. It has also been listed Grade II.

Click here for Virginia Smith's article on the John Scott Health Centre

Photo:John Scott Health Centre, 1998.

John Scott Health Centre, 1998.

© Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art

This page was added by Lisa Rigg on 16/03/2010.

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