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Janet Street-Porter’s former home is listed by Historic England

Who would live in a house like this?

15 February, 2018 — By Richard Osley

The house that Janet and Piers built [CZWG]

YOU don’t need to play Through the Keyhole to guess the celebrity who lived inside – the architect who built a quirky house in Clerkenwell says the outside was designed to look like her.

Whether Loose Women panellist Janet Street-Porter would agree or takes being compared to the eye-catching townhouse as a compliment is not known.

But the striking nature of the building in Britton Street has found its way into the hearts of conservationists at Historic England, who announced on Friday that they are giving it protection through their listing system. It is among a growing number of modern homes in London to be given listed status.

The move has been welcomed by the building’s architect, Piers Gough, who was commissioned by Ms Street-Porter to design it at the end of the 1980s. They are lifelong friends, having joined the Architectural Association on the same day in the 1960s, although their career paths took different routes. Ms Street-Porter went on to edit the Independent on Sunday.

Janet Street-Porter returns to her former home in Britton Street for Celebrity Home Secrets

“I look back on the project very fondly because I was working with someone I was in sympathy with,” Mr Gough told the Architects’ Journal. “I have always adored Janet. We stayed in touch and had the same tastes, the same sense of humour. She was an inspiring client, and in the end the building is a portrait of the client, which is something houses can be.” Ms Street-Porter was said to have wanted to create the feeling of a medieval castle. She once joked that the design was meant to give off the statement: “Don’t even bother ringing the doorbell, no visitors welcome.”

While appearing on Celebrity Home Secrets – the ITV show where famous people talk about the places where they have lived – Ms Street-Porter told how one night she returned to the house after winning a Bafta. “I came home and I was so drunk I put the award on the second-floor window sill and it fell out of the window and I never saw it again,” she recalled. Ms Street-Porter moved out in 2001. The house changed hands for more than £3.5million four years ago.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: ‘It is an inventive and idiosyncratic building by a leading exponent of postmodernism and reflects the personality of Janet Street-Porter, who commissioned the architects and lived there.” He added: “Post-modernism represents an important strand of late 20th-century architecture and cultural heritage. I am delighted that this significant example of the style has been recognised through listing.”

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