Oslo Court, NW8

Oslo Court was built over the final remaining 30 workmen’s cottages in the St John’s Wood area. These were demolished in 1936, after which the gentrification of NW8 was more or less complete (Lisson Grove notwithstanding).

Set back behind an enclosed garden area, the Grade II listed brick block consists of seven floors containing 125 flats, 112 of which have a direct view over Regent’s Park. Oslo Court has an L-shape plan with a two bay end to Prince Albert Road, nine bays to Culworth Street and seven to Charlbert Street.

This work of Robert Atkinson (1883–1952) has been described as the style of ’restrained modernism’ by englishbuildings.blogspot.com. Crittall windows are used and there are small sculptural panels, with Nordic themes such as a reindeer and a long boat. Each flat was designed with a living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and a small hall. Each also had a balcony, and a restaurant was provided on the ground floor for the use of tenants.

The rents originally varied from £140 to £250 per annum, according to the outward aspect of the view. The stepped balconies ensured that each flat had a south-facing aspect. All of the windows still retain their steel casements..

Oslo Court, NW8

Many blocks in the area had restaurants in days gone by but have, one by one, disappeared. The one in Oslo Court has been trading since the Second World War and, in its curious location, remains open to the general public. Many food critics have visited and talked (nay, raved) about its 1970s ’vibe’.

The basement was used during the Second World War as a shelter for local residents as well as for the flat owners. It was improvised from an existing garage, fitted out with cubicles with two-tier bunks. Artist Olga Lehman (1912 – 2001), well-known for her murals and portraits, and was permitted by the War Office to make sketches of air raid shelters and came to Oslo Court to sketch.

In a 1963 episode (‘The Rough Diamonds’) of The Saint, Simon Templar took Barbara Sinclair (played by Jemma Hyde) back to her Oslo Court flat in his Volvo.

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