Heinrich Stahl House
49 The Bishops Avenue, N2 0BW
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1962 -1999

In 1962 the Association of Jewish Refugees opened its fifth care home for German-speaking Jewish refugees - Heinrich Stahl House.  It  was named after Heinrich Stahl, the last Chairman of the Berlin Jewish Community, who had died in Theresienstadt concentration camp in November 1942.

The home, which had 54 beds, occupied a 2-acre site, part of the extensive grounds of what had once been Gracie Fields' house in the Bishops Avenue.  (In the 1950s her house had become the Tower Maternity Annexe for the North Middlesex Hospital.)

The building set new standards at the time for accommodation of the elderly.  Its design had won a Class I Commendation from the Civic Trust in 1967.

The well-lit corridors, with their potted plants, reduced the institutional look.  The dining room was spacious whilst managing to retain a feeling of intimacy, with the meat and milk sections separated by their respective colours - blue and orange.  Residents were allowed to furnish their individual rooms with their own furniture and pictures; only the bed, which had to be suitable for nursing purposes, was mandatory.  On the upper floor there was a Library and a Reading Room.  A mobile library visited every fortnight, bringing new books in German and English for the home's avid readers.  Entertainments, such as outings, were provided by volunteers, while professional occupational therapy and music and movement classes were also available.

The building costs had been provided by the Jewish Trust Corporation, which had recovered the money from heirless unclaimed and communal Jewish property in the British Occupation Zone of Germany and the British Sector in Berlin.

In 1988 a new wing was officially opened by Mr Oscar Joseph, O.B.E.  Named the Charles Jordan Wing, it had 17 modern rooms with toilets and showers for wheelchair users.  Charles Jordan (1908-1967), an American Jew, had spent his life in the service of his fellow Jews.  He had been murdered in mysterious circumstances in Prague.

However, in 1999, as the nature of care for the elderly began to change, the Otto Schiff Housing Association decided to close the home.

Present status (June 2019)

In 2000 the site was sold for £16.25m.  In 2004 the buildings were demolished and three apartment blocks were built on the 2-acre site.  They provide 14 luxury apartments within a gated development.  (A 4-bedroom apartment was offered at £7m in 2018).

49 Bishops Avenue

The entrance gates to No. 49 The Bishops Avenue.

49 Bishops Avenue

The apartment blocks are named Maple Court, Hazel Court and Elder Court (above and below).

49 Bishops Avenue

References (Accessed 24th June 2020)

(Author unstated)  1965  Heinrich Stahl House Old People's Home.  Official Architecture and Planning 28, 1757-1759.

(Author unstated) 1982  Idyllic Sunday Afternoon.  AJR Information 37 (11), 1.

(Author unstated) 1988  A new wing to Heinrich Stahl.  AJR Information 43 (1), 5.

(Author unstated) 1992  Volunteers' meetings.  AJR Information 47 (8), 9.

Channing R 2004  Heinrich Stahl House sale.  AJR Journal 4 (9), 2.

Grenville A, Reiter A (eds) 2008  'I didn't want to float; I wanted to belong to something'; Refugee Organizations in Britain 1933-1945.  Amsterdam, Editions Rodopi.

Lassandro S 2019 Pride of Our Alley: The Life of Gracie Fields.  Vol. I; 1898-1939.  Albany, Georgia, BearManor Media.

Russell JD 1963 Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.  London, Borough of Finchley, 51.

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