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NEW RIVER HEAD HEADQUARTERS

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Office building built in 1915-20, designed by Austen Hall for the Metropolitan Water Board. Built of red brick with ashlar rusticated ground floor and dressings and slate roof. The building is a large irregular parallelogram in french classical style. Incorporated in the building is the "Oak Room", formerly the board room of the 17th century water house. The plaster ceiling was removed to safe storage in 1941 and was reinstalled at the end of the war. Room 51 contains part of the interior ceiling from another room of the original water house. a water house was built on the edge of the pond and was utilised as the chief residence of the New River Company's principal officer, the clerk. The building is represented in Hollar's drawings of the 1660s. c.1693 the water house was enlarged and the 'Oak room' and the plaster ceiling found in Room 51 were designed. During the 18th century the house was the home of the company's surveyor or engineer. In 1914 the Metropolitan Water Board decided to erect a new headquarters building; the 17th century water house on the site was demolished but the Board wished to preserve the 'Oak Room' and other historic fabric such as the plaster ceiling from another room reinstalled in Room 51; it is not clear whether the ceiling in Room 101 is of 17th century date or a copy. Various other 17th cerntury chimneypieces were also salvaged for reuse in the new building but they have not been traced. The foundation was laid in 1915 but work ceased until 1919 and the building was opened in 1920.

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