Thr Architecture of Charterhouse Square: Malmaison Hotel

Standing next to the medieval gate of the Charterhouse, the Edwardian-built Malmaison Hotel is a striking building. Along with the art-deco grandeur of Florin Court, the hotel is one of the more impressive modern buildings facing onto Charterhouse Square.

Nos. 18-21 (where the Malmaison is situated) was the site of a ‘granary yard’ that once served the needs of the Carthusian monastery. Gradually over the next two centuries, the land was developed into stabling and coach-houses, both for the use of the school/almshouse, and the wealthier residents of the Square.

Charterhouse Mews (the short passage located next to the hotel) represents the only surviving remnant from that era, otherwise the space was occupied with boarding houses and workshops. In 1856, the proprietors of No.19 were the Cocker family from Barnsley, who ran a boarding house on the site. Gradually from the 1860s to the 1880s, Nos. 20-21 were bought up and transformed into ‘Cocker’s Hotel’.

In 1899, the Charterhouse granted a new lease to a local developer, Mark Bromet, to convert the four houses into a single building as part of an effort to transform the Square, which had become unfashionable and run-down. The ‘Charterhouse Hotel’ opened in 1902, a seven-storey building with 107 bedrooms. The hotel catered to ‘provincial businessmen’, both from the UK and abroad, and was very popular up until 1914.

During the First World War, the hotel was appropriated into a military hospital, and was even graced with a visit by George V. After the Armistice, it took another 80 years for the hotel to reopen because in 1927 the building was sold yet again, this time to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, who used it as nursing accommodation and a training school.

The building miraculously survived the devastating bombing of the square in 1941, and in 1997, after 70 years of ownership by St. Barts, the building returned to its former glory as a hotel, as part of the Malmaison brand. The building was entirely reconstructed behind the facade from 2002-04 by RWHL Architects and has remained in business ever since.

Alley way

©Wikimedia Commons

King George V visiting the Military Hospital at Charterhouse Square, April 1919. ©Royal Collections Trust


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