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Holden, Charles Henry

Holden, Charles Henry (1875–1960). English architect. Born in Bolton, Lancs., Holden worked for a while with Ashbee before joining Henry Percy Adams in 1899 as an assistant. Among their earliest buildings was the Belgrave Hospital for Children, Clapham Road, Lambeth, London (1900–3), a complex composition on a tight site, with elevations in an Arts-and-Crafts style influenced by Philip Webb and Henry Wilson. Their Central Reference Library, Deanery Street, Bristol (1906), avoided fashionable Neo-Baroque for stripped Neo-Tudor, and at the new Library for the Incorporated Law Society (1902–4) in Chancery Lane, London, an assured understanding of Mannerism was displayed. The King Edward VII Sanatorium, Midhurst, Sussex (1903–6), followed, by which time Lionel Godfrey Pearson (1879–1953) had joined the firm. Holden became Adams's partner in 1907.

Adams & Holden's Headquarters for the British Medical Association (now Zimbabwe House) in The Strand (1906–8) developed Mannerist themes in an assured composition, with, at the time, controversial nude sculptured figures (now mutilated) by ( Sir) Jacob Epstein (1880–1959—with whom Holden also collaborated in the design of Oscar Wilde's tomb in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, of 1911–12). The firm became Adams, Holden, & Pearson in 1913, and Holden was appointed one of the four principal architects of the Imperial War Graves Commission for which he designed 67 cemeteries. From 1924 Holden worked with Frank Pick (1878–1941) to design more than 50 London Underground Railway Stations that represent a high peak of rational English design. Much influenced by modern architecture in Scandinavia and The Netherlands, they have a clear, uncluttered geometry, and include Arnos Grove (1932), Boston Manor (1934), Southgate (1935), and Sudbury Town (1930–1). Holden also designed shelters, signs, lamp-standards, platforms, and much else for the London Passenger Transport Board.

The firm could always be relied upon to create a monumental effect by piling up blocky, cubic masses, as in Pearson's designs for the powerful Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner (1921–5), with sculptures by Charles Sergeant Jagger (1885–1934), but Holden's Headquarters Building for London Transport at 55 Broadway, Westminster (1927–9), is an even more sophisticated essay in massing. Epstein, Eric Gill (1882–1940), and Henry Moore (1898–1986) were responsible for the external sculpture. From 1931 he designed new buildings for the University of London, including the Senate House (which lacks the sculpture intended for it), and from the 1939–45 war was involved in redevelopment plans for London, working with William (later Lord) Holford.

Bibliography

Architectural Review, clviii/946 (Dec. 1975), 349–56;
Artifex, iii (1969), 35–53;
B, cxli (1931), 396–401;
A. S. Gray (1985);
Karol & and Allibone (1988);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);
Pevsner (1968);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Service (ed.) (1975), 386–92;
Stamp (1977);
Jane Turner (1996);
van Vynckt (ed.) (1993)

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