Mansion Flat Construction
Materials used to construct the buildings in Conservation areas are either traditionally manufactured ones such as brick, stucco and glass or natural materials such as slate and stone.
Their original method of manufacture or natural variation results in a finish that is typical of traditional building materials. The imperfections and ripples in cylinder glass, the folds in handmade brick or the lines of fish are on the surface of slate, along with the softening of colours and edges that is part of the natural processes of ageing and weathering, give the buildings their authentic historic character and charm that makes the conservation area so special.
Traditional materials used in St Albans Mansions and other blocks in Kensington Court area are: red brick, moulded and carved brickwork; clay tiles; unglazed pink and buff -coloured terracotta panels; stone and stucco (an imitation stone); slate and lead; timber; cast and wrought iron; crown or cylinder glass; leaded glass; mosaic tiles in terracotta; granite setts and curbs; York stone.
The Queen Anne style relies on its detailing is an important part of its design. Pink or buff -coloured unglazed terracotta is most often used as decoration and this particularly fine at one and 2 Kensington Rd and numbers 3-25 Kensington Ct where the terracotta has been moulded into various classical Gothic designs.
The Queen Anne style was inspired by Tudor architecture in England and designs of the 17th century buildings in central Europe. Turret’s feature prominently at corners of some mansion flats and otherwise at roof level. Kent and Kensington houses have curved edges, turrets and castellated roof lines where several buildings in the area have crows stepped gables.
Cast iron balconies are an important feature of the mansion flats and houses with their designs different from the front area railings. Both houses and Mansion flats tend to have a low landing or half leading over the area to the front door whereas the houses on the north side of Kensington Court have steps up to their main entrances. Path and steps were originally surfaced with black-and-white tiles of polished terrazzo or sometimes small mosaic tiles, but today the original consistency has often been lost.
Windows and doors
The most widespread type of window in Kensington Court conservation area is the sliding timber frame sash window which was an important British invention that allowed air to enter a room by the top and/or bottom sash without breaking the carefully designed building line.
Roof lines are one of the most exciting parts Queen Anne revival design. Most of the Mansion flats are terminated by highly decorated roof lines that include curving Dutch cables, crows stepped gables and mansard with decorative dormers, all of which are punctuated by tall chimney stacks and terracotta pots.
Decoration is expressed in terracotta stone or stucco to contrast with the registration and the designs can be inspired by classical architecture (in the case of the stucco pediments) or mediaeval design (as in the castellated roofline to Kent and Kensington houses) or Flemish architecture (the curving and crow stepped gables)
Roof coverings are divided between clay tile, which accords well with the Queen and style, and slate. Generally these are used uniformly across a group of mansard blocks. Other buildings have Welsh grey slates with lead flashings.
Chimney stacks punctuate the roofs at regular intervals and should exhibit the same type of chimney pot (usually red terracotta).
Courtyards and Rear elevations
Mansion flats have regular rear elevations with evenly spaced sash windows of matching design. Their arrears are usually built in what was at the time a cheaper yellow stock brick, saving the more expensive bricks for the public frontages only.
Rear elevations of mansion blocks can be flat or have a projections. The uniformity of these elevations is important to the integrity of the buildings and the character of the Conservation area.
Mansion Flat Features