Finsbury Health Centre, opened in 1938 and now listed Grade I, is recognised internationally as a beacon of social and architectural progress that anticipated the foundation of the NHS by a clear decade. The building was largely the brainchild of two immigrants, Dr. Chuni Katial (1898-1978) a local ward councillor and chairman of Finsbury Council’s Public Health Committee, and architect Berthold Lubetkin (1901-1990) who had arrived in England in 1931 after experiencing the Russian Revolution and being fired with visions of modern architecture’s transforming potential.

Designed to be adaptable to changing healthcare requirements, Finsbury Health Centre served as a casualty station during the war and has continued in daily use as a community health facility ever since, assimilating a variety of modifications over the years. It currently accommodates two GP practices and provides a range of other services as part of the Whittington Health NHS Trust. It has however suffered the effects of numerous changes of ownership and management under the continuous re-organisation of the NHS, most recently being taken over by NHS Property Services Ltd (NHS PropCo) following the Health & Social Care Act 2012.

As a result of these constant upheavals Finsbury Health Centre has had minimal maintenance or investment over many years. This has become a cause for increasing local concern and, following a successful campaign to prevent the sale of the building, prompted the formation of the Finsbury Health Centre Preservation Trust to secure its future in beneficial NHS use. The last significant work to the building was in the mid-1990s with repairs to the roof, concrete structure and parts of the façade. In addition to essential fabric repairs and renewal of engineering services, there is now a pressing need for interior upgrade and adaptations, including a lift installation – all modifications that are entirely feasible within conservation protocols due to the inherent flexibility of the original plans. Outline proposals have been prepared for the necessary works, which after consultation with key stakeholders could readily be developed towards a fully costed scheme. A Conservation Plan documenting the heritage significance of the building is also in place to guide the detailed design work