Clerkenwell Magistrate's Court, London

John Dixon Butler
Date Built
78 King's Cross Road
The British History Online website explains that John Dixon Butler, the architect of this building, was surveyor to the Metropolitan Police.  He was collaborating on the extension to New Scotland Yard with Norman Shaw while he was working on this building.  "... His own manner has been described as 'a crisp austere version of the prevalent Free Classic or Anglo-Classic—the civic style doffing its regalia and donning a uniform'.  The Clerkenwell court is more formal and monumental than some of his work. The front has a giant semi-circular Portland-stone pediment supported by oversized brackets, above a shallow recessed bow flanked by bays of fine orange brickwork. The rising return along Great Percy Street is plainer and more domestic in scale, though with a touch of fin de siècle brio in the oversized swooping brackets of the two secondary entrances, a feature of several other Butler police courts."

The building contained two court rooms, "... There were two sets of magistrates' rooms, while the two upper floors facing King's Cross Road and Great Percy Street were taken up with offices. The quality of finish was high: the entrance hall had a decorative mosaic floor, featuring the Metropolitan Police crest, and stained-glass rooflights."

Today the building is home to Clink 78, a backpackers hostel.  The conversion was designed by BoonBrown who say that their refurbishment created, "... a vibrant and energetic backpackers' and student hostel.  The layout revolves around the retention of the two oak clad courtrooms for lounge and internet café use.  These are situated central to the plan with bedroom accommodation set in the wings at basement level and all upper floors. Bright and lively bars and recreation facilities are situated in the basement and original cells are retained as bedrooms."

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